September 2, 2014
The Sioux YMCA Initiative is a partnership between the YMCAs of Greater Twin Cities (YGTC) in Minnesota and the Sioux YMCA in South Dakota. Each summer, the YGTC selects participants from local and national partner YMCAs, provides them with extensive training and coordinates their 15-day service trips in order to provide greater services to six remote communities on the Cheyenne River Reservation for over 12 weeks each summer.
Youth on the Cheyenne River Reservation face stark health challenges, including an extremely high prevalence of youth obesity and diabetes. To combat these disparities, the Sioux YMCA and the YGTC have collaborated with the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board’s Childhood Obesity Prevention Program to implement CATCH as the official Sioux YMCA Initiative youth program of 2013 and 2014. By partnering with local schools and other youth-serving agencies on the Cheyenne River Reservation also implementing CATCH, young people are receiving holistic support to enhance their physical activity and increase positive nutrition behaviors.
By utilizing both American Indian and CATCH program games, the YMCA has been able to educate the youth on the traditional values and history of the Lakota people while teaching them unique, fun and engaging activities that promote healthy living. CATCH has made it easy to operate a meaningful, intentional, and impactful program with minimal resources. In the past two years of the Sioux YMCA Initiative, over 400 youth in six remote communities on the Cheyenne River Reservation have positively engaged in over 500 hours of the Sioux YMCA Initiative’s CATCH programming.
In July, Todd Tibbits, YGTC Chief Operations Officer, and Lisa Pung, Sioux YMCA Initiative leader, shared the great work that the YGTC has been doing to promote healthy living for youth at the 18th YMCA World Council. As a part of their complete portfolio of healthy youth services, the implementation of CATCH through the Sioux YMCA Initiative and the work of CATCH Global was highlighted as an example of healthy youth programming at its finest by the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.