Scott County EMPOWER youth leaders represented Indiana at the National 4-H Summit for Healthy Living on February 14, 2021. More than 560 participants attended this virtual conference from 34 states, the U.S. Territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and three military installations, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Scott County is one of the 43 communities engaged in the Well Connected Communities (WCC). WCC is a national health and well-being initiative of the Cooperative Extension System—in partnership with National 4-H Council and support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)—that is working to ensure that life-long health and well-being are within everyone’s reach. Scott County’s youth coalition, Scott County EMPOWER, was represented at the summit by Nick Henderson and Ella Rahe of Austin High School and Johnathon Perkinson and Logan Weilbaker of Scottsburg High School. Henderson, Perkinson, Rahe, and Weilbaker presented on Youth as Targets of the Alcohol and Tobacco Industries’ Advertising. Their group participated in two separate sessions during the summit and interacted with the attendees by answering questions and providing examples of youth activities for building resilience. Their work was also a part of the virtual Summit Showcase, which highlighted successful youth programs and resources to help other communities develop health programs.
Ella Rahe remarked that she felt the sessions she presented in helped attendees understand what’s going on in our world; how youth overlook how companies fool us in false advertising and how youth are targeted in these advertisements.
Johnathan Perkinson commented that It was a great experience to be able to speak in front of people from across the United States about healthy living from a youth’s perspective. “It was interesting to see how our presentation influenced the youth to ask questions about what EMPOWER is doing in order to help them learn about ways to influence the youth in their own communities in a positive and beneficial way.”
JoAnne Leatherman, WCC Youth and Adult Volunteer Lead, praised the Scott County EMPOWER youth. “Scott County EMPOWER is a fine example of what youth leadership can do to implement positive health changes in their community, and they have been working effectively despite the effects of COVID shutdowns,” Leatherman said. “To learn more about the youth coalition’s work, you can watch their remarkable videos about building youth resilience at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFHwSNs9zKp1_Ueqgb8BDOQ/videos.”
Scott County EMPOWER is a youth-driven coalition that includes participation from both Scott County school districts. Founded by Scott County youth who want to improve their community’s prevention work, they believe that healthy, safe, drug-free lives can be encouraged with the right tools. They are working with their local adult coalition CEASe (Coalition to Eliminate the Abuse of Substances). Learn more about their collaborative work at https://sccease.org/empower/ or http://thrivinginscottcounty.com.