As the calendar officially turns to autumn, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced its teen and youth programming for the month of October. The roster of special events and activities includes movies, native arts, academic courses, sports, games, food and treats, and of course CRYP’s celebrated annual Haunted House and Ghoul-A-Grams.
At The Main youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds, the fall semester of Main University will be in full swing starting Monday, September 28. One of the 27-year-old, not-for-profit youth projects most popular and enduring programs, Main University was founded by long-term volunteer Tracie Farrell in 2002 and is a recipient of a “Champion for Children” award from the South Dakota Coalition for Children.
In this special program, participants take short courses that mimic those offered in a college setting. During the fall semester, courses will be held every Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m. In October, students will attended classes until October 22; The Main will be closed to youth on October 26-31 so staff and volunteers can prepare for the Haunted House. Classes will resume on Monday, November 2.
Throughout October, CRYP also will host Halloween Movie Nights on Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center. All movies will be shown on the big screen in the Keya Cafe, a theater-grade setup that includes a high-quality projector and sound system. CRYP acquired the setup with the assistance of a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant three years ago.
“Years ago, the kids would watch movies on a big TV, but that’s not the same as watching them on a big screen,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director. “For our kids to be able to have a movie-theater experience here in Eagle Butte is a big deal, because we live more than 90 miles from the nearest theater. Special events like this give them an option for something fun to do on a Thursday night, in a safe, positive, healthy environment.”
Younger kids will have their own Halloween Movie Nights each Friday at 5 p.m. in The Main. Movie selections for children and teens will be announced prior to the first movie night on October 1.
Then, Native Arts Week kicks off on Monday, October 5 at 5 p.m. On Monday and Tuesday of that week, children of all ages will have an opportunity to learn traditional beading and quillwork from accomplished local artisans.
On Monday, October 12, both centers will be closed as CRYP and the Cheyenne River community commemorate Native American Day.
On Saturday, October 17, teens are invited to attend the Cokata Wiconi Fall Festival. The day’s festivities will include basketball in the gymnasium, a movie in the cafe, games, and plenty of food. The doors open at 5 p.m.
Cokata Wiconi will be closed to teens on October 23-31 so staff and volunteers can prepare for the Haunted House — and for The Main Carnival. At 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 23, the community’s 4- to 12-year-olds are invited to celebrate the fall season with games, a movie, food and treats.
Finally, the signature attraction: On October 29-30, CRYP will hold its eagerly anticipated Haunted House. The first night is open free to youth; adults may attend for $2 per person. On the second night, youth are $2 and adults are $3.
“We usually see more than 200 kids come through the doors of our Haunted House each year, which has made it a major attraction on Cheyenne River’s yearly events calendar,” Eagle Hunter said. “It’s the cornerstone of our fall and Halloween celebrations.”
Finally, on Friday, October 31, staff and volunteers will offer their famous “Ghoul-A-Grams” throughout the Cheyenne River community. A CRYP fundraising tradition that dates to the early 1990s, the 2015 grams will incorporate $10 grams for a small treat, a dance, and a card; $13 grams for a bag of popcorn, a dance, and a card; and $15 grams for a caramel apple, a dance, and a card; and $20 grams for a Keya Cafe gift certificate, a dance, a card, and a small treat.
Grams can be sent to anyone, anywhere, on Cheyenne River; the ghouls will deliver the grams at 15-minute intervals from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The recipients also will receive goodie bags.
“We pick a theme each year, and that seems to really unleash the creativity of our staff members and volunteers,” said Eagle Hunter, who is known for transforming CRYPers into very believable ghouls through her spooky, and startlingly realistic, face-painting. “It’s always so much fun, and it’s an important community-wide fundraiser to support our youth programming. So consider ordering a Ghoul-A-Gram for a friend or loved one! Just call us at 605-964-8200, and we’ll do the rest.”
To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@waniyetuwowapi).
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.