Sioux Y Initiative
Through our partnership with the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, staff, volunteers, and youth travel to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation for an experience that provides leadership development, unique programing opportunities, and cultural immersion. Known as the Sioux Y Initiative, this programs ensures that the youth who are residents in some of the most isolated communities on the Reservation have access to a range of physically and mentally stimulating activities, along with a good meal! Thanks to this program, the youth are offered positive adult interactions, and experiences that encourage them to thrive.
Through grass-roots programming, the Initiative develops an understanding of the global nature of the Y movement and way of life for a people very different from oneself. Each summer around 20 staff from YMCAs all over the United States help expand the scope of programming at the Sioux Y and the number of youth served.
BUILDING A LASTING IMPACT
Initiative participants arrive in groups of 3 or 4, completing 2 weeks of programming that overlaps with the next team by a couple of days. Overall, service to these communities spans 12 weeks of the summer for youth ages 3 and older. Thanks to this program, more than 1000 youth have connected to positive adult role models since the Initiative began.
Participants develop a strong understanding of and commitment to the YMCA mission, bring skills and leadership development competencies back to their home branch, and make a huge impact on the lives that are touched. In addition to the benefits to the Initiative participants, the Sioux Y also benefits immensely. With a vast service area of 4,400 miles and 18 communities stretched across those miles, coupled with limited amount of resources with which to deliver our programs, we rely on our partnerships for support.
Together, we can overcome the stark disparities that face one of the poorest areas in the entire United States.