Monday, March 5, 2012

Students Taking Charge

By: Cassie Johnson

On Friday, March 2nd four Van Buren County YLC members, Drew Nolting, Jessica Hartman, Carson Schuck and I (Cassie Johnson) attended “Students Taking Charge” a workshop for high school students held at the DMACC Campus in Ankeny. This workshop was to provide students with information on nutrition, physical activity and tobacco prevention knowledge. Many organizations came together to teach us healthy ways to live or lives (Team Nutrition, Iowa State Extension Services, I-Step, and SIYAC) for this daylong event.

The first part of our day we were broken up into groups where we were taught how to use pedometers, what the sugar content is in our favorite drinks, what protein is, how much water consumption we should be getting and information on calories. These sessions gave us a chance to experience and calculate our knowledge we learned.

The lunch at this workshop went right along with promoting a healthy lifestyle with salads and whole grain pasta and cookies.

Cassie: I think this workshop was very beneficial in being able to bring what I learned back to my school. I got to debate against a topic which was really fun. As one of my optional sessions to attend I chose to try a Pilates, it was challenging and took a lot of core strength. I hope to be able to build a Pilates club at our school.

Carson: My favorite part of the conference was the session given by Catalyst (a Minnesota youth movement that is working to get healthy food in schools, be more active and not support tobacco industry) where they showed us a combination of restaurant foods and we had to choose which one we felt was the healthier choice. It surprised me which ones were really healthier.

Drew: I presented as an Executive Council member of I-Step (a youth organization, with the sole purpose of educating society about the dangers of tobacco) on street marketing. Street marketing is a technique where people broadcast a point of view about a certain topic with a group or by themselves. Some of the examples we presented were: making posters, cups in the fence, sticker shock and various others. The group I presented to was made up of around 40 high school youth from across the state of Iowa.

Jessica: My favorite part of the “Students Taking Change” workshop was actually two of the breakouts and meeting with new people. We had time to talk with other youth where I was able to make some new friends. I liked the way they had the presentations and the order they had everything in. So I guess you could say I didn’t exactly have a favorite part but felt the whole workshop was very beneficial.

For more information on the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) or this event please contact the coalition office at 319-293-6412 or via email at

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