Students from (Johnson County), Tennessee joined 490 youth leaders from across the state representing 45 counties at the Tennessee Teen Institute.
The Tennessee Teen Institute is a five-day youth leadership and prevention camp sponsored by the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (J.A.C.O.A.).
This year event held in mid-June marked the 33rd Anniversary of the Teen Institute Program in Tennessee, which addresses teen issues such as bullying, violence, suicide, teen pregnancy, distracted driving, teen health and substance abuse prevention through a five-day, peer-led prevention camp designed to provide teen participants with the skills and education necessary to develop and implement alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs in their own communities.
According to event organizers, the comprehensive program trains mobilizes and empowers youth to prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and self-destructive behaviors in themselves and their peers.
T.T.I, prepares students to not only make positive changes but to be proud advocates of those changes. Students will have the opportunity to grow and learn as individuals while enhancing their leadership abilities. Because T.T.I. is peer-led, teens are given a unique opportunity to have a “voice” in addressing issues important to them. Giving youth some ownership in this type of program is one of the key factors in the success of enforcing a substance-free lifestyle.
Part of the responsibility of attending T.T.I. is to develop an Action Plan youth can implement in their respective communities.
Johnson County youth came home with a plan to target and reduce the use of electronic cigarettes among youth and participate in the Department of Health’s Red Sand Project to bring awareness to human trafficking.
“We are very excited to be able to work with Johnson County youth concerning these issues,” said Denise Woods, (A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition’s Prevention Coordinator). “Tennessee Teen Institute is a great conference to motivate youth to make a positive impact in the community.”
Participants leave motivated not only to make healthy decisions in their own lives but also committed to work so that others are making healthy decisions in their communities as well.