In late July, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) launched its 31st annual Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP), a year-long leadership program that begins with an exciting week of workshops and team building at Longwood University in Farmville. The kick-off event features teens mentoring teens with guidance about how to keep their schools and communities alcohol and drug free.
Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, an avid volunteer who is passionate about making smart choices and building healthy communities, delivered the opening remarks underscoring the importance of youth leadership, service and pride in community. “I am a mom of five children myself - two out of college, one in college, and a 15 year old and a 13 year old - so this is very personal to me,” she said.
YADAPP attracts hundreds of motivated young adult leaders from across the state, with attendance at 435 this year. Teams of four student leaders, each accompanied by an adult sponsor, convened for five days of workshops, strategic planning, speakers, networking and building excitement around being drug and alcohol free student leaders. Participants worked with trained youth leaders knowledgeable about today’s issues, leadership development and team building. All youth leaders have participated in previous YADAPP programs.
Despite positive trends, YADAPP participants were reminded that Virginia teens are still at risk. The number of young people killed annually in alcohol-related crashes has been reduced by half and the prevalence of underage alcohol has declined since the 80s, yet binge drinking, drug use and other increased risk behaviors still negatively impact young adults’ future goals. “That’s why we need your leadership and courage today more than ever,” one adult sponsor commented in her evaluation of the program. “The work that you will do this week and the plans that you will take with you to your schools and communities is important and lifesaving.”
Participants brainstormed issues facing teens in their schools and communities and created plans to deter those high-risk behaviors during the upcoming school year. The objective of the YADAPP experience is to have each team develop a Strategies To Act Now (STAN) prevention plan, a written action plan that promotes prevention of substance use within their own schools and communities.
Since its inception, YADAPP has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 students from 440 Virginia high schools and community organizations across the state. School administrators interested in instituting prevention programs at their schools and parents and young adults who want to create a team for next year’s YADAPP are encouraged to visit www.yadapp.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.8 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 351 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 16,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now celebrating its 80th anniversary, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
Young Adult Leadership Conference Yields Nearly 80 Strategic Plans for Safer Communities