Due to the ongoing popularity of wellness programming at its Eagle Butte campus, the Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced three exciting new wellness initiatives for this spring and summer. The nonprofit youth organization will host a Color Run on Apr. 30; a Walking Club during the month of May; and a Bike Club from May 7 to Aug. 13.

The Color Run, scheduled for 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Apr. 30, features a roughly 1.75-mile course and is open free to all ages. CRYP will have T-shirts on hand for participants, plenty of water, and fruits and veggies for healthy snacks.

“The Color Run is an event we host during each Native Wellness Internship session,” says Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “It gives our teen interns an opportunity to organize an event, work as a team, and get their friends and family involved in fitness.

“They really enjoy it,” she continues. “It’s fun, and they get to be active in their community. They’re proud of that.” 

Next is the monthlong Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) Walking Club, which kicks off on Wednesday, May 1. The club is open to 13- to 18-year-olds, who can log miles each Wednesday in the teen center’s gymnasium or fitness center. And it has a special incentive: Log 10 miles and complete three sessions of Lori High Elk’s Talking Circle by May 29, and earn an invitation to an overnight lock-in on May 31 at Cokata Wiconi.

“This is important, because for us, wellness is about so much more than physical fitness,” Widow explains. “It’s also about emotional, mental and spiritual health and well-being. In Lori’s Talking Circle, teens can find a safe space to learn to trust and depend on each other, share their ideas and stories, and strengthen the connection they have to their community and Lakota culture.

“Plus, the teens always ask for lock-ins, so this is a great way to get them involved,” she adds.

Finally, on Tuesday, May 7, CRYP will launch The Main’s Bike Club for 4- to 12-year-olds. The club will meet every Tuesday at 5-6 p.m. until Aug. 13. 

“Kids are welcome to bring their own bikes, but even if you don’t have one, you’re still welcome to attend,” Widow says. “CRYP has eight bikes we can loan to club members this spring and summer, and everyone will have the opportunity to earn some fun incentives through the club.

“This is an important part of our fitness programming at The Main,” she continues. “It’s also a lot of fun for the kids, because they go out for rides with the Native Wellness interns. We love seeing our interns’ leadership skills grow as they interact with the younger kids. They’re serving as powerful role models, which is really wonderful to see.”

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.