West Point native MacKenzie Hilton, now a student at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, will serve as one of four interns for Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s (ABC) 38th annual Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP). She has participated in YADAPP for six years and wants to help guide others through the year-long program that has profoundly impacted her life.
“YADAPP has opened my eyes to see how educating and working with one small group of people can impact people statewide. It has also been an opportunity for me to grow as a leader and team member,” said Hilton.
This year’s program begins with a kick-off conference which will be held virtually July 11–14 using an online platform. Participation requires the registration of a team of four high school student participants and one adult sponsor. During the conference, students attend topical workshops facilitated by peer leaders, 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 to use as seed money for their STAN Plan and the $500 Wheeler Award to sustain their continued prevention efforts.
Early enrollment opens April 1, 2022, and offers the discounted enrollment rate of $100 per team ($20 per person) until April 30. The price then increases to $125 per team until the June 1 enrollment deadline. The fee includes conference materials, as well as year-long coaching and support for adult sponsors as they aid their teams in implementing its 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 participate in the YADAPP kick-off conference can 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 $2.6 billion to the general fund in the last five years. Virginia ABC currently operates 396 state stores and provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees approximately 19,000 ABC licensed establishments. Now marking its 88th year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its vision of bringing good spirits and excellent service to Virginia.