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Letter: Students encourage good decisions

Earlier this summer, we as members of We Decide had the privilege to travel to Nashville, Tenn., to attend the National Youth Leadership Initiative.

Four students from Park Rapids, two from Nevis and two from Laporte represented Hubbard County. We attended seminars and learned how to prevent underage drinking in Hubbard County while also being youth led and adult guided.

We are very excited to use what we learned to better our community. We were among 400 other students from coalitions nationwide. Through intense training, we learned the importance and necessary traits in being a leader. These traits are character, vision, determination, integrity, altruism, courage and collaboration.

One of the most important aspects we learned all week was the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). It includes five steps: assessment, capacity, planning, implementation and evaluation, with cultural competence being active throughout the entire process. Cultural Competency is the ability to accept and acknowledge people of different cultural groups to achieve a common goal. Each step is vital to transform Hubbard County into a place that supports its youth with alcohol-free opportunities. While in Nashville, we managed to successfully coordinate the first three steps of the SPF.

Our first task was to create an accurate problem statement describing the conflict in our community. We decided the problem was underage drinking in Hubbard County. We also determined one of the risk factors or root causes of underage drinking in Hubbard County was its availability to teens. The next step was to explain what availability looks like in our community. This is also known as a local condition. Our local condition for Hubbard County is that teens (grades 7-12) are obtaining alcohol from their homes.

The final step that we covered was to develop seven different interventions or actions to help prevent our problem statement which is underage drinking in Hubbard County.

We again are very excited to be involved in such an amazing program such as We Decide and are anxious to make an impact in our community.

We Decide will also be attending many local activities such as sporting events and parades. Also look for advertising on billboards around the county.

In the end this was a very rewarding experience that will have a significant impact on our community through our continued efforts.

Abby Fischer and Calvin Bateman

Park Rapids