Creating a safe and empowering environment for youth

<I>SUSAN SPENCE photo</I><BR>Steve McPhail speaks as school board member Kim Patten looks on.

ILWACO - On April 30 and May 21 dozens of community adults and youth attended Town Hall Meetings which focused on the convening question: "How can we, as a community, collaborate with our youth to create an empowering and safe environment for all?" The evenings' activities were facilitated by Nanci Main, a local citizen who has had extensive training and experience in facilitating Open Space Forums.

Preceding the Open Space Forum, the community was invited to a dinner prepared by the Beach House Catering Company and a time for good fellowship was had by all. These meetings have been sponsored by grants and donations from RUaD (Washington's Reduction of Underage Drinking), the Pacific County Health Department, Ocean Beach Schools, Readiness to Learn Grant and the South Pacific County Community Network.

The following is a brief description of their process and how they addressed their questions/topics/concerns/passions. Details about other discussions were published last week.

Session Topic: Church/Faith CollaborationConvener: Jarrett Johnson

E-mail: obpres@willapabay.org - Phone 244-9176

Discussion Highlights:

? Iindividual churches have a large number of students going to their youth groups - lots of small youth groups (concerned about not making a big impact

? Solution: Young Life can bring all of those youth groups together

? Explanation of Young Life

? What are some "untapped" resources?

-Adults coming to the school with information

? How do we combine North End and South End?

? Talk about things we are lacking:

-Committee members

-More leaders

? High school students are impacting middle school students in a negative way - NEED to make changes that are positive

? Combining high school and middle school youth groups

? Having club for middle school students

Session Topic: Community Apprenticeship Programs and Bringing the

Retired Community and Kids TogetherConvener: Karyn Veland, Steve McPhail

E-mail: karyn.veland@ocean.k12.wa.us Phone: 665-3001

Scribe: Karyn Veland

Participants: Karyn, Steve, Brad Weatherby

Discussion Highlights and Themes:

? Fire cadet program already exists. First year six students seem to be a huge success.

? Steve McPhail is a local contractor. Glad to use students, needs CAD person, would create site projects and oversee.

? Brad pointed out that the district fire company benefits also from program. Sell the idea as a two way street. Policies needed to allow kids out in the community.

? Kids are bored with school. This is a "hook" to keep them involved. "Idle hands are the devil's workplace."

? Need a person whose job it is to act as clearinghouse to hook-up.

? It's a two way street (these types of alliances) and everybody benefits, not just the kids.

Session Topic: Community Center with Pool and SkateboardsConvener: Josh Berteaux

Phone: 642-8840

Scribe: Megan Clark

Participants: Tyleah, Nick, Josh, Zack, Ahnah, Megan, Cindy

Discussion Highlights and Themes:

? Internet access

? Free swim

? More events on the beach:

-Volleyball tourney

-Safer beach (from police)

-Drug and alcohol prevention

-Bon fire

? Partying is bad

? Community center as a hangout place (maybe use part of the school as community center place)

? Dune racing

Session Topic: Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco and Community Practices and Changing NormsConvener: Katie Lindstrom and Chris

Scribe: Ardell

Participants: Kristina, Pearle, Melinda, Ardell, Sonia, Chris, Katie, Sarah

Discussion Highlights and Themes:

? Change visual messages our community gives to a positive image.

? Bus stops - Police beat - (citizens can send report to law enforcement about underage smoking and expect action)

? Enforce the laws that exist to have some consequences

? Emphasize the positive

? Positive stories from kids who have made positive choices instead of negative in spite of their home environment

? Highlight the 80 percent making the choice not to smoke, drink, etc., using newspaper articles, posters and smoke-free businesses

? Community group ad, "these businesses don't sell tobacco or alcohol to minors"

? Pass ordinances encouraging businesses to watch product placement-i.e. Don't put alcohol or tobacco in eye level of kids.

? Editorials, letters to the editor talking about marketing the positive

? Peer leadership taking the positive messages to other kids

? Social Norms - OBEF - alcohol involved? Community practice. Avoid generalizations. We need to look IN THE MIRROR OURSELVES.

Session Topic: Expanding the Forum Beyond This RoomConvener: Patrick

Scribe: Brenda Harrison

Participants: Kim Patten, Margaret Harshfield

Discussion Highlights and Themes:

? Have these meetings in different places on the peninsula

? We have to go where they are

? "Parent of the Night" program

? Seniors in high school could be mentors

? Multiple venues

? Multiple personalities (participants)

Session topic: Kids and Adults

in the Out of DoorsConvener: Cate Gable

Scribe: Bette Lu

Participants: Sue Freese, Cynthia Jones, Bette Lu, Cate Gable

Discussion Highlights/Themes:

? Small community but don't know kids - How to connect?

? Power of storytelling in old way (stories from nature)

? Volunteer activities (hikes) on school Web site

? Outdoor Clubs

? Wilderness Skills

? Espy Environmental warming contest (hard to read this?)

? No child left inside

Specific Action Items:

? Contact Julie Tennis

? Coordinate Summer Environmental Education Program

? w/art/writing

? Elements of ROP

? lupe@reachone.com (Bette Lu)

? Freese@Willapabay.org - Sue Freese

What resources do we already have in our community to deal with this issue?

? Julie Tennis, Park Ranger - Environmental Educator

? "Making a difference is schools"

? Coyote Trails (Bud Ashland) Sue/Kristi Freese (May 31 to June 16)

? 4-H Rites of Passage for Youth (WSU)

? Tom Brown, Jr. (Tracha School) grandfather

? Black Lake

? Cape Disappointment

What resources do we need? ACTION

? Julie Tennis/talk to Blu Krame (?)

? Meeting Action Team - June 7 to 16 John DuCharme, Ocean Beach School District - link with Marc Simmons, Principal

"Even though we are a small town, the greatest resource we have is people!"

Session Topic: School/Inter-Agency Collaboration and How to Achieve Faster Visible ChangesConvener: Geri Marcus

Scribe: Rosanne McPhail

Participants: Kim Nuesse, John Didion, Tracy Gardner, Jaymi Kaino., Elleigh Kaino, Dana Clark, Ron Clark, Megan Clark, Britta , Jon Ducharme, Geri Marcus, Rosanne McPhail, Grace McPhail, Noelle McPhail, Mary Goelz.

Discussion Highlights:

? Tangible change

? Resources are parents willing to step up

? more sense of total community

? Use things together

-Matt Winters, Law Enforcement, Willapa Behavioral Health, School District

? Frustrations of asking questions with schools when no one has the answer.

? Lack of collaboration for simple things

? Need to use resources that we have wisely

? Things happening "in house" that could be supported by other agencies and other agencies should be involved

? PACNET start on street level drugs and got bigger-good partnerships and insight.

? KEEP IT SIMPLE!

? Lack of knowledge and follow through with working with the school staff

? Follow process from teacher to principal to superintendent to board

? In all agencies

? In the big picture "Main Idea"

- Get leads of agencies together and look at funding bases differently, how can we work together for the good of all

? Look at getting out of silos

? Youth are being underserved in our county for drug and alcohol treatment - one youth in North County group, four youths in South County drug and alcohol group

? Problems with discipline in schools for kid - no control this year. Problem is perceived as bigger than it has ever been in the past. Where do we start with consequences?

? Simple answer - experiences such as DARE

? START in preschool so everyone is on same page and it is consistent across all schools

? HOW? Do we go to the superintendent or the school board?

? Is it backwards - policy does not change behavior. Behavior changes with teachers engaged with the parents.

? Structure

-School has to be safe and we have to look at the community not just the schools.

? WHO is watching the kids?

? School resource officer? Just the presence

? District Investment- train volunteers and have communication devices

-Go to school board?

? WHAT IS MISSION?

? Reward positive kids, peer counseling and good role models, high school counselor that grades with goals

? DAILY COMMUNICATION

? School to convene meetings with agency heads to come up with issues and follow up.

? Increase communication agencies!

? Who needs to come together?

? Some things we see in other systems. We have a very different community than several years ago with mental health and addiction issues

? Partner with schools Willapa Behavioral Health comes in a little bit right now. Increase partnership and presence with Mental Health professionals!

RESOURCES WE HAVE: PARENTS

RESOURCES WE NEED? MORE OF A SENSE OF LARGER COMMUNITY

Session Topic: Use of Building Ilwaco 7-12Convener: Marc Simmons

Scribe: Deb Hamilton

Participants: Connie Owen, Kelly Jacobsen, Don Stotts, Debbie Stotts, Rona, Tabatha, Marc Simmons

Discussion Highlights and Themes:

? Building is a potential space

? Energy monster-multi-youth

? Community clubs - Boys and Girls clubs

? District not cost to us, how to use efficiently and productively

? Adults and youth together as a buddy system and role models

? Kitchen and community center, fourth to sixth graders

? Peninsula Learns 21st cent grant

? Transit help talk

? Poverty/lack of resources for children and parents

? State has funds for transportation (district just wants the normal costs covered)

? Root problem is transportation, private deal

? Sticker is for free kids riding

? Open easily during breaks

? Weekend activities

? Families units have activities together

? Costs can be low enough for people to come to it

? common interest for youth and children are:

- cooking

- homework help

- art, drama, music

- computer labs

- fitness gym

- boxing

- chess

- shop

- home economics

- peninsula players

- cafeteria may be available as an indoor covered space

- seasonal programs day and night

- game nights

- bring competition to our area

- teach ipods

- community workshops.

Session Topic: Youth Depression and Thoughts of SuicideConvener: Claudette Terry

Phone: 665- 5219

Scribe: Michael Robinson

Participants: Claudette Terry, Michael Robinson

Discussion Highlights and Themes:

? Breaking the stigma

? Resources are at Willapa Counseling

? Gain the trust of teens to help friends and family

? 24-hour hotline (midnight to 6 a.m.)

? Make access known to help kids and families

? What are the warning signs parents need to know to be aware

? 24-hour center for face-to-face contact when in crisis

? Periodic meetings to remind folks of resources

? HELP NEEDS TO BE THERE!!

Discussion

? What can we do to help siblings?

? What can friends and community do to support families and survivors?

? Addressing the guilt (like the only survivor of an airplane crash)

? Specific items

? Survivors and family members could be used as resources and what are the resources for them.

? Suicide support group on the peninsula

? Training youth leaders to help pick up the subtle hints

? Sponsor a "dance-a-thon" or "walk-for-life" for awareness

Invitations for Continued ActionPeople willing to step forward for their community and its youth

1. Another meeting about following through with changes

Grace McPhail & Elleigh Kaino

2. Agency Collaboration and School Programs

Ron & Dana Clark

360-783-2800

3. Ideas for "parents of the night" program

Pat Schenk

4. Interested in agency collaboration and school partnerships with agencies

Geri Marcus

5. Using Ilwaco high school or another building as a community center

Debbie Stotts

642-3464

6. A coordinator to link students with vocational aptitude with community members who could train and use their service.

Steve McPhail

7. Using school building as resource

Don Stotts

360-783-2585

8. Apprenticeships/retired folks willing to connect

Karyn Veland

9. Drug dog/ school resource officer

(Proposed topic)

ConclusionAt the conclusion of the meeting, the microphone was passed around the circle, Nanci asked the group to give a short statement as to how they felt about the evening's activities/event. The following is a "snippet" of the individual's responses.

? People give of their time; show it

? Everyone has a common goal

? Good to hear what the kids had to say

? Thank you, Nanci

? Inspiration to keep it going on - continue to talk

? Concrete things we can do - next few weeks

? No negative ideas - we can do that!

? Youth enthusiasm

? Sincere ideas - want to do something

? Synergy - resources available

? Impressed with kids coming up first

? Group ideas

? People as resources

? Inspired by the youth

? Glad to see adults supporting youth

? Keep doing this -like something to do

? Great to see so many people here

? New people

? Practical ideas

? Experience positive

? Exciting to hear people speak their passions

? Keep at it - we can do this!

? Bringing individual citizens closer to the process - collective knowledge = change

? Everyone had respect for ideas (youth)

? School discipline on way to being better (youth)

? More parent involvement in school (youth)

? Passion was evident - people stayed - followed the process through

? Vast variety of people - kids involved

? Diversity in the room - Energy and Love

? Great ideas - Great turnout

? Frank and open topics

? Youth/iceberg - kids want parents and still have their space - going to have to hang in there!

? Awesome to see people here who want to see change

? Everyone keep up the energy!

? I worked with the youth and was inspired by the kids making plans - they are committed to the projects and ideas they posed

? Enthusiasm and commitment to youth - be prepared as we turn things around

? Excited about the passion

? So many people working together for the same goal - collaboration is power!

? Concrete ideas

? Looking at visual images we project

? OUR community is US!

? Positive energy

? Inspired with everything (Youth)

? Everyone here to work hard to make the community a better place (Youth)

? Adults hear the kids (Youth)

? Creative, unique ideas (Youth)

? Saw small steps we can take right now

? General agreement - change happens by showing up

? I'm not in this alone - THESE ARE OUR KIDS!

? Compassion and commitment

? New faces

? Hope, willingness to make things better for the future

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