Category Archives: Youth Action Team

6 Ways Your Youth Action Team Can Celebrate Red Ribbon Week

Is your Youth Action Team looking for a way to celebrate Red Ribbon Week 2014? A great way to celebrate Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31) is by utilizing the Be Red Campaign. The goal of Be Red is to take a stand for being alcohol, tobacco and other drug free and to highlight substance abuse prevention efforts in schools and communities. The Be Red campaign is modeled after a youth-driven media awareness campaign, I Wear Red: Bringing Youth Voice to Action, developed by the Oregon Partnership YouthLink Program.

Below are some quick and easy ways to get you going with your Be Red campaign:

  1. 1383946_685989984744338_780485780_n (1)Red Bs: Make or purchase a variety of Bs and paint them red. Hobby Lobby, Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics sell paper, wood and plastic letters in unique sizes and fonts. You can also use different fonts on your computer to print out different versions of the letter B in red or print the Bs on red paper and cut them out. You can draw them free-hand on red construction paper or poster board. Post these Bs all over school and/or the community.
  2. Be Red Scavenger Hunt: Partner with your local newspaper or radio station to publicize a scavenger hunt. During Red Ribbon Week, have participants locate as many red Bs as they can.  They are not to remove or move them in any way, but they need to describe where each B was found. At the end of the week, those who found the most can win a prize or be enetered in a drawing for a prize. This can also be done on a school level instead of a community level.
  3. ElliotBe Red Photos: Recruit team members, family, friends and local public figures to pose around your school or community holding or wearing something red. The picture could be taken with a red letter B, a red t-shirt, red shoes, etc. Ask them to complete the sentence “I wear Red because…” on a small whiteboard. Possible sentence completions could be “I wear Red so my family doesn’t have to experience addiction.” “I wear Red so no one drives drunk anymore.” “I wear Red to be the best athlete I can be.” “I wear Red to do the best in school.” Take their pictures with these messages. If you know how to make the photo black and white with just the red object in color, this is a great technique to emphasize the red. Post these pictures throughout your school and/or community. You can also add them to a blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
  4. Be Red Balloons: Purchase giant white helium balloons at Party City or similar store. With a red Sharpie marker, write BE RED… in large letters so it can be seen from all angles. Have these balloons in different areas of the school or during a community event with several red Sharpies available so people can write their Be Red sentence on the balloon. The goal is to fill each balloon with as many sentences as possible, so by the end, they almost look totally red.
  5. Be Red Photo Booth: Paint several large frames red. Gather a variety of red props (hats, sunglasses, beads, shoes, etc.). Use small whiteboards and red dry erase markers for participants to finish the sentence “I wear Red because…” Take their picture holding their sign, wearing red, framed by a red frame.
  6. IMG_4138Public Awareness: See if government agencies, businesses, churches, schools, etc. would allow you to post Be Red photos around their buildings in common areas or high traffic areas. Some good places are City Hall, local restaurants, playing fields and grocery stores. Get your local newspaper or other media outlet to publicize the campaign, and ask community members to participate.

There are several fun and unique ways to share the Be Red message in your community! What are some ideas you have for promoting Red Ribbon Week throughout Georgia?

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How to Request a Red Ribbon Week Proclamation

With Red Ribbon Week just around the corner, you may be wondering what great project your Youth Action Team or organization can do. 

You can request a Red Ribbon Week Proclamation for your community!

IMG_0115A proclamation is an official designation of an event. Proclamations are a very good way to educate the public about a specific issue and bring attention to a cause. A proclamation is an effective tool for gaining public recognition of your event because it carries the full support of a key government official in your state or community. 

Just follow these 5 steps:

*Make sure you start the process several weeks ahead of the event. 

STEP 1: Contact the State or Local Government Office

Governors, county executives, mayors, state legislatures, municipalities, counties, cities or towns can issue proclamations. For city proclamations, a mayor, city manager or city marshal may be the person to sign. For counties, it will most likely be the county commissioners. You do not have to have both the city and county proclamations—you can decide which entity in your community would reach more people. 

Determine whether you would like to request a proclamation from your city, county or state and locate the website for this entity. On the website, you may find a tab called “Ceremonial” or “Forms,” under which the proclamation request guidelines may be located. Otherwise, use the site’s search feature and type in the word “proclamation.” Another option is the “Contact Us” link. This area may allow you to write a brief message such as: 

How do I ask the Mayor to issue a proclamation declaring [date] as the following event [event name]? (e.g., October 23-31, 2014 as Red Ribbon Week?) 

In addition to seeking the guidelines for requesting a proclamation, be sure to inquire about the preferred format. This information will allow you to begin to draft an effective proclamation. 

STEP 2: Draft Your Proclamation  

There are two styles to choose from when writing your proclamation: traditional and modern. They differ in format; however, the ultimate purpose is the same, and they are equally effective. While the traditional format is the most frequently used, be sure to clarify which style is preferred with your local official in advance of drafting your proclamation. 

Traditional proclamations begin with a series of statements starting with the words “whereas,” meaning because, “inasmuch,” or “since.” Each clause states the problem or issue being addressed and is followed by a concluding phrase beginning with “therefore,” which specifically requests the support or action needed. Modern proclamations are written in a letter format.

A sample of a traditional proclamation is provided here in order to assist you with drafting your proclamation. Modify this sample proclamation by inserting information about the nature of the issue in your community and local statistics.

Follow the guidelines you receive from your government office. Be prepared to have an electronic version of your proclamation available. Most offices will print the proclamation on official letterhead or certificate paper so sending them an electronic version is usually requested.

STEP 3: Follow the Guidelines for Submitting a Proclamation Request  

Each city, county and state will have their own guidelines and procedures for signing proclamations. The easiest way to research your city, county or state’s guidelines is to look on its website and search for the term “proclamation.” Some of the larger cities and counties will have proclamation guidelines listed. Smaller cities and counties may provide contact information on the website to call or email for proclamation information. 

Oftentimes a cover letter requesting the proclamation is required. Find a sample cover letter written to a city, county or state’s government office in request of a proclamation here. 

In order to expedite the proclamation in a timely manner, the following information is usually required when submitting a proclamation request:

  • A draft text of the proclamation in the preferred format
  • The purpose of the proclamation (e.g., Red Ribbon Week)
  • The date when the proclamation is needed
  • A brief history of your organization
  • The name and daytime telephone number/email address of the contact person

STEP 4: Allow Enough Time  

The wheels of government turn slowly, so be sure to begin the proclamation request process at least three months in advance or as soon as possible. Timing is key if you want to be able to have the proclamation announced at a city council or county commissioner meeting. You may be required to send a copy of the proclamation to these representatives two to three weeks ahead of the meeting. Keep in mind that some legislatures are not in session during the summer (particularly in August), so you may need to build in extra time to find a local official who can sign your proclamation. Do not hesitate to follow up and check the status of your proclamation and offer to provide any additional information the official may need. 

STEP 5: Make an Event Out of It!

photo 3 (4) (1)Again, follow the guidelines that you are given as to whom (and how many) you can bring to the proclamation meeting or signing event. Notify your local paper or media outlets about the proclamation. Distribute printed copies to local reporters. Have the proclamation photo-enlarged for display at a news conference and/or in a prominent public place. Send copies to local newspapers. As with any media piece, demonstrate its importance to the media’s audience by including local statistics.

GTI 2014: Workshops

This is our third and last blog installment recapping Georgia Teen Institute 2014. Our first two posts covered overall group session highlights and Team Meetings and Family Groups, two elements of GTI that are often favorites! We hope you enjoy this post just as much, as we describe the inspiring workshop opportunities participants were provided and how they enriched the GTI experience!

Wes Bender: "Fighting Low Expectations with Emotional Intelligence"Year after year, we are fortunate to have workshop presenters at Georgia Teen Institute who are truly invested in the lives of others. This year proved no different. Presenters came from all over the state in order to Make It Matter to participants. Presenters inspired, motivated and encouraged workshop goers to make a difference, not only in their communities, but in the world at large.

All participants, both youth and adults, were able to choose from a variety of workshops offered several times throughout the week. Workshops covered an array of topics such as effective peer-focused strategies, including alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention as well as the prevention of teen dating violence; becoming culturally competent leaders; taking advantage of youth voice in order to improve existing programming; learning ways to become successful both now and in the future; understanding communication styles; and the art of writing an effective PSA.

Mahuli Jakubek & Molly Vance: "Make Your Voice Count"Substance abuse prevention workshops were led by phenomenal presenters such as Wes Bender from the YMCA, John Lee McNair and Felicia Nepp from the Catoosa Prevention Initiative, Dana Bryan and our very own GUIDE, Inc. staff Mahuli Jakubek and Molly Vance. Wes showed participants that it’s important to take a deeper look into emotional intelligence in order to set higher expectations for self and the generations to follow. These higher expectations, in turn, help youth understand their worth and the importance of remaining healthy by living an alcohol, tobacco and other drug free lifestyle. Art is also a wonderful way to express the importance of prevention. John Lee McNair & Felicia Nepp: "Prevention Library Project"John Lee and Felicia led participants in a creative project, which illuminated powerful prevention messages. Adult participants had the privilege of learning from John Lee, who discussed ways to build parental awareness of prescription drug abuse and misuse. Mahuli and Molly led a fun, interactive workshop that illustrated how social norms and norming play an important role in crushing the myths about underage drinking prevention. “Lauren’s Story,” a workshop demonstrating the negative effects of substance abuse, was led by Dana who engaged youth as they listened to her personal story of loss. A teen dating violence workshop, which included another type of prevention for participants to choose from, was led by Christina Williams and Shoneika Jefferson from SafeHomes of Augusta.

Anthony Stover: "Empowering Leaders!"Participants also learned skills to become culturally competent, successful and purpose-driven leaders in their communities. Exploration of experiences, background and prejudices led the conversation in Michael Davis’ workshop about culturally competency. VOX Teen Communications, a program dedicated to youth voice in programming, illustrated the importance of listening to the voices of the youth we serve. Ron Gardner led youth through an engaging workshop that helped them identify the importance of academics, behavior and character in order to achieve success. Participants were encouraged to seek out their purpose in G. Jackson’s workshop, while also exploring key elements of leadership in Anthony Stover’s workshop on empowerment. Crystal Culver motivated youth in her workshops to seek their full potential in order to Make It Matter, not only at GTI, but back at home, too.

Crystal Williams: "CRUSH YOUR BOX: Communicating Your Leadership Style"Adult Advisors had the option to attend specialized sessions including Crystal Williams’ workshop, which showcased various youth communication practices and behaviors. This knowledge helped adults to identify ways to engage the youth they serve in a more meaningful way. Atlanta radio host, Melissa Carter, offered another workshop dedicated to the skill of PSA writing. Participants learned how to craft messages in order to raise awareness in their communities. Adult participants had the privilege of learning from John Bringuel with The Council on Alcohol and Drugs, who discussed ways to build parental awareness of prescription drug abuse and misuse.

We are incredibly thankful to all of our presenters for truly Making It Matter at GTI 2014! It’s in large part because of these wonderful people that Georgia Teen Institute is able to provide participants from all over the state of Georgia the skills and resources needed to make a difference in their communities.

Do you want to know even more about Georgia Teen Institute and how you can get involved? Please visit our website and reach out to us today for any questions or suggstions!

GTI 2014: Team Meetings & Family Groups

We don’t know about you, but we are still super energized from Georgia Teen Institute 2014! The summer program may be over, yet it’s still all many of us can think about. In a recent blog post, we shared with you some highlights of the week from our large group sessions. Believe it or not, we still have so much more to tell. Read below for some insight into two major components of GTI: Team Meetings and Family Groups.

Team Meetings

IMG_2972The reason Youth Action Teams have attended Georgia Teen Institute for the past 26 years is because they want to make a difference in their communities. Each team met daily during the program to participate in team building, assessing community needs and strengths and developing an Action Plan for the upcoming year. The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) was utilized for each team to plan at least one project from start to finish that they will implement when they return to their communities. In addition, they reviewed data from the Georgia Department of Education’s Georgia Student Health Survey II and the Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS Count Data to get to know the issues that prevail in their communities. Working with their Adult Advisors and GTI Youth or College Age Staff, all 43 teams successfully completed a plan of action in response to a local issue the group decided should be addressed. Thirty teams who are funded by DBHDD addressed underage drinking as their problem and planned prevention projects related to the issue. Because GTI is a youth leadership program centered on prevention, several other teams identified underage drinking as the issue they wanted to address with their project, as well.

IMG_2965In addition to all the hard work they put into their team Action Plans, they participated in team building activities to help the team learn more about their strengths, areas for improvement and how they can successfully work together at GTI and when they return home. This year, teams completed several beach-themed activities, such as creating their own Beach House and Blimp to advertise their project. Teams also designed a treasure map, played Beach Towel Flip and went on a beach trip with the Wright family.

Each team who attended GTI successfully submitted an Action Plan. If you’re wondering what an Action Plan would include and what communities across the state of Georgia will see in the coming year, here are a few highlights from some of our teams:

  • BullochBulloch County Alcohol and Drug Council DEFY YAT identified underage drinking as a problem in their community. The team planned a DEFY YAT Drug Free Kickback in the four county middle schools to provide information on underage drinking prevention with ways to decrease negative peer pressure.
  • RUS_6027 (1)Cobb Alcohol Taskforce YAT stated their problem was a lack of awareness of the dangers of underage drinking. With the goal of raising awareness of adult influence on teens, the team planned a 5K Color Run. The Color Run will increase the YAT’s interaction with community youth and adults and educate them on substance abuse statistics.
  • Spalding Co.Spalding County Youth Action Council identified underage drinking as an issue and planned to implement the “Simply Sober, Simply Me” Campaign to help prevent and reduce underage drinking by sharing information and leveraging resources. To change perceptions and behaviors of the citizens of Spalding County, the team created “The Breakout Conference: Creating a New Cool.” They also planned a 70’s party to reinforce the 70/30 statistic. Using the data from the needs assessment and positive social norms, the party will show that 70% of teens do not drink alcohol.
  • WaltonA new team to GTI, the Walton County Youth Advocacy Board, identified two problems they would like to address: underage drinking and lack of understanding of Cultural Competency. Their goal is to redefine Cultural Competency in Walton County and promote positive messages around youth in all aspects, including the importance of remaining alcohol and drug free was the goal statement they wrote. Using the Open Minded Movement, the team planned a Cotton Café Monologue Event and the Haunted House of Addictions.
  • ParkviewParkview High School SAVE/SADD, a team who has attended GTI for numerous years, decided to take a new approach to the problem of underage drinking this year. The team wanted to increase visibility of alcohol free fun, parties and events throughout the year, while also communicating the dangers of underage drinking. Using information from their needs assessment, the team recognized that after parties with alcohol following sporting events is an issue in their community. To reduce this problem, the team planned the #DrugFreeTurnUp project. Throughout the school year, the team will attend a variety of school sporting events and distribute giveaways during the games to spread an alcohol free message to students and adults.

Now the real fun begins. Over the next year, we get to watch all of our awesome Youth Action Teams implement their projects and change their communities and the world. We can’t wait to see how they go! Thank you to all of our teams for your hard work throughout the week and your dedication to Make It Matter back in your communities! 

Family Groups

Family Groups are often the highlight for participants year after year, and it’s no surprise why. Family Groups are comprised of youth from across the state to engage in discussion, reflection, games and activities. Each session was designed to build skills, friendships and self-esteem while encouraging networking among youth from diverse backgrounds. Family Groups met daily to get to know each other, have fun and experienced how a group of strangers can become like family by learning to trust and care for each other in a matter of a few short days.

IMG_2973A long-time tradition at GTI is having Secret Pals in your Family Group, and this year they were another huge hit. On Day 1, participants picked their Secret Pal and had the responsibility of not only keeping themselves a secret, but also placing something on the Warm Fuzzy Board each day. This year, the board was filled with all kids of goodies, including hand written notes, items purchased from the GTI store, stickers, snacks and crafts made during Arts and Crafts. Each day, participants eagerly checked the board looking for something from their Secret Pal.

Sticking with the beach theme, several of our Family Group activities continued our beach journey. Family Groups created wind chimes, which were pieces of art that can only make music when all of the pieces work together. The wind chime also showed how diverse the Family Group was because no two people had the exact same seashell. Each participant was able to keep a seashell of their own to reflect on the beauty, uniqueness and importance of each person who came to the GTI beach. Any trip to the beach would not be complete without a scrapbook full of memories, and this journey was no different. Everyone was able to complete their GTI Scrapbook to remember their experience at camp.


IMG_2977Family Groups also completed several team building activities to encourage youth to practice their leadership skills with people they were not familiar with. This year that included activities such as Anti Gravity Hoop, Disaster Control and Telephone Charades. Each Family Group was divided in half and the teams had to race in order to lower their hula hoop to the ground first during Anti Gravity Hoop. As a way to enhance “Personal Power” (when a young person feels he or she has control over things that happen to them), Family Groups worked in small groups to decide what three items they would have in their flood preparedness kit, during the Disaster Control activity. Telephone Charades was also a hit, where groups had to compete to get their “message” down the telephone line, using only their finest acting skills. Each Family Group had the opportunity to bond, laugh and develop leadership skills with youth from other teams across Georgia.

IMG_2976Adult Advisors participated in a Family Group of their own, having just as much fun as the youth. Each Adult Family Group starts out with Door Prizes, and they were required to show off their best Door Prize Dance. This year, the Adults participated in activities such as Beach Ball Thumb Ball, Animated Skit, Spoonful of Questions and many more. Adult Advisors had the opportunity to network with other professionals throughout the state, which is one of the many benefits of attending GTI. Not only are Advisors sharing project ideas, but also resources and connections they have to help make Georgia a better place. Adult Advisors also participate in Secret Pals and this year they really stepped it up in the gift giving. Several adults received Secret Pal prize packs filled with treats and items to share with their team members. The incredible Adult Advisors who are a part of our statewide initiative also participated in a networking meeting. During the meeting, event reports, contracts and other logistical items were discussed. Each Adult Advisor served as positive adult role models to our youth, and this year we had the opportunity to thank them during each Family Group meeting with small prizes like notebooks, pens, and the limited edition GTI visor. 

We truly could not have asked for better Team Meetings and Family Groups this year. We are excited to see all of these incredible projects implemented and how our Youth Action Teams use the skills they built and tools received at GTI to grow and strengthen their communities over the next year. Want to know even more about what we did at GTI 2014? Please stay tuned for our next blog post, which will cover the workshop opportunities we offered participants.

Making It Matter at GTI 2014

IMG_0872 (1)We stepped foot on the Oxford College campus on Friday, June 6 to begin what would become the best two weeks of the year: the 2014 Georgia Teen Institute. Week 1 of GTI was scheduled to begin the following Monday, and a lot of preparation was necessary to make sure we were ready for participants to arrive. As soon as the moving truck backed in to unload at the dorms, we started to piece together Command Central and the many components of camp that made us feel at home. The days leading up to the start of the program are often quiet, but a closer look at the calm scene reveals hard work, frantic preparation and tireless dedication to the cause. We kicked off with Staff Development Weekend 2 (a continuation from part 1 held in March), a time for staff to bond, learn their way around campus, practice the following weeks’ activities and set personal goals for their time at GTI. Volunteers, without whom our program would not be possible, spent the weekend sorting t-shirts, assembling manuals and preparing team building materials, among many other important tasks. Excitement built as the weekend came to an end and we met for our final staff meeting to reflect on the adventures we’d get to be a part of in the coming weeks.

IMG_1512Our theme this year was Make It Matter, inspired by The Starfish Story by Loren Eiseley. This story reminds us that our actions can make a positive difference, even if just in the life of one other person, and that our efforts are never wasted if one person is impacted for the better. Each staff member looked forward to making a difference. In fact, it was our goal to Make It Matter for every single participant who would attend the program.

IMG_1034 (1)All of a sudden, it started to feel like GTI. Youth Action Teams began pouring in, we were flying through the schedule and our staff proved to be incredible leaders. In the midst of all the fun and, at times, chaos, it was nice to look around at all the change happening right before our eyes. Participants came out of their shells, bonded with each other and made memories as they were provided with tools and teachings that would support their growth into strong leaders. Teams were developing detailed Action Plans for how they will address a local community issue over the next year. Staff discovered a love for caffeine… and the youth leadership program that changes lives. For everyone at Oxford over the last two weeks, the experience was absolutely unmatched.

If you are wondering what we were up to, here are some highlights of the large group sessions of GTI 2014 (in no particular order). In upcoming blog posts, we’ll tell you more about workshops, team meetings and family group, as well.

  1. IMG_1071Wes Bender served as our keynote for the Day 1 General Session. Wes, the Director of Youth and International Initiatives with the Metro Atlanta YMCA, brought an incredible amount of energy and passion to GTI. Full of inspiration and motivation, Wes brought the crowd to life while also giving participants a meaningful message to take with them for the rest of the week.
  2. This was the first year we not only allowed, but encouraged, the use of mobile devices and social media at GTI. In some sessions when we were all together as a big group, everyone was given a chance to show the world that we can use social media for good. We asked participants some probing questions, like how they wanted to Make It Matter and what they’ve learned at camp, and then we asked them to tell the world. All across Twitter and Instagram, youth and adults were talking about the impact we were making. With 49 users and 66 tweets containing #GTI2014 in just 20 hours, we became a trending topic on Twitter across the United States, which held the possibility that more than 15,000 people saw our tweets.
  3. RUS_7186Several of our staff conducted a Town Hall Meeting via a Despicable Me skit. Underage drinking was described as a major issue occurring in the minions’ community, and our fabulous actors walked the audience through the Strategic Prevention Framework to determine potential causes, interventions and results. Youth Action Teams had the opportunity to understand more about the SPF PIE and how to apply it, learn how to use their Red Ribbon Week and Beyond Manuals and meet the GUIDE staff and hear about the resources we provide across the state… all with the help of Gru and his minions!
  4. One evening we had a Trivia Night hosted by ThinkFast Interactive. Participants worked with their Youth Action Team to answer questions against the clock and rival the other teams present. Each week, the winning team went home with $200 cash! With question topics ranging from movie plots to facts about GTI and audio clips of famous musicians to information on alcohol and drug use, it was a fun learning experience for all involved. It served as a great way to mix pop culture and prevention facts.
  5. RUS_6601The Golden Pencil Awards was held on the final night of camp each week. We announced Generation of Heroes, Lee County Youth Council and HOOKED Teen Club as our Youth Action Teams of the Year! In addition, Josselyn Garcia and Melinda Shealey were named our Volunteers of the Year. The fun didn’t stop there; we also gave out silly awards nominated by our staff, such as Golden Spoon Awards, the person “Most Likely to Survive a Shark Attack” and the person “Most Likely to Open a Snack Shack on the Beach.” A reception followed that included a visit by two ice cream trucks!

RUS_7749Participants also had the opportunity to participate in team building activities, as well as several fun free time activities, like swimming in Oxford’s indoor pool, arts and crafts, yoga, shopping at the TI Store and viewing Disney’s Frozen. There were also PENCILS… lots and lots of pencils. And a really cool GTI staff beach dance. Looking back, GTI 2014 was an awesome two weeks that forever impacted the lives of those who attended. All across Oxford College, every day, we were Making It Matter. Perhaps the only thing more exciting and empowering is the ripple effect that will be evident across the state of Georgia as young leaders set out to change their communities. If you came to GTI, what was your favorite part? How were you inspired? How did you Make It Matter?

Please stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts featuring other aspects of GTI! To learn more now about our program, please visit our website.

Join Us at Georgia Teen Institute 2014!

Team Registration is Open!

We would love to see Youth Action Teams from across the state of Georgia join us at Oxford College this summer as we proudly celebrate our 26th year! Come help us Make it Matter in 2014.

Georgia Teen Institute (GTI) is an inspiring, motivational and meaningful leadership training program for middle and high school students with a focus on teaching youth-adult teams how to use the Strategic Prevention Framework to plan and implement projects in their home communities related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention, community engagement and other pertinent issues. GTI is a dynamic, fun and innovative way for middle and high school students and adult advisors to learn new skills, meet new people and become empowered to create change in their communities and schools.

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WHEN?

Your choice!

Week 1: June 9-12 or Week 2: June 17-20

WHERE? 

Oxford College

100 Hamill Street

Oxford, GA 30054

WHO?

Youth leaders and their adult advisors who want to make a difference in their home communities! A team is generally comprised of at least four youth and must have at least one adult as a team member. If a team is co-ed, you must have a male and a female adult attend for supervision purposes. Youth members must be enrolled in grades 7-12 for the 2014 – 2015 school year. Neither youth nor adults should be currently experiencing a substance abuse or significant mental health problem.

HOW MUCH?

Early Bird Rate for those registered by April 11 at  5 pm: $385 per participant, youth or adult.*  

Regular Rate for those registered after April 11 at 5 pm: $450 per participant, youth or adult*

*Adults may request a single room at the rate of $50 per room.

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For more information you can click here and it will provide more details, the registration packet and requirements associated with attending Georgia Teen Institute 2014. Space is limited, so make sure you get your registration packet in as soon as possible!

We cannot wait to see you at #GeorgiaTI2014 and help us Make it Matter!

GUIDE YAB Gets a Fresh Start in 2014

GUIDE, Inc. Youth Advisory Board (YAB), made up of 15 high school students in Gwinnett County, seeks to create positive community change. Five of our YAB members attended a leadership program this past summer, Georgia Teen Institute. While they were at camp, the group utilized the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) to create an Action Plan in order to facilitate said change. Their Action Plan included a town hall meeting for youth dedicated to providing an alcohol-, tobacco- and other drug-free activity, illustrating that students can have a lot of fun living a substance-free life.

1544430_728298090513527_1309635970_nWhen the YAB held their first meeting of the year in August 2013, members reviewed the Action Plan and the SPF process began. Because of the great detailed work that took place at Georgia Teen Institute, the YAB jumped right back into the planning process. Members worked hard to plan the event by seeking community sponsors, recruiting for high school student leaders to attend and addressing event logistics. YAB chose the title, “Fresh Start Town Hall Meeting” to demonstrate the ability teens have to start over with new perspectives and behaviors. The Fresh Start Town Hall Meeting took place on Saturday, January 11, 2014 from 6:30 – 11:30 pm.

YAB members were very appreciative of the support of J.M. Tull-Gwinnett Family YMCA. YAB partnered with the YMCA, who provided the space for the Fresh Start Town Hall Meeting. The facility was the perfect location for the event! The YMCA also provided the keynote speaker, Wes Bender. He was a huge hit with all of the participants and shared many “tools for their toolboxes” and lots of laughter!

1536510_728297917180211_773898651_nThe workshops at Fresh Start were both informational and engaging. Officer Rooks from the Gwinnett County Police Department facilitated a workshop on how important decision making is in a young person’s life. He also provided a great deal of laughter, along with lots of important information on the dangers of underage drinking and drug use. Two YAB members, Maya and Charlene, facilitated a team building workshop. They did a fantastic job leading the group in leadership activities while focusing on the Fresh Start theme. They shared significant knowledge with the participants, encouraging them that a new year is a great time to turn over a new leaf. During free time, participants enjoyed using the YMCA facilities including racquetball, Zumba and the Teen Center.

1526757_728297837180219_157327317_nThe event wrapped up with a skit written and performed by YAB members. During the skit, YAB provided reasons why youth should make positive choices and how they can share this information with their peers in a fun, easy to understand way. Much like Georgia Teen Institute, YAB members provided door prizes and energizers, too!

The Fresh Start Town Hall Meeting was an excellent way for YAB members to learn more about the SPF and utilize its steps to effectively plan a program. To wrap up the SPF process, YAB members collected evaluations and analyzed results. They also met to discuss the event and have already started to plan for next year!