CRYP Power of Four teens join peers for memorable “Breakfast with Billy Mills”
On Tuesday, September 11, four of the Cheyenne River Youth Project’s “Power of Four” teen interns joined a group of their Cheyenne River peers for a memorable breakfast with a Lakota icon: Billy Mills.
Mills, an Oglala Lakota tribal member and former U.S. Marine from Pine Ridge, won a gold medal in the 10,000-meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He is the only American ever to win the Olympic gold in that event — and the second Native American to win a gold medal in Olympic history. Mills was on the Cheyenne River reservation last week taking part in Running Strong for American Indian Youth’s Annual Reservations Tour.
Power of Four interns Meta Charger, Madison Gripne, Allen Meeter and Romie Rabbit attended the eagerly anticipated breakfast event.
“Our interns had such a great time,” reported Megan Guiliano, CRYP’s youth programs director. “They work so hard and put so much time into their community service, we were thrilled to give them a chance to enjoy an exciting social event where they could visit with a contemporary Lakota hero.”
The Power of Four interns are focusing on their next round of projects. According to Guiliano, several of the interns will take the Four Bands Community Fund’s CREATE course in October, along with CRYP Wellness Coordinator Tammy Eagle Hunter.
In addition, Guiliano hopes to get the teens more involved in CRYP’s 2-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win Garden.
Guiliano said she’s also planning to have the interns help lead activities at The Main, take on leadership roles with CRYP’s overall youth programming and develop their own ongoing fundraisers to support the nearly 25-year-old, not-for-profit, grassroots organization.
CRYP’s Power of Four program was designed to give teen interns the necessary training and support to learn how to represent their peers and to serve as advocates for their needs and the needs of others in productive, meaningful ways. All activities and events fall under the umbrellas of four key modules — leadership, life skills, job skills and wellness.
Power of Four’s primary focus is to build a 10-member youth advisory board that will represent local young people among CRYP’s board of directors. The council will continue in perpetuity, long after the official three-year internship program has ended. This year’s interns: Cecil Baker, Sierra Bobtail Bear, Meta Charger, Madison Gripne, Allen Meeter and Romie Rabbit.