Chandler Bagwell of Newport News and TaNiya Bellamy of Portsmouth will serve as interns for Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s (ABC) 39th annual Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP). Bagwell and Bellamy, who have both participated in YADAPP for four years, are eager to help guide others through the year-long program that has profoundly impacted their lives.
“YADAPP has taught me that I don't need substances to enjoy life and have fun. Being a college student, it's easy to get influenced by your surroundings, but I don't engage in those things,” said Bagwell, a student at James Madison University in Harrisonburg.
Bellamy pointed to leadership skills gained as a YADAPP participant as being critical to her development. “I am a better leader because of the lessons and experiences I gained from YADAPP,” she said. “I honestly don’t remember the shy, awkward girl that attended YADAPP as a high schooler. The leadership skills, lessons I’ve learned and amazing community of friends have all blossomed because of my involvement and belief in YADAPP.”
The annual program begins with a kickoff conference which will be held July 17-21 at Longwood University in Farmville. Participation requires registration of a team of four high school students 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, 2023, and offers the discounted enrollment rate of $500 per team ($100 per person) until April 30, when the price increases to $600 per team until the June 1 enrollment deadline. This fee includes all conference materials, as well as yearlong coaching and support for Adult Sponsors as they aid teams in implementing their STAN Plans.
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 and professional development hours. Law enforcement officers are eligible for partial in-service credits through the Department of Criminal Justice Services.
“YADAPP is instrumental in the lives of Virginia youth and it’s gratifying to see participants 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 director.
High school students who participate in the YADAPP kick-off conference can network with young leaders like Bagwell and Bellamy, 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.