The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition held their annual youth training this fall for all members involved in Youth Leadership Council in Van Buren County. This event, held on Wednesday October 1st, was intended to help students gain a better understanding of what it means to be a leader and it did just that!
There were 100 youth from the Van Buren and Harmony School District, the students grades ranged from 7th-12th grade. Some of these students have been a part of YLC for multiple years and some were brand new this year.
Throughout the day students attended four different workshops; Leadership, Art, Planning and ISTEP. The Leadership workshop provided the students with an opportunity to get to know one another a little better, to participate in some team building activities and to have fun while learning the art of leadership. In the Art workshop students were asked some very probing questions about their involvement with Youth Leadership Council and what keeps them above the influence. They were then charged with designing a poster that details these things in their own creative art work. The students were able to use paint, markers, glitter, and foam letters and shapes to make their posters unique. Winners were selected based on the criteria of originality, creativity, best use of the page and best display of their reasons. The first place winners were; Morgan Croft, Victoria Halverson, Hannah Hunt, Kameron Gearhart and Lacey Smith. The students also learned about state-wide prevention efforts when they attended the ISTEP workshop. Robbyn Graves from Iowa Department of Public health spoke to them about the statewide initiative and how they could get involved as well as street marketing activities that they could do in their own community. Their final workshop was planning, this provided them with an opportunity to take a look at the events that are occurring throughout the year and determine the activities and strategies that they want to implement to make a change in their community. All groups came up with some great ideas and will begin implementing them right away in October for Prevention Month and Red Ribbon Week- be watching for these in the school and community.
This event is a lot of fun for the students each year and provides them with some valuable learning opportunities. They are able to learn public speaking skills, leadership skills, planning skills and how to make a change in their community based on the problems that they have identified! YLC members will be active all year in hopes to spread the word about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco as well as a few new initiatives they are going to embark on this year…… be watching…… more to come!