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Darien Y Staff Learn Meaning Of Courage, Help Sioux Indians

Jessica Krueger, Liz Morrissey and Jake Greene, all from Darien, arrive at the Sioux YMCA. Photo Credit: Provided
Jake Greene gets put in “jail” while playing with children in the in Swiftbird community at the reservation. Photo Credit: Provided
Liz Morrissey and White Horse community resident Laken playing on Team 1's last day at the reservation. Photo Credit: Provided

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien residents Jake Greene and Liz Morrissey never thought they would spend two weeks living on an Indian reservation in the middle of the rolling prairies of South Dakota, until they joined the Darien YMCA’s partner, the Sioux YMCA, in the Sioux YMCA Initiative this spring.

The Sioux YMCA Initiative began nine years ago as a way to provide day-camp type programming for the children living in various communities on the reservation. For 12 weeks each summer, the Twin Cities YMCA coordinates with the Y staff, who journey to the reservation and conduct programming, according to a press release.

The immersion provides Y staff with an understanding of cultural and socio-economic realities with which they have little previous experience, according to a press release.

“The welcome we received, both from the kids in the communities and the Sioux Y staff and board members, was incredible,” said Greene in a press release. "Each day was spent driving miles on the hard-packed gravel roads out to the various communities, which included Cherry Creek, Bear Creek, Swiftbird, White Horse and Thunder Butte. Once Team 1 arrived in a community, they would round up whoever wanted to play that day and settle in for a couple hours of fun."

“The kids were excited to have people who were there just to play with them, and we were there to make them happy,” said Morrissey in a press release.

The Sioux YMCA, housed in a small 2,500 square-foot building, currently services an area of more than 5,000 square miles, roughly the size of Connecticut, according to a press release.

“We were so excited to be able to extend the work of the Sioux Y, especially after seeing the respect the Y has in the community because of all of the amazing work they do,” said Morrissey in a press release.

For more information about the Darien YMCA, visit

For more information about the Sioux YMCA initiative, visit

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