The summer 2017 season of Midnight Basketball at the Cheyenne River Youth Project is coming to an end, and CRYP staff are preparing to commemorate the occasion with the nonprofit youth organization’s annual Midnight Basketball Lock-In. Open free to young people ages 13-18, the event will include Midnight Basketball, DJ in the Art Park, basketball and volleyball tournaments, back-to-back horror movies, and two hearty meals.
The revelry kicks off at 9 p.m. with Midnight Basketball in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s gymnasium. At the same time, teens can enjoy an outdoor DJ performance in the Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., made possible by a “Native Performance Art Series” grant from NEA Artworks.
When Midnight Basketball concludes at 1 a.m., the fun doesn’t stop. Sports enthusiasts can participate in a one-hour volley ball tournament at 1 a.m. and a two-hour basketball tournament at 2 a.m. The gym will then be open for free play from 4 to 6 a.m.
Meanwhile, movie buffs can head for the Keya (Turtle) Cafe at 1 a.m. for the back-to-back screening of three horror films: “Autopsy of Jane Doe,” “Train to Busan” and “Ouija.”
CRYP staff will serve taco salad in the cafe at 2-3 a.m., with breakfast to come at 4-6 a.m. Both meals will feature fresh, nutritious ingredients from CRYP’s 2-acre, pesticide-free Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden. After breakfast, Cokata Wiconi’s doors will open, and the lock-in will come to an end.
“We’re looking forward to hosting this special Friday-Saturday program for our teens,” said Tammy Granados, CRYP’s youth programs director. “It’s going to be a fun way for them to celebrate the end of summer and the start of a new school year with their friends.”
The youth project created Midnight Basketball in 1996, hoping to find a way to give Cheyenne River’s young people a safe, positive, drug- and alcohol-free environment to play their favorite sport, hang out with friends, get something to eat, and stay up past the city of Eagle Butte’s 10 p.m. curfew. The program succeeded well beyond the staff’s original vision—not only did it result in lower community-wide crime rates around town on Midnight Basketball nights, according to local law enforcement, it helped build the foundation for CRYP’s holistic wellness programming.
“The 50 to 100 teens who participate every weekend are engaging in healthy and sober lifestyle choices, and they’re embracing the concepts of personal responsibility, teamwork and positive self-esteem,” Granados said. “That’s wonderful to see. We’re also thrilled to witness the formation of new friendships, and the way the kids support each other. That goes a long way toward alleviating bullying in our community.”
One of CRYP’s longest-running and most loved youth programs, Midnight Basketball remains a signature component of the youth project’s ongoing wellness programming, made possible in part by grant support from the NB3 Foundation, the N7 Fund, Diabetes Action and Research (DARE) and the Wellmark Foundation. Their support ensures that the youth project is able to continue pursuing culturally sensitive, relevant and sustainable youth wellness programming on the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation.
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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.