Youth Advocates attend GTI Conference

Youth Advocacy Board has been revolutionizing the way Walton County deals with local teen issues for years. Alisha Hope was this past year’s YAB Director who worked with YAB members to organize a Prom anti-drinking sticker release. Hope commented last fall that “-we will be campaigning for students to make healthy decisions for Prom. The plan is to partner with local florists and put sticker reminders on corsage and boutonniere boxes.” This plan worked very well and according to Hope’s plan. Hope has since left her YAB Director position and is now working outside of the county. However, teens in YAB have not stopped stirring up ideas for this coming school year to raise awareness on issues. YAB annually attends the Georgia Teen Institute (GTI) conference at Oxford Emory College to work on new developments while also learning valuable leadership skills.

Katie Galbreath and Christina Hageman traveled to Oxford College this past June to do just that at GTI. According to Galbreath, the pair “-spent 4 days learning about leadership and how we can “Shine On” in our communities. We had lots of guest speakers and team building games. Also, time was set aside for each organization that participated to develop a plan to address a problem in their community, such as underage drinking, with the help of youth leaders.”

Galbreath and Hageman developed a plan to host a “Positivity 5k” this upcoming school year to raise awareness on the many mental illnesses that infect modern society.

“We plan to have booths set up by local organizations and vendors. We hope to leave everyone with a new mindset and to persuade others to spread positivity, love, and support.” Galbreath and Hageman have worked hard over the past days to begin a basic strategy of how to execute this 5k race.

Christina Hageman (left) and Katie Galbreath (right) introduce their plans to spread positivity at the GTI Conference

Galbreath and Hageman didn’t spend the whole week boring over ideas, though; they also had fun.

“I also enjoyed some of the various teachers and workshops where we learned more about social justice and how our attitudes can make all the difference. Team building games were also very fun to be a part of,” Galbreath said.

The pair have high hopes that their “Positivity 5k” will be warmly welcomed by other members when they present it in August. Joining YAB in August will also be the new YAB Director, Sarah Stokes. Galbreath says she is very fortunate to have been able to attend such a valuable experience:

“It’s cool that we were able to be in charge of making the decisions for something so important,” she said.

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