Excursion Served as Reward for Teens’ Participation in Community Service Project, Assistance in Planting Three Sister Garden & Commitment to Youth Leadership
On Saturday, June 22, staff members from the Cheyenne River Youth Project® took five teenage boys on a special trip to South Dakota’s Bear Butte State Park as a reward for participating in a community service project and assisting in CRYP’s 2-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win garden. Anthony Potter, youth programs assistant, and Laura Copeland, social media strategist, accompanied Miles Phillips, Kyle Buffalo, Naden Joaquin, Cooper Pretty Weasel and Tyreik Garreau on the daylong excursion.
The teens’ first activity was to hike Bear Butte, which Potter said took approximately an hour and a half.
“The kids were really enthusiastic about climbing the butte, and each tried to be the first to beat everyone else up the trail,” he recalled. “We finished the hike just as a big storm rolled in, so it was exciting.”
The group brought hearty appetites to lunch at the Golden Corral in Rapid City, then went on to browse the mall, play games in an arcade and see a movie. Teens and chaperones returned to Eagle Butte just after midnight.
According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, the trip was significant for two reasons. First, the nearly 25-year-old, not-for-profit youth project is now able to offer such outings more regularly, thanks to a generous donation earlier this year that allowed the purchase of two vans for transporting staff, volunteers and youth.
“Here on the Cheyenne River reservation, we don’t have a movie theater, a bowling alley, an arcade or a shopping mall,” she noted. “To be able to take our kids on special trips to Pierre or Rapid City to do the things that so many other American teens take for granted is a really big deal for all of us.”
Second, Garreau observed, the trip shines a spotlight on an important element of CRYP’s holistic approach to youth programming. It was a reward for teens who had demonstrated leadership and dedication to their community through their effort and their actions.
“We encourage our young people to incorporate traditional Lakota values in everything they do,” she explained. “By participating in the community service project, which involved yard cleanup at community members’ homes, and helping to plant a traditional Three Sisters garden in Winyan Toka Win, these boys demonstrated a generosity of spirit and a willingness to work hard for the well-being of others. We’re very proud of them.”
And to learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, visit the youth project’s Facebook “Cause” page. All Cause members will receive regular updates through Facebook.
The Cheyenne River Youth Project®, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.