The Cheyenne River Youth Project understands the importance of a healthy body for improving self-esteem, gaining confidence and keeping the mind open to new ideas and information. Through our Wellness activities, we incorporate physical activity with recreation and mentorship. Whether it’s playing kickball on the playground or taking the kids on a nature walk, we always find a way to include education into the mix. Volunteers teach the children to appreciate good sportsmanship, learn more about indigenous wild- and plantlife, or to challenge themselves just that little bit more.

Each day, volunteers with CRYP prepare an outdoor activity with the children (weather permitting), like team sports or an hour in the Children’s Garden, weeding and harvesting. Not only do these activities help the children to work off excess energy from sitting in school all day, but they encourage children to reconnect with the outdoors. For the Lakota, a strong connection to the earth has always been a part of their spiritual and daily life. Unfortunately, many children no longer value this relationship as much as they could and we try to help them find new ways to rediscover this aspect of their culture.

In addition to our daily activities, the Cheyenne River Youth Project has developed a Summer Camping Program. The Program helps the children to find adventure and fun outside of the internet and video games. Volunteers take the children on hikes, teach them about some of the plant life and animals they see, and most importantly, talk to the children about their lives in a more candid environment.

CRYP would like to eventually make the Camping Program a year-round opportunity, but recognizes that this will only be achieved in small steps. We are still in need of basic supplies, like tents, sleeping bags, mess kits, water jugs, and flashlights. It is the hope of the Cheyenne River Youth Project to be able to introduce as many children as possible to the wonderful outdoors and to help them to become responsible stewards of their planet.