The Cheyenne River Youth Project has welcomed children ages 4 to 12 since we opened our doors to “The Main” in 1988, long before the opening of our Cokata Wiconi teen center. Since the beginning, we’ve understood how important it is to reach our children while they’re young—to provide safe spaces, positive role models, healthy meals and snacks, and hopefully inspire them for their own unique journey in this life.
Caylor Rivers, now 6, has been coming to The Main since she was 4 years old. She says she learned about our youth center when her mother took her to a birthday party at the youth center, complete with “Frozen” theme and even an Olaf cake. She was sold.
“It’s so much fun there,” Caylor says. “They play basketball with me, and I love the volunteers, like Miss Sandy. I also like sand art, painting, the play room, all the activities… and when they cook chicken for us.
“I also love it when Santa comes to Mama’s work,” she adds. Her mother, Jerica Widow, is CRYP’s youth programs director.
Caylor says she’s also learned some valuable things in her two years at The Main. Learning hands-on CPR last month with volunteers Hannah Anderson and Sara Fisher, Augustana University nursing students, made a big impression.
“I liked learning to help people breathe,” she explains. “I also have learned it’s important to be nice, to listen to Miss Sandy and the other volunteers, and to clean up after yourself.”
The kindergartner, who proudly reports that she’s in Miss High Elk’s classroom at Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Elementary School, says she knows what she wants to do when she grows up.
“I want to work with puppies,” she says, interested to learn that such a profession is called veterinary medicine.
Caylor also notes that she’s open to traveling—she’s not sure where. Yet. But, she’s definitely excited to be a teenager, when she’ll be old enough to attend Cokata Wiconi. She wants to play basketball in the big gym. The puppies and traveling will come later.