Hey, everyone! This is Cheyenne reporting all the way from the Sunshine State, where I am currently working on my Senior Thesis. For those of you out there wondering what that means, it’s just a short way of saying: “a huge research project based on your major.” My majors happen to be Religion and Sociology, and as luck would have it, I am doing my thesis on drug prevention programs. My main goal is to recognize what approaches work the best and how we can incorporate them into programs that are not curbing drug use among youth. So far, I have found that the most effective tool of drug prevention programs is social influence. The ever-reliable Wikipedia defines social influence as “when one’s emotions, opinions, or behaviors are affected by others.” From working with youth, we know that they are heavily influenced by peer pressure, but does all peer pressure have to be negative? Peer pressure is typically stigmatized as evil, but why can’t we use such a powerful tool for good? The answer is: we already do.
What does this mean for PRIDE teams? That we are doing something right as a peer-to-peer prevention program. What does this mean for PRIDE youth? That you cannot forget YOU are the most important part of this organization. Sometimes it is easier to do a performance, or a presentation, or a service project and not interact with anyone besides your team. In everything that you do, you must remember it is not for yourself or for your team, but more importantly for the ones who need to hear what you have to say. So branch out, spread the message, and use your social influence. Be the change, so you may change lives yourself.
-Trainer Cheyenne Kiddy
Someone once said, “change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” As we look to the PRIDE2013 theme, Be The Change, I want to challenge all of you to take risks this year, get out of your comfort zone and make a difference in the lives of others. It’s easy to see the need for change, but in order to be the change you must be willing to give of yourself. Change is “the act or instance of making or becoming different,” which means if you are doing what you’re comfortable with, the same thing you do every day, you aren’t changing. If you aren’t willing to change, can you be the change? If you accept my challenge, come find me at conference and tell me how getting out of your comfort zone made a difference on your team or in your life!
-Trainer Jesse Fox
In 2013, Challenge and Talent Show will once again be two independent events separated by a two-hour break. Although the format of the events is the same, you may notice that the application looks a little different. As your group works on preparing pieces for Challenge and/or Talent Show, please keep the following in mind:
- The deadline will be strictly followed. This will make things easier for those coordinating the event, help keep the event on time, and demonstrate respect to the groups who work hard to meet the deadline. To help, we have changed the deadline from its usual January date. Entries are now due February 15.
- If you are using music in an entry, even just a part of a song, please make sure that the lyrics are free from offensive language and subject matter and that the artist has an overall positive reputation. When you’re checking a song, please look at the original lyrics and not a radio edit version.
- In honor of our conference theme, Be the Change, we are encouraging an even stronger focus on positive prevention and its power to create healthy change. As our teams know, the performing arts are a great tool to share the message that youth can create positive change.
Challenge and Talent Show are always favorite events because they’re a great opportunity to see the creativity of PRIDE youth on full display! We look forward to seeing the exciting new ideas presented on stage in 2013!
‘Tis the season for holidays! With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and even New Year approaching, take this time to utilize one of the four pillars and plan some Drug-Free Activities with your team! Set up a place for fun and games where kids can come dressed in their Halloween costumes and win some candy from the cool PRIDE kids. Next month, you could plan a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with your team and have everyone bring a dish. Plan a Secret Santa event around Christmas, and you could even have an awesome drug-free New Year’s Eve party with loads of sparkling apple cider. The possibilities are endless! These are all just ideas and ways that you can spend time together as a team, all while spreading the PRIDE message and being your awesome drug-free selves. Happy planning!
-Trainer Micah Sargent
October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and National Bullying Prevention Month! Red Ribbon Week will also be observed October 23-31. There are so many ways to get involved in these observances and to raise awareness in your community. Your team might already be planning something great! If you’re still looking for ideas, or just want more information, here are a few places to start:
The recent overdose deaths of two Grand Forks area teenagers have been attributed to 2C-I, a new synthetic drug also known by its street name, “Smiles.” Overdoses have been reported in North Dakota, Indiana and Minnesota, and dozens of people have posted videos on YouTube detailing their experiences with the drug. The effects have been compared to a more potent combination of MDMA and LSD. According to the Indiana Poison Control Center, overdoses have been known to cause seizures, kidney failure and fatally high blood pressure. Users have reported intense visual and aural hallucinations lasting anywhere from hours to days. First surfacing in 2003 in Europe, the drug has made its way to the United States and seems to be gaining popularity with teens and college students. 2C-I was classified as a Schedule I substance in July. Read more at http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/2c-smiles-killer-drug-every-parent-know-234200299.html.
Here’s an idea for a communication activity to try with your team: Search By Sound. Gather a handful or two of small objects like uncooked macaroni, Skittles or paper clips. Before your team arrives, hide the objects around your meeting space. Split your team into small groups and ask each group to select a “captain.” Show everyone an example of the objects you have hidden and explain that their goal is to find as many of them as possible within the time limit you have chosen. However, they will have two challenges: First, while everyone can search, only the captain is allowed to actually touch the objects. Second, the group is only allowed to communicate using an animal sound, not words or gestures. If group members locate an object, they must use their chosen sound to call over the captain.
When time is up, ask each group to count the objects they found to determine the winners. Then, take a few moments to process the activity. Ask participants what steps they had to take to achieve their goal, what challenges they faced and how they dealt with them, and what their communication was like during the activity. Discuss communication issues that can happen on a team and effective ways to deal with them.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy recently released a statement commending Congress for passing legislation adding 26 synthetic chemicals to the list of Schedule I controlled substances. The chemicals, including some commonly found in the products known as K2 and Spice, will be included under the FDA Safety and Innovation Act (S. 3187). Under federal law, Schedule I substances are those with a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in the U.S. and lack accepted safety for use of the drug. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and Ecstasy. Of the 26 chemicals just added, 15 are synthetic cannabanoids.
ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske said, “Synthetic drugs like ‘bath salts,’ Spice, and K2 are a serious threat to health and safety. I urge families to take time today to learn what these drugs are and discuss the harms that all drugs pose to young people in America.” The American Association of Poison Controls reported that they received 6,959 calls related to synthetic marijuana in 2011. They received 2,906 such calls in 2010.
Looking for a simple team activity that focuses on sending positive messages? Try “Behind Your Back”: Tape a piece of paper to each team member’s back and give each person a marker (take care to use markers that will not bleed through the paper). Explain that when people talk behind others’ backs, the result is often gossip, rumors and negativity. However, people can make a choice to avoid gossip and instead focus on sending positive messages. Ask each team member to write one positive statement on each person’s paper. You may want to ask them to avoid complimenting physical attributes (like “you have nice hair” or “your eyes are pretty”) and instead focus on character traits like kindness, friendliness, hard work or generosity. When everyone is done, team members can remove their papers and read the messages.
Whether your team will be adding new members in the next couple of months, throughout the year or not until next spring, it’s always a good idea to have some “getting to know you” activities up your sleeve. Here’s an icebreaker for your team to try out: Joke and Punchline. Get two piles of index cards or other small pieces of paper. On one card, write the set up to a joke. For example, “What does Godzilla drive to work?” On another card, write the punchline (“a monster truck”). Mix all the cards up, and then hand them out. Explain that the goal is to find the person with the other half of your joke and then to introduce yourselves. Once everyone has found their match, scramble the cards back up and try again. Add another element by writing an icebreaker question on the back of each card. For example, “If you could only have one electronic device, which would it be?” After exchanging names, each person answers the questions on the cards.
Make sure that you have enough cards for each person in your group. If your group has an odd number, recruit an advisor to participate so that every card will have a match. You will also want to keep the jokes appropriate and simple. A kid’s joke website works well for this activity. Try http://kids.yahoo.com/jokes or a similar site.