Students to start county-wide teen institute
Teens nowadays have more stressors than ever. From anxiety about school shootings to getting accepted to the best colleges, most teens are stressed about something, which can lead to substance abuse.
ix local high school students visited Heidelberg University in Tiffin for five days last month to learn how to be better leaders and peers. This week, they brought what they learned back to figure how to make it work locally.
Suzy Zumwalde, placement coordinator for Building Bridges to Careers in Marietta, met in the spring with Hilles Hughes, deputy director of the Washington County Behavioral Health Board, and found out about the Ohio Teen Institute.
“It’s a week-long camp with an emphasis on leadership with high school students, and kind of addressing mental health and substance abuse,” Zumwalde said. “So we took six kids and three adults up there, with funding from the Behavioral Health board, and spent five days up there.”
She said the experience was amazing and the group intended to come back to Washington County to implement what they learned locally.
Maria Pfaff, 17, of Marietta was one of the students participating in the camp.
“(I’m) coming here and seeing there are people who have a big idea and can make it work,” she said of what she’s learned. “It’s almost inspiring for us because we have a big idea that we’re trying to start and it’s nice to see that other people have done it, so we can do it too. In the fall, we want to start a (Teen Institute) group at our school and maybe in the future we can start one at the middle school as well.”
She said she would like to bring back the idea that the group is very inclusive to all and will look out for everybody’s issues.
“And be accepting and judge-free,” added Gretchen Lankford, 16, of Marietta.
“It has two focuses,” Zumwalde said of the camp. “The first focus is prevention, and addressing issues at the schools, but we also want to focus on helping the kids develop career pathways for those who are interested in pursuing this as a career with counseling and working with mental health issues.”
Hughes said there are a lot of career pathways available for students interested in behavioral health.
“Those include case management, social work, psychology and counseling,” she said. “Academic preparation for these careers ranges from high school diplomas to an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree and beyond.”
She said even if the students choose not to go into the behavioral heath field, the skills they learn will still be important.View Full Article