When CRYP launched the innovative teen internship program three years ago, we hoped that the different opportunities in sustainable agriculture, social enterprise, wellness and art would allow our young people to explore their interests and passions, develop the job and life skills that would serve them well in the years to come, and envision a vibrant future in which they would thrive.

For teen brothers Daniel and Emmanuel (pictured here) Semon, who grew up in Eagle Butte, art was the initial gateway to all of that.

“I wanted to take part in the art internship after I learned about the jewelry-making classes last October,” Daniel says. “I love to make jewelry. It’s special and comes out looking beautiful.”

Daniel started his art internship at CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center in November 2016, and his interests grew.

“My favorite activities probably were during RedCan, spray painting the boards and seeing all the professional artists’ amazing work,” he says. “I love Cokata Wiconi and how much it has to offer — the different styles and types of art, and all the different instructors.

“I enjoy the fact that art is a little hard, but as you go, it becomes easier,” he continues. “The most challenging part for me is wondering if anyone else likes my work. But I don’t think that anyone else can like it unless you like it.”

Daniel’s brother, Emmanuel, also started an art internship last fall. He says he’s loved everything about his experiences at the teen center.

“The internship program helped me get a few more high school credits, and I learned so many new things,” Emmanuel says. “I think all the activities were my favorite! I don’t think there was one thing that was appealing to me about the program — it was the idea of all of it.”

Daniel and Emmanuel both completed art and wellness internships. Daniel also completed a sustainable agriculture internship.

“Learning new things, that’s what I enjoyed the most,” Emmanuel says. “That’s also the most challenging part of the internships, getting used to those new things and learning how to perform them.”

“There were a lot of responsibilities,” Daniel says. “In art, you have to pay attention, soak up the information, follow the instructors’ example and then put your own creativity into it. In wellness, you have to be there and get your 30 laps done before anything else! And in the garden, I had to be ready every morning to take care of the weeding and pick the ready-to-go veggies.”

Daniel notes that he particularly appreciated going through food-handling, First Aid and CPR trainings.

“Getting certificates that say you know how to do these things might make things easier when you’re trying to get a job, because you can put that on your resume,” he says.

In his spare time, Daniel says he enjoys drawing, cooking and fashion. He also is interested in writing books.

“I want to get a degree, go to cooking school and run a restaurant,” he says. “I also want to continue making art, try to publish my stories, live in a few places maybe, and try to make things colorful.”

Emmanuel also gravitates to creative hobbies, such as music, film and making models. And he, too, has plans for college; he hopes to study psychology, philosophy and filmmaking.

“I plan to work in film,” he says. “I want to live in Rapid City, and someday travel to Germany, France and Japan.”

Both brothers say they are grateful to CRYP for the opportunities it has given them.

“CRYP is so special for what it does, inspiring young minds about their creativity and health,” Daniel says. “And, teaching them that you can grow your own food.”

“What I think is special about CRYP is how they are able to connect to the youth,” Emmanuel adds. “I think that’s important for our community, since the youth will be responsible for themselves and for the future. CRYP helps them become responsible.”