Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ISTEP Summit 2013

Drew Nolting, Cassie Johnson, Cierstynn Welcher, Chase Murphy
By Cassie Johnson

On June 12th, the state group I-STEP held their second I-STEP Summit. The Summit was held in Ankeny. Unlike last year’s I-STEP summit, there were several buses spread out through Iowa that brought 37 summiteers to the summit.  The theme for this year's summit was “The Choice is Yours” Guest appearances included Nigel Wrangham who is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Certified Prevention Specialist, Jessi from Nebraska who is involved in a tobacco prevention group called “No Limits” and a coordinator from I Am In – a website where teenagers can write articles or blogs about everyday teenage life.

The main events of the summit day included; breakout sessions involving: Social Justice and Tobacco,  Chapter 101, Media Literacy, I-STEP Social Media Uses, and a session with Nigel Wrangham. Last year's Street Marketing event included a water balloon skit related to “Big Tobacco”; this year’s Street Marketing event introduced a brand new idea. Everyone was invited to a formal “Tobacco Free Ball”. The ball featured news reporters and a bright shiny red carpet. And then of course everyone got to bust a move on the dance floor! The summit “The Choice is Yours” ended with a candlelight vigil, a popular tradition from the former JEL Summits.

Summiteers are able to apply for the executive council at this event as well. Two Van Buren County youth applied to be members of the council and were both selected to be part of a statewide movement to bring awareness to the dangers of drugs alcohol and tobacco. Chase Murphy and Cierstynn Welcher will join two other Van Buren Youth Leadership Council members, Cassie Johnson and Drew Nolting, as part of the council. These members will be given the opportunity to work at the state level and bring back information they learn to our local community and share with their peers.  Congratulations to Chase and Cierstynn for this exceptional opportunity.

For more information on the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) or Iowa’s ISTEP program please contact the SAFE Coalition Office at 319-293-6412 or at  You can also check out current YLC activities on the YLC Website at or on Facebook!

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