For the team at the Cheyenne River Youth Project®, a strong connection to the earth means a strong connection to traditional Lakota life ways, a critical component to holistic wellness and healing. That’s why Earth Day is a significant date on the CRYP calendar, and the nonprofit youth project is already gearing up for a weekend of special activities.
On Saturday, April 22, CRYP will host an eight-team, double-elimination basketball tournament for grades 6-8 in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s full-size gymnasium. The tournament is a CRYP fundraiser, so all proceeds from the $10 entry fee will support youth programming and services; each team can have up to 10 players and must wear like-colored shirts or jerseys to participate in the competition, with medals and prizes for first through third place.
The tournament will incorporate half-time spectator challenges and raffle tickets for a 50/50 drawing. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., and the tournament will begin promptly at 9 a.m.
Also that day, CRYP will lead a series of special Earth Day activities. Starting at 8:30 a.m., CRYP will lead a “March for Science,” which focuses on the effects of global warming. Staff members also will lead a trash pick-up effort in the community, followed by a grill party outside The Main youth center on East Lincoln Street. These events are open free to the public, and guests of all ages will be able to participate in a variety of outdoor fitness and sports challenges.
“At CRYP, we don’t create programs simply for their own sake,” said Tammy Granados, youth programs director. “Every activity here has a deeper purpose. In the case of our Earth Day weekend activities, our goal is fostering wellness in our young people—through physical fitness, community engagement, and strengthening their connection to their bodies, their Lakota Nation, and their Mother Earth.”
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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.