Forum seeks more teen ideas

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Grand Futures Prevention Coalition director Sandy Vis--nack said she was glad that seven Steamboat Springs High School students attended last week's teens-only forum on underage drinking but that she thought she could do better.

"We are going to have another teen forum soon, and we're hoping to get more kids out," she said. "There were some really great things that came out of the last forum, but we need more."

The Dec. 12 teens-only forum was held after a November community forum on underage drinking in which many parents and students said they thought the community could benefit from having a forum just for the under-21 crowd in Steamboat.

Visnack said she would meet with Stephanie Murphy, one of the facilitators from the last forum, and the city's Teen Program coordinator, Brooke Lightner, on Jan. 5 to set some ideas in motion and to set a firm date for the next forum.

"We really want our youth to know that we want them to be a part of this process," she said. "We want them to know they have some ownership in their community."

Visnack said she was going to get the word out sooner for the next forum and combine it with an event such as a casino or movie night in hopes of getting more young people to come. Visnack said she hoped to send fliers and information to Soroco and Hayden high schools to include their student bodies, as well.

"I know that there are kids out there who have something to say," she said.

"One of the kids last time said that he thought drinking and driving was becoming a bigger issue because kids would rather take the risk of driving drunk than be late or get caught," she said.

Visnack is hoping to hear concerns like that, as well as ideas for solutions to the problems.

"We definitely want to continue our conversations with our kids," she said.

"We heard some great ideas at our last forum. The kids seemed like they were being honest and straightforward with what they were talking about."

Grand Futures is a Routt County substance abuse prevention organization that has been involved with the past two forums held in the community.

Visnack said she was concerned that youths here think they have nothing better to do than drink or use drugs.

"I think we have a community where our kids are at risk because of the environment in which we live," she said.

Visnack is planning another forum for parents, as well.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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