Emerging Youth Leadership Academy

Healthy Voices Healthy Choices Coalition's Emerging Youth Leadership Academy is a summer training program for youth ages 13-19 years old and their adult mentors, who are interested in participating in a program designed to provide an in-depth understanding of substance abuse, provide advocacy skills like public speaking and media literacy, job readiness skills, and provide the opportunity to take action to try and address the problem of tobacco alcohol and other drugs.

The week long training takes place during the summer at LaVerne Griffin Camp Ground in Wasilla Alaska. The camp is planned by our staff and current older collation members. Leadership camp is set up to training up to 25-30 participants for one week in the summer. Most participants are Anchorage students but we encourage youth and mentors from all over the state to participate. We currently have travel scholarships available for approved mentors and youth via Alaska Native Health Consortium for those individuals who live in rural Alaska. For more information on travel scholarships please contact Sara Clark, sclark@voaak.org.

Camp participants are divided into small training groups of 5-8 students.These teams act as break out groups that perform assigned practical exercises and activities. Each of these groups is mentored by two experienced Healthy Voices Healthy Choices adult mentors and/or youth leaders. Youth will be provided up to date information on various topics like; tobacco, alcohol, opioid and prescription drugs, marijuana, bullying and suicide awareness to help them develop information they can use for their local action items. Training will include Best Practice models like Prime for Life Prevention training, Botivn Life Skills training, Fatal Vision goggles, Media Literacy and Awareness,

Part of the training involves short topical presentations that provide information or teach skills. Each presentation is followed by a breakout session where skills and information are immediately applied in an exercise or other practical application. For example, after the workshop on public speaking skills each team is given a radio PSA script and 20 minutes to break out and learn it. After that time they form into larger groups and each team preforms the script using the speaking techniques just taught.

Other larger group presentations include: 8 things about Alcohol, How to Conduct an Informational Demonstration, Pop Cultures Influences on Alcohol Use and a variety of other mini topics.

One important feature of the training camp is that students get to participate in actual prevention projects.This allow the training to be immediately applied in actual hands-on-circumstances. For example, each student get to:

  • Develop sticker and information cards for a Sticker Shock Campaign
  • Develop a presentation using Fatal Vision Goggles and activities based on them
  • Develop a presentation based off of Samantha Skunk (smoking)
  • Develop 2nd set of Conversation Cards for Family Night events
  • Develop PSA for BE [YOU] underage drinking campaign
  • Each team learns and performs on our Short Skits
  • Participate in a community Awareness Project
  • Participate in large information demonstration by all the participants in the camp on a selected theme.

Each year we pick a topic for the information demonstration which will be held on funder's night and the participants are trained in the proper technique of creating posters, large visuals, and changes. (These topics are submitted by the youth in advance and information is gathered on the subject matter ahead of time.) Youth will learn what and how to develop and distribute palm cards, come up with chants, and hold a press conference during the demonstration. These actions plans developed at camp could be used as comprehensive campaigns for local coalitions.

Camp participants also take part in fun, recreational activities during the week, including: team work games (in and out of water), pizza party and talent show competitions, recreational outdoor games, movie night and wrap up with a scavenger hunt.

The core advantage of this training is that all youth members start off with a thorough and broad background in substance abuse, youth advocacy skills, job readiness skills and exposure to taking action and becoming Youth Leaders in their community.

Cost for camp is $500.00 per youth or adult mentor. Cost includes: registration/training fees and materials, lodging, meals, and recreational activities.

Camp Dates: TBA