Cokata Wiconi

When CRYP opened its doors in October 1988, we sought to welcome children of all ages. While 4- to 12-year-olds enthusiastically participated in our programming, however, teens were not quite as eager to participate beyond the Midnight Basketball and Passion for Fashion programs. We dreamed of having a dedicated space for them, and we were able to fulfill that vision in 2006 with the opening of Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life), our 26,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art teen center.

We created Cokata Wiconi to meet the specific needs of Cheyenne River’s teens, who told us exactly what they wanted in terms of facilities, resources and programs. Thanks to their thoughtful input and the support of valued partners, Cokata Wiconi offers an art studio, classroom, dance studio, computer lab, library, full-size gymnasium, commercial-grade kitchen, cafe space, and gift shop.

Here, our teens learn valuable job and life skills, explore their interests, strengthen their connections to Lakota culture, and build their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. They have access to instructors, mentors and role models, and they can socialize, express themselves and pursue their interests in a positive, healthy environment.

Explore Cokata Wiconi

Internship Program

CRYP’s ground-breaking teen internship program, which offers tracks in sustainable agriculture, social enterprise, wellness and the arts, gives young people a chance to learn vital job and life skills—and gain significant hands-on experience—that will serve them well all their lives. Through this program, we are lifting up the next generation of Lakota creators, mentors, culture bearers and leaders. In 2013, we graduated 10 interns. By the end of 2017, that number had risen to nearly 500, and the program is still growing. Learn more about Internships at Cokata Wiconi.

Wellness at Cokata Wiconi

At CRYP, we believe in holistic wellness—supporting every child’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. We prepare them for a successful, vibrant adult life with wellness training that incorporates physical fitness activities, culturally relevant classes and workshops, health education and certifications, and opportunities to develop their skills and self-confidence through peer mentorship and community leadership. Learn more about Wellness at Cokata Wiconi.

Midnight Basketball

Founded in 1996 as the brainchild of a former long-term volunteer, Midnight Basketball is CRYP’s signature wellness program for teens. It fosters healthy and sober lifestyles, physical fitness, personal responsibility, teamwork and positive self-esteem; it also helps alleviate bullying, because it brings kids from all social circles together for hours of late-night ball, music, refreshments and fun. Learn more about Midnight Basketball.

Passion for Fashion

Not only does this long-running program give our teenage girls a chance to share in the joy and excitement of preparing for the high school prom, it provides a meaningful opportunity to learn from other Lakota women, enjoy intergenerational bonding, and find personal empowerment through positive body image, improved self-confidence, and the knowledge that one person absolutely can do her part to create a stronger community. Learn more about Passion for Fashion.