Through the three foundations of our program, Leadership, Healthy Choices and Positive Change, youth will leave feeling inspired and able to create an impact in their communities and in their own lives!
Our events are planned to offer a wide range of experiences and opportunities to our youth in an engaging and invigorating format.
Throughout our conferences, youth will work on Leadership at three levels: in small group meetings, in workshops and general sessions, and in large group activities. In small group meetings, like Discussion Groups and Action Planning, youth will work with peers on pre-selected games, activities as well as work through their own community action planning to build up their leadership tool boxes with skills like facilitation, communication, goal setting, critical thinking, data analysis and decision making. In Workshops and General Sessions, youth will have the chance to work with and hear from speakers from around the world on topics including substance use prevention, mental health, leadership styles, and more. In large group activities, youth will get the chance to work on team building with their peers, have fun and step out of their comfort zones. This range of levels of leadership exploration allows for our youth leaders to experience and enhance their strengths, identity and develop new areas of growth, and understand what makes them them!
Every element of our programming, from small groups to large keynotes and in between, is based on the idea of teaching youth how to make healthy choices. Not only does the Teen Institute strongly focus on substance use prevention and mental health awareness, but also on cultivating healthy relationships, bullying prevention, positive peer interaction, social emotional learning, future readiness, goal setting and more. By pre-selecting purposeful activities, workshops, team building exercises and more, we give our youth the chance to explore how critical thinking and decision making can have both long and short term effects. Debriefing is also a large portion of our process - this allows youth and adults to work together to come to individual and group conclusions on how to best live healthy lives and create those opportunities in your community for all.
The culmination of our work and our programming is our Action Planning. Individuals and Action Teams work each day throughout our conferences to identify and address issues in their communities to create a lasting positive impact. Youth and adults from the same schools, organizations and geographical locations work together to analyze data from the Youth Illinois Survey and compare with what challenges they may be seeing day to day. Using this data, they use the five-step Strategic Prevention Framework to create an Action Plan to be implemented throughout the school year. When Teams return to CGTI, they are able to evaluate those plans and work to enhance those plans or create new ones based off the results. The work our youth do each day in other groups, building skills, resources and passion, are the foundations for what they will do when they return to their communities! Over the last five decades our Action Teams have raised awareness, hosted events, fundraised, encouraged and increased prevention and awareness and more!