The Cheyenne River Youth Project® is getting ready to close out the summer with a bang. Not only will the organization be hosting an exciting “End of Summer Bash” for its teen participants at the Cokata Wiconi teen center, it also will open its doors for the final Midnight Basketball event of the 2013 summer season and host a special Family Day for youth participants and their relatives.
The “End of Summer Bash” kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 16 with games, competitions and dinner. Registration for the season-end MBB tournament starts at 6:30 p.m. that evening, and the festivities will end at 1 a.m. with a special breakfast.
“The late-night, season-end basketball tournament is always a major highlight for our teens,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director. “The kids can register at 6:30 p.m. and then head to the gym for a night of basketball, socializing and fun.”
Then, the following week, the youth project will focus on families with its fourth annual Family Day festival at its East Lincoln Street campus. Scheduled for Wednesday, August 21, the event will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the grounds, in the Cokata Wiconi teen center gymnasium and in the teen center’s Keya Cafe, and it will be open free to the public.
Not only will all Family Day participants receive raffle tickets when they arrive, they’ll have an opportunity to win prizes through the Family Olympics. This year’s games include a potato-sack race, egg-balancing race, potato dance and musical chairs. In addition, guests will enjoy a variety of exciting game stations, which include Crazy Birds, bowling, Take A Guess, Gone Fishing, bean-bag toss, ring toss, face painting and a cookie walk.
While spending time indoors, Family Day participants can enjoy puzzles, games and Bingo in the Keya Cafe, where walking tacos, cake, cupcakes, coffee and hot chocolate will be served. They also can take a tour of the CRYP facilities, learn more about other community organizations at prepared booths and visit with staff and long-term volunteers.
Eagle Hunter said she hopes this year’s Family Day will encourage members of the Cheyenne River community to visit CRYP’s East Lincoln Street campus and learn more about the 25-year-old, grassroots, not-for-profit organization.
“Not only does Family Day give Cheyenne River families a chance to spend a beautiful summer day together and enjoy each other’s company, it’s also a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to those who may not be that familiar with us,” she explained. “We’ll be giving tours and presenting information about our signature programs, services and activities. We’ll also have handout materials and will be free to answer parents’ questions.”
In addition, Eagle Hunter said CRYP is hoping to encourage community members to volunteer.
“We always need help with fundraising activities and with maintenance, particularly on our playground,” she said. “We also encourage family members and community members to volunteer their time if they have special arts and crafts skills or if they can share information about professional skills, career paths and so on.”
According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, Family Day has become an eagerly anticipated event on the organization’s yearly calendar.
“We had great turnouts in 2010, 2011 and 2012, so we’ve really been looking forward to this year’s event,” she said. “One of our former volunteers actually came up with the idea for Family Day; she thought it would be a way for the members of our community to feel more connected to our youth project. And she was right! It’s really important to us that all the moms, dads, grandparents and other family members feel that CRYP belongs to them as well as to their young or teenage children, and this is a wonderful way to facilitate that sense of connection and belonging.
“We are a community organization, and our roots are here on Cheyenne River,” she added. “If we’ve learned anything in the last quarter century, it’s that if we all work together, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish for our kids, our families and our community.”
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, follow the youth project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.