When it comes to creating a healthier Allen County, we have hope that the current generation of adults will take the lead and move us forward. But we also realize that the very best chance we have lies with the next generation.
Let’s face facts, whether it’s smoking, eating the wrong foods or general sloth, most of us adults have developed enough bad habits for a lifetime. And while dumping those habits is far from impossible, it would be a lot easier if we had never started.
That’s where young people come in. Unlike us, they have not had a lifetime to develop bad habits. On top of that, they are far better informed about the health risks associated with things like tobacco and excessive sugars. Top that off with their enthusiasm, and you have a group that can really affect change in the community.
Activate Allen County is betting on that. This fall, Activate will host a Healthy Living Conference for youth. The North Carolina group Youth Empowered Solutions will be in town to train youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change.
YES! engages young people in work that challenges them to develop skills, gain critical awareness, and participate in opportunities that are necessary for creating community change. They use other young people to lead the process. And we all know kids are much more likely to listen to other kids than adults.
Before any of that happens, we do need some adults to help recruit and train local young people for the event. Activate Allen County is now recruiting adult leaders — we’re calling them champions — to help mobilize youth around the issues of Tobacco Prevention, Real Food and Active Living. This training will also include tactics and strategies to recruit and retain youth for these advocacy efforts.
Adult champions will need to commit to attending an adult leader training in August as well as the youth training on Sept. 25. They will also be asked to follow-up with the youth trainers one month, two months and one year after training so we can keep track of how successful the program has been.
Any young people — high school or college age — who want to participate, will need to commit to attending that youth training in September as well as to working with the adult leaders to create and implement an advocacy plan within their schools in one of the three areas mentioned above.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming an adult champion or attending the youth training, please contact Cheri Mitchell at Activate Allen County either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 419-221-5035.