Zaniya fitness competition a success
EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. – In October, the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, S.D., introduced a new component to its ongoing wellness programming. Christened “Zaniya,” which means “health and wellness” in Lakota, the new offering was a multifaceted fitness competition for teens held every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month at the Cokata Wiconi Teen Center.
Each day’s competition featured a different sport or physical activity. These included Crazy Volleyball, badminton, Hacky Sack, a three-point shoot-out, a three-on-three basketball tourney, the basketball activity known as knockout – or “lightning” – and a timed basketball obstacle course that emphasized skills such as passing, dribbling, shooting and rebounding. According to Wiyaka Chasing Hawk, CRYP’s wellness coordinator and the Zaniya fitness competition organizer, the basketball games were most popular among the teens.
|Shane Badwarrior, first place, boys, at the Zaniya fitness competition held by the Cheyenne River Youth Project.|
For each activity, participants were judged using four criteria: Sportsmanship, competitive spirit, attendance and teamwork. Each criterion was evaluated on a 1-10 scale, and the points were added for a final score for that day’s competition.
The winners, with boys and girls evaluated separately, were: Shane Badwarrior, first place with 160 points; Isaac Sands, second place with 133 points; Dakota Ducheneaux, third place with 128 points; Ashley Iron Moccasin, first place with 80 points; Cassidy Hollow Horn, second place with 77 points; and Shiann Ducheneaux, third place with 61 points.
“We had a monthly volunteerism challenge for the teens as well,” Chasing Hawk said. “Each teen who wanted to participate could complete tasks within the teen center and receive points for each task completed on a daily basis.”
Each task was worth 10 points, and at the end of the month, the teen with the most points won a cake from Dairy Queen. This fall’s Zaniya Volunteerism Challenge Winner was Nicole Norman, with 140 points.
As far as prizes were concerned, Chasing Hawk said the winners – in fact, all participants – took away from the Zaniya event the most important prize of all; exercise.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t give them the PS3 or MP3 players they may have wanted,” he said, “but what they may not see or recognize now is that the physical exercise, the good sportsmanship, the competitive spirit and the teamwork all will benefit them later in life.”
Chasing Hawk said encouraging young people to engage in physical activity is one of the first lines of defense against all-too-prevalent diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
“It is the greatest feeling to know that the gym is a battleground against the diseases that plague wakan isya (“sacred beings, youth” in Lakota),” he said. He said the teens inspired him to create the Zaniya fitness competition to “continue this battle.”
“I realized that what I do with them will impact their lives,” he explained. “Many may not have a father figure at home to spend time with them and coordinate activities like this, so it’s very important that I rise to the occasion.”
Chasing Hawk said he is tentatively planning another Zaniya fitness competition, but this time targeting the youth project’s youngest participants: the 4 to 12 year olds who attend The Main Youth Center.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit CRYP’s Web site. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, visit the youth project’s Facebook group and cause pages. All group and cause members will receive regular updates through Facebook.
The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River Reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.