Internship Program
CRYP has teen internships available in five tracks: Native Food Sovereignty, Social Enterprise, Native Wellness, Art, and Lakota Culture. All of our interns have the opportunity to become certified in First Aid and CPR, participate in educational workshops such as financial literacy and financial aid, enjoy hands-on experience in CRYP’s facilities, serve as peer mentors and community leaders, earn money for their new savings accounts, and gain vital job and life skills for a more secure and vibrant future.

Native Food Sovereignty Internships

This was the first internship track CRYP developed, graduating 10 teen interns in 2013. In this internship, teens learn to plant, maintain and harvest CRYP’s 2.5-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) Garden and process food in Cokata Wiconi’s commercial kitchen. Along the way, they learn about indigenous foods, their relationships to traditional Lakota medicines and ceremonies, their contemporary uses, and how to prepare and preserve them. They also spend time in the classroom, learning from expert speakers and strengthening their connection with Lakota traditions, values and life ways.

Social Enterprise Internships

In this internship track, teens work within and even manage CRYP’s social enterprise initiatives, which include the Keya (Turtle) Cafe, Keya Gift Shop, and seasonal Leading Lady Farm Stand. They learn to prepare food and beverages, handle money and serve customers in real operating businesses, earning their Customer Service, CPR, Financial Literacy and Food Handler’s certifications along the way.

Native Wellness Internships

These interns focus on how to nurture healthy minds and bodies through physical fitness, nutrition, diabetes prevention, healthy lifestyle choices and, perhaps most importantly, Lakota values and life ways. Through ongoing trainings, the interns learn about Native wellness, traditional values and leadership, historical trauma, healthy communication and relationships, sexuality, and decision-making. These trainings prepare the interns for active youth mentorship within the community.

Art Internships

Offered through CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts institute, the Art Internships allow teens to explore graffiti and street art, fine art, and traditional Lakota arts, and to learn about opportunities for advanced arts education and professional development. As LAI continues to expand, we plan to add instruction in performance arts and commercial arts, as well as a peer mentor program.

Lakota Culture Internships

Many Lakota youth do not have access to cultural resources, or they are losing these resources as elders pass on. The purpose of this internship is to mentor our young people as they strengthen and deepen their connection to their Lakota culture. Interns learn our traditional Lakota values and life ways, which create a toolbox that will serve them well all their lives — and will give them the ability to walk in two worlds. At its heart, this internship is about the reclamation and revitalization of Lakota culture.

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.