Hi Folks. Here are the notes from the meeting at Oriole 9. It was very productive in my opinion, but my focus is on Youth Empowerment and growing as a community to expand support in time when we are suffering from the symptoms of disconnection.
Yes, we have a drug problem. but we have an even deeper problem as a community, when our kids are lacking in support for their creative outlet. Now, this is truly in appearance only, as I am very aware of many who are in direct support of our young people, and I want to magnify those voices and actions.
There are many who are focused on the substance abuse issues, and I am here to support those actions in any way that I can. But/And my commitment of time and energy must continue as directed, which, my instinct tells me must remain focused on lifting our young people toward their purpose, creativity and entrepreneurship.
I offer these notes to you all, and you may do with them as you wish. I will continue to work on this list, as well as expand it, and reach to meet these incredible forces with opportunity to manifest their desires hopes and dreams for a better present and future.
The recent article in the Woodstock times
seemed to reflect the course of local action, which is focus directly on substance abuse and dealing with those symptoms. The adults in our community focused in this way seem to feel they have the answers, and will be continuing to act on them. Bravo!
I am going to continue to focus on the kids
. As you can see, (If you read the article) even in the reporting of the more recent town hall meeting, my call for the voice of the youth and the response, was misrepresented and perhaps even annoying to the writer. What she failed to note was that after several calls for the youth voice, every time, what followed was adults who felt their voice was more important at the time. My mention of the lack of trust in the room was not in response to a few empty seconds, but following several attempts to give them the floor only to be usurped by people who felt their questions were more important at the time. When the kids did finally begin to speak, the meeting was approaching the third hour of the meeting.
All of this to say that my focus is best to remain where it has been for the past year, which is on local, community resources for young people to step up, find mentorship and grow their leadership. It is best I got.
Earth Guardians New York will be rolling out some workshops, screenings, music events and more as the winter progresses. My partner in Direction, Aidan Ferris is on the way to Paris to participate in an Earth Guardians delegation, and when she returns, we will hit the ground running. Stay tuned.
***Just to note, Onteora recently spent $7500 on a guest speaker who talked about drugs and their impact on his career. I can’t say if anyone believes it was worth the cost, but if they have a budget as such, I believe the $7500 it would cost OCS in this case, would be a valuable investment. Key words here: Comprehensive, full service, followup. You decide.
Below is the list from the first meeting and a few notes on the Town Hall meeting this past monday.
To me, it was very clear that the meeting we participated in at Oriole 9 was not only valuable, but necessary, specifically because we did provide a platform where the young people present felt safe to express themselves. These meetings will continue.
There are many people specifically discussing Substance Abuse, and there is a need for different approaches… All hands on deck is a GOOD thing!
But for me, It is most important that I focus my attention on Solutionary action rather than reaction to dis-ease.
NOTES FROM LAST MEETING:
- Lila Bacon is an Alateen Sponsor, and would like to see Al-ateen available to students in school , a youth forum for Kids to have an avenue to talk to others about substance abuse, their own and family concerns
- Route 212 Coalition—In the meeting on Monday, the announcement was made that there is a coalition forming to support our young people in the struggle with substance abuse. There will surely be ways to connect with them in the future. This is a peer driven movement, the organizers are in their mid twenties. They are talking about things like, meetings, support groups, Anonymous taxi service, Text hotlines etc… There is a Doodle Poll happening right now to determine a meeting time. If you would like to connect with them, and join the meeting, go to this link and click on all of your avails that match their requests… Its easy! Check it out because we will be using this platform in the future as well. To join this amazing task force, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUTH VOICE AS HEARD AT OUR MEETING LAST WEEK:
RELATED TO HOME AND FAMILY:
- Community Of Supportive Peers is Needed—No Family connections in school or at home for many kids… Not Enough Support at home. Not always support amongst Peers. Some examples given: Boy scouts, Wayfinders, Paul Green Rock Academy, Earth Guardians
- Parents, what is in your medicine cabinet?
- Do your kids feel safe to talk to you about their concerns?
GENERAL NEEDS AND CONCERNS:
- OCS is known to have a bigger drug problem than Kingston school. One person has experienced hesitancy, from KHS students, to relate to OCS Kids in a knee jerk reaction to the OCS reputation for being drug infested.
- Kids willing to hook others for their own habitual gain
- People will leave the scene of an overdose and not call 911 or the cops, leaving the person in trouble to die
- Compartmentalization is practice, boxed too early, example: Youth Center goers are often stigmatized as druggies
- “townie” stigma sets the course who many, especially the defiant ones who tend to embody what they rebel against.
- “This community’s ignorance about the substance abuse is a set up”
- Labeling Not honors… then you are a loser.
- Separation within the districts
- Feel that classes that focus on the scientific angle should be offered
- Stand for personal safety
- “Why is it that in 9th grade, I can be sold on a lie by my herb dealer, that percoset is no more dangerous than marijuana, and not know the truth until I am already hooked?” —Asked at Monday’s Town Hall meeting
- (*NOTE, THIS IS A CLEAR INDICATOR THAT OUR KIDS ARE NOT GETTING EDUCATED EARLY ENOUGH!!!)
- “I feel safer in the street than in my parent’s home
- Elementary school is NOT too young for substance abuse prevention “Keep that sixth grader from becoming the next twelfth grade drug lord”
- DRUGS IN THE REHABS—Drugs are being sold in The rehab. one of our community’s young people was dropped off there by a friend and signed himself in, only to need to be picked up the next day to avoid being tempted to keep it going, right in the rehab. Our rehab services MUST be upgraded.
EMPLOYMENT—Kids already have a hard time finding jobs in the area, reentering the community after rehab, or jail, there is an even slimmer chance of being employes. (Note, there was mention of a non profit cafe being opened in Kingston that is in the works which would help to reintegrate recovering young people into the work force, giving them training in food industry skills. This is tremendous, and exciting!. As well, Earth Guardians is working to open a productivity & outreach center in Woodstock, and one of our main goals is to foster the entrepreneurship of our young people, and bridge their abilities with income generating opportunity)
- More honoring and nurturing of creativity in OCS
- Teachers and Admin do not always step up
- Don’t drop out after elementary school
- Release the pressure in school to meet standards.
- Mental Fitness needs to be honored. Example given: When a kid has a physical wound, the wound is dressed and the child is prescribed rest the ares of concern. But when a kid is mentally/emotionally overloaded or anxiety is present, it is not taken as immediate need.
- Youth Oppression is felt
- Cocaine and Pills are readily available in OCS. The right handshake will get you all manner of substances.
- Honor students are separated from the rest of the community, this causes a separation amongst peers. Non Honor roll students are often stigmatized as losers.
- Integrated off time—The kids feel separated, and have a difficult time connecting with eachOther
- They want voice in decisions on how they spend their time in school
- Lockdown experience in school
- The courtyard stands as an empty unused resource and can be frustrating for kids who have vision for it.
- 20 or so minutes of outside time per day. This is not enough and the suppression of young energy is apparent
- Student Government Empowerment—The Student government is unable to make much change. They feel that the student government should have the ability to be more effective.
- There is a large crevasse between the Involved and not involved students. More middle way programs and opportunities the smaller the crevasse becomes.
- Honoring the Young people’s ability to step up to responsibility.
- Helicopter parenting disempowers youth expansion and accountability
- More musical opportunity for outlet
- creative outlet
- remove the Angry “teen angst” stigma
- The youth voice must hold a higher value
- Don’t drop out after elementary school —Parents are very involved in the PTA during the elementary years, but seem to fall off when High School comes around. They want continued involvement YET, they want their parents participation to be driven by and for their needs. They called for PTA inquiry into what the young people need and want.
- Many kids want space, but many want parental advocation in High School. Again… Follow their lead. be in the know about what they need.
- OCS Needs to focus on Social Opportunity, such as supporting the growth and sustainability of Clubs
- Social integration is nearly impossible, OCS seems “engineered for separation”
- EARLY DRUG EDUCATION IS KEY
Jade Moon offered suggestions/ideas for Expression
Life Skills Classes:
Dance & Movement (see below)
Health & Cooking
Astrology & Astronomy (in the EGNY works)
Archery, Renaissance Skills
AVAILABLE PROGRAMS, & OPPORTUNITY OF NOTE (Please add to this list as appropriate:
EARTH GUARDIANS NY:
- Earth Guardians NY is teaming up with The woodstock youth center to get a monthly musical event happening
- EGNY Is in discussion about teaming up with Woodstock Yoga to offer classes for young people
- EGNY Is In Discussion with an amazing local astrology teacher about offering an astrology class for Young people. This would be amazing!
- EGNY Is working on landing a spot in the middle of town that will provide young people the opportunity to find all of these ideas in one spot. And have some ownership in a space they can create in. And bring their art to the mix— Entrepreneurial exploration is a key element of this mission.
- Youth Empowerment and Leadership Trainings begin when Aidan returns from Paris for the COP21 talks. Begining of the new year, with some starting earlier.
- EGNY Workshop Series beginning soon! (see below)
SKILL BUILDING WORKSHOP SERIES:
Earth Guardians New York
will host several different series of public workshops for young people’s participation. Kicking off the efforts to create a hub where these activities can become regular offerings to our community’s youth. We expect that some will participate in multiple workshop topics, and combine and collaborate to bring about larger actions. In the summer of 2016 Earth Guardians will present an event where all of the mediums explored can come together in one location. There will be limited space for some of these programs until we are settled in a location, but we are seeking to fill the winter months with activity and opportunity for young people.
RYSE YOUTH LEADERSHIP TRAININGS
— RYSE (Rising Youth for a Sustainable Earth)
is the actualization of the Earth Guardian Movement. Bridging the intergenerational gap between Youth perspective and Wisdomkeeper perspective. Different series of trainings will be happening throughout the year to help young people grow as leaders in their own communities and beyond.
SONGWRITING FOR ACTION—Work with professional songwriters to turn your passions, concerns, hopes and fears into action, with music.
Explore the power of song to motivate listeners. Those who write Lyrics but don’t sing, or sing but don’t play an instrument will have the advantage of the EGNY musical department’s assistance in actualizing your vision. Help EGNY to create an album highlighting the growing environmental and social threats to the Hudson Valley and beyond. We have invitation to work with one of the best recording studios in the community, and this is going to be a pretty amazing program.
MEDIUMS EXPLORED: Songwriting, Poetry, Instrumentation, Sound Engineering, Performance
GRAPHIC DESIGN—Create Signs, T-shirts and Flyers, Memes for actions. Engage with artists who have turned their art into successful entrepreneurial endeavors which have fueled their actions.
Silkscreening, Dying, Graphic Design, Basic Photoshop, InDesign, Painting & Drawing, Cartooning, Graffiti, Upcycling
WORKSHOP YOUR KEYNOTE—This workshop will help you become more effective in expressing yourself. Participants will define their purpose, gather facts and information, use the written word to craft speeches and talking points. Work with performance artists who will assist with expression, projection and stage presence. Complete the series ready to speak on any stage.
MEDIUMS EXPLORED: Writing, Poetry, Performance Art, Finding Your Purpose
The Good Life Youth Journal
has partnered with Earth Guardians and will be dedicating several pages of every issue moving forward, to Youth Leadership, Climate and Social Justice. EGNY and Good Life will host workshops with Editor In Chief Cathy Macnamara to invigorate the talent of young writers, artists, poets, and editors in our region. Become a writer for Good Life Youth Journal!
MEDIUMS EXPLORED: All aspects of production of a magazine, from writing, to print.
VIDEO PRODUCTION & EDITING—Leran how to Storyboard, film, edit and distribute your film. Working with professional videographers, editors, and producers, you will understand at least the basics of film production by creating your own takeaway film ready to share.
MEDIUMS EXPLORED: Film, Editing, Photography, Content curation
I will be working on a LOOMIO.ORG Group to hold this conversation in a space where we can come and go to it as we please, adding to it and the like. Each of these topics would be in a thread, and we can then expand in virtual conversation on the threads via comments.
Much Love, Many Thanks… Bless up!