Eagle Butte, South Dakota—As a part of its mission to promote Native kids’ health and fitness, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is launching its annual Midnight Basketball and Summer Wellness Programs beginning Friday, May 30, 2014. In its 18th year, the drug- and alcohol-free events will be open to teens ages 13-18 through the summer in an environment that offers fitness, fun and friendship for Cheyenne River youth to help combat childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes that is rampant in many Native communities.
Midnight Basketball begins Friday, May 30th with open-run basketball tournaments, refreshments, prizes, and peer interaction in a positive environment. It runs from 9:00 pm until 1:00 am. Teens are required to sign in and sign out, not able to return once they leave. They are given a 15-minute grace period to return home after they leave our facilities.
Additionally, the Summer Wellness Program will also begin the first week of June with a Summer Sports Clinic. Basketball camp begins the first week of June, offering two sessions to two different groups, ages 8-12 and 13-18. A T-ball/Softball Camp starts the following week; a Rubberball Ruckus Camp the third week; and a Bicycling Club kicking off the last week of June. Regular Fitness Challenges and Fitness Room Activities will continue throughout June. Along with the Gym being open on a daily basis throughout the week.
Tammy Eagle Hunter, youth programs coordinator for CRYP, says the event provides a safe and healthy environment for kids in the Cheyenne River community to spend their Friday evenings during the summer.
“Midnight Basketball was created in 1996 as the brainchild of a former volunteer who recognized the tribal curfew of 10:00 p.m.,” says Eagle Hunter. “It was created as a safe alternative to keep teenagers indoors and respectful of the 10:00 curfew and has since become a staple of local teenage culture.”
Officials say that Midnight Basketball draws nearly 250 teens every Friday night and that juvenile crime rates decrease in the community. Sponsors of the events include the Notah Begay Foundation (NB3), N7, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe TECA program and DARE, who partner with CRYP to make activities like these possible. CRYP also welcomes any parents and community members to come volunteer as referee's and to help supervise youth.
"Midnight basketball is fun,” says CRYP youth Trey Bad Warrior. “It gives kids a chance to play a sport they really love for a good 4-5 hours!"
"Its really the only thing to do in town,” agrees Wyatt Jewett. “I like it because the teen center is open longer, lots of people come and since ball is life, it’s just fun to play till after midnight."Participants will also enjoy a Midnight Breakfast provided by the CRYP before they return home that evening. Midnight Basketball will be held every Friday throughout the summer months.
For more info, parents, guardians and teens can contact Tammy Eagle Hunter at 605-964-8200 to answer any questions they may have or they are welcome to stop in and visit with a staff member about the event. Additionally, follow us at https://www.facebook.com/lakotayouth and www.twitter.com/lakotayouth for updates and details.
Founded in 1988, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities, ensuring strong, self-sufficient families and communities. Today, CRYP provides a wide variety of programs and services to the community, covering nearly 3 million acres in South Dakota. To learn more about CRYP, visit www.lakotayouth.org.