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YADAPP Intern from West Point

January 23, 2020

News Release Contact:

Valerie Hubbard - (804) 204-2327
Email: [email protected]

West Point Young Adult Chosen for Leadership Role In Student-led Prevention Program

West Point native MacKenzie Hilton can sum up her experience with the Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP) in one word: “unforgettable.” The West Point High School graduate, now a student at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, will serve as one of four interns for the annual program in 2020. She has participated in YADAPP for four years and wants to help guide others through the year-long program that has had a profound impact on her life.

“It feels so good connecting with people my age who are passionate about making a difference. The relationships everyone develops together are unimaginable,” said Hilton.

The annual program begins with a kick-off conference that will be held July 13-17 at Longwood University in Farmville. Participation requires enrollment of a team of four student leaders and one adult sponsor. During the conference, students attend topical workshops, hear from well-known motivational speakers, learn peer leadership and prevention best practices, and develop a Strategies To Act Now (STAN) Plan to address substance use among their peers. Teams compete for $250 mini-grants and the $500 Wheeler Award to help fund their prevention efforts.

Early enrollment, which opens March 1, costs $500 per team ($100 per person) until April 30. The price then increases to $600 per team until the June 1 enrollment deadline. The fee includes lodging, meals and materials during the conference, as well as year-long coaching and support for adult sponsors as they aid their team in implementing their STAN Plan throughout the school year.

During the kick-off conference, adult sponsors participate in their own track. They receive resources and training on topics that will help them support their team. Adult sponsors are eligible for continuing education units. Law enforcement officers are eligible for partial in-service credits through Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services.

“It is exciting to see students involved in YADAPP grow and develop over the years to have increased knowledge of substance use prevention, increased confidence and increased commitment to staying substance free,” said Katie Crumble, Virginia ABC Education and Prevention manager.   

High school students who attend the YADAPP kick-off conference have the opportunity to network with young leaders like Hilton, who have participated in previous conferences. Interns begin as YADAPP participants and work their way through three levels of peer leadership to become conference leaders. Interns are selected the year prior to the conference and are responsible for planning aspects of the conference including training younger youth staff members who lead conference participants throughout the week and facilitate STAN Plan development. For more information, please contact the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority at (804) 977-7740 or visit www.yadapp.com.


The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $2.2 billion to the general fund in the last five years. Virginia ABC currently operates 386 state stores, and provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 18,000 ABC licensed establishments. Now marking its 86th year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its vision of bringing good spirits and excellent service to Virginia.

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  • YADAPP Intern from West Point