Summer is here! The school semester might be ending or over for you, but that doesn't mean prevention has to stop for the season. Whether you're spending the summer relaxing and enjoying your free time or you're working with organizations like Youth Advisory Boards/Councils and other local prevention groups, summer can offer a lot of opportunities for prevention progress.
Of course, the first summer prevention programming event you can add to your calendar is the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute! CGTI offers a week full of skill building, education development and networking for student leaders. Throughout the week of our July conference, students can engage in workshops and keynotes about prevention, mental health, future readiness, goal setting and more. In both large and small groups, there is time to process information, share ideas, plan for the upcoming semester and exchange thoughts on community prevention efforts. This is a great way for Action Teams to connect before the school year begins again in August, to set intentions and brainstorm big, new ideas. CGTI is also great for individuals, Youth Advisory Councils/Boards and local organizations with similar missions. If you are looking for prevention programming to include this season or a way to bridge between semesters, CGTI offers the perfect mid-summer event to keep us connected to purpose and passion. Registration is open at cg-ti.org/summer-conference and we do have scholarships available!
If your Action Team has paused or slowed programming for the summer, now is a great time to brainstorm for the upcoming school year by getting out and about in your community and observing! The minute details that might just seem like a part of the fabric of everyday life in your town - like gambling advertisements at gas stations or alcohol promotions for summer celebrations - are things you can keep in mind to address when you return with your peers. By understanding what is happening in your community year-round, you can make plans that foster longevity and remain effective and efficient outside your programming schedule. This is also a great time to see what resources your community offers - where can youth go, especially during the summer when teachers, school counselors, etc., might not be available to them to learn about mental health, substance use prevention, and giving back? If you want to make sure that you're taking part in these iniatives during all seasons, this is a great time to research what Youth Advisory Boards/Councils or coalitions might be doing work in your town! Are there other prevention programs or youth groups that have similar missions and goals that you work on during the fall, winter and spring at school?
If you are already a part of some of these programs, what specifically during the summer needs attention? What information or programming might youth miss out on in the summer when there isn't as much structure, schedule or school? How can you share this information with them? As well, what issues do we see that present specifically during the summer - think about holidays that focus on alcohol consumption, easy access to substances when youth are home when adults may not be for longer periods of time, etc.
If you're looking for more individual prevention programming during the summer, this might be a great time to look at webinars, previously recorded sessions on Youtube or for content from speakers you've previously seen at prevention events like CGTI to learn more about the field in your down time! Websites like SAMHSA, NAMI, NIDA and more, have information on general substance use prevention and education too!
Overall, prevention programming doesn't have to pause for the Summer because school does - each season provides us with different ways to engage, educate and grow as individuals and with our communities at large.