“When you give a little of yourself to a child, you give a little of yourself to their future,” More4Kids CEO Kevin Heath once noted. He also has advocated the importance of being a role model, advising, “If you want your kids to dream more, then dream more; to learn more, then learn more; to do more, then do more. Be their inspiration.”
To that end, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has created a weeklong roster of special family-friendly events that staff and volunteers hope will encourage parents, extended family members and guardians on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation to spend quality time with their children. Family Week programming will take place Monday, September 21 through Friday, September 25. (The Harvest Festival dinner, pictured above, will conclude the week’s activities at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.)
“We have served the Cheyenne River community for nearly three decades, and in that time, we’ve learned that one of the best ways to care for our children is to support their families,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We work hard to design programs and special events that bring families together, allow them to make precious memories, and encourage them to pursue a healthier lifestyle together.”
The festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Monday with Family Olympics in the Art Park. In the new 5-acre Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Park at CRYP’s East Lincoln Street campus, guests of all ages will enjoy competing in relay races and in classic competitions such as the potato-sack race and the three-legged race. The event is open free to the public.
Next, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, families will again congregate in Waniyetu Wowapi for the free Family Walking Challenge in the Art Park. The walking challenge will allow family members of all ages to support each other as they take steps toward a more healthy future.
Health and wellness are important themes during Family Week. at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, community members are invited to join Ann Maher, CRYP’s diabetes educator, at the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center for the free Healthy & Hearty Cooking Class for Families. After preparing a delicious meal, guests will congregate in the Internet cafe for a viewing of the acclaimed 2014 documentary, “Fed Up.” In this compelling movie, filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and journalist Katie Couric investigate how the American food industry may be responsible for many illnesses in today’s world, along with the obesity epidemic.
Next, at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, families will learn how to make salsa — using fresh ingredients from CRYP’s naturally grown, pesticide-free Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) garden — during the Salsa Canning Class at Cokata Wiconi. While there is a $5 per person admission fee, each attendee may take home the salsa he or she makes.
Finally, at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, CRYP will host its 3rd annual Harvest Festival community dinner and celebration, which is open free to the public. Last year, 130 guests enjoyed Squish Squash lasagna; roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots; a local roast with carrots, onions and potatoes; beans; garden salad; cauliflower cheese soup; Harvest Delight; jalapeño cornbread; apple crisp, and pumpkin pie.
CRYP staff incorporated more than 200 pounds of fresh produce from the Winyan Toka Win garden into the 2014 Harvest Festival meal, including cauliflower, carrots, onions, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, squash and pumpkins. The festivities also included sporting events for children, raffle prizes, and an honoring ceremony for CRYP’s teen interns. More details about the 2015 event will be available later this month.
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.