Monday, July 29, 2013

Van Buren County Youth Attend CADCA Mid-Year

Cassie Johnson, Cierstynn Welcher and Lydia Heald at the NYLI Conference!
Van Buren County SAFE Coalition along with more than 1,700 substance abuse prevention and treatment specialists from across the country convened in Austin, Texas last week for CADCA’s 2013 Mid-Year Training Institute, where they gained new skills to tackle their community’s drug and crime problems.

This one-of-a-kind intensive training opportunity offered participants more than 75 half-day and full-day courses on a wide range of topics – everything from how to address prescription drug abuse and the abuse of synthetic drugs to how to create tobacco-free environments and develop policies to reduce marijuana use and underage drinking.

Youth Leadership Members Cassie Johnson and Cierstynn Welcher were a part of the National Youth Leadership Initiative that took place as part of the Midyear event.  Cassie said “The NYLI in Austin was an amazing experience, we learned so much about the process and the steps to making changes in our community. The process we learned can easily be taken and used for everyday life. There is so much I want to use and implement in our community and school. I got so many ideas from hearing from other coalitions. There were over 300 youth and their mentors in attendance for this event and we became a sort of unique family in the 4 days we were there. The trainers and facilitators were inspirational and motivated in their jobs and tasks. I definitely hope we continue to be able to bring Van Buren YLC members to this conference”.

Cierstynn also felt that the conference was a valuable experience. She stated “At the CADCA NYLI conference I learned what it takes to be a leader, what it means and how many people depend on you. To be a leader you need vision, determination, integrity, altruism, courage, collaboration, and cultural competency so you can make a community change.  I’ve had a chance to meet amazing people from all over the nation to see what coalitions are really trying to change. The people I’ve met at CADCA are friends I will have for a lifetime. I would like to thank the people who funded my trip and the trainers.”

SAFE Coalition member Julie Chapuis also attended the training with the Youth Leadership Council Members and was able to be a part of the NYLI conversation. She saw how important this training is not only for this work but how it can be used in all aspects of their lives. “I love that CADCA is teaching our youth transferable skills which can be incorporated into their lives and serve them for years to come” stated Chapuis.

Also attending the CADCA Conference was SAFE Coalition director, Heidi Bainbridge, she served as a CADCA trainer, training two sessions during the event as well as conducting Personal Technical Assistance Sessions throughout the week. YLC member Lydia Heald also served as a CADCA Youth Facilitator for the event, training the NYLI advanced session over the 4 days.
The Mid-Year offered something for everyone, whether the coalition leader was new to the substance abuse prevention field or a veteran of this field. Van Buren County representatives came back energized with information and eager to make community changes.

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