Program to teach Steamboat teens about court |

Program to teach Steamboat teens about court

Grand Futures to present symposium with police, justice officials

Zach Fridell

School Resource Officer Josh Carrell talks with students, from left, Ally Wetzler, Kate Rusk and Nicolas Hessenberger in the leadership class at Steamboat Springs High School earlier this week. The Steamboat Springs Police Department, in cooperation with Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, is going to hold a juvenile justice symposium Wednesday.

— Grand Futures Prevention Coalition hopes to teach Routt County teens about the juvenile justice system the easy way — without them going through it first.

To educate teens, their parents and community members about the juvenile justice diversion program, laws and to answer questions, Grand Futures is teaming up with local law enforcement agencies and court representatives for a symposium from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Olympian Hall.

Grand Futures Director Der­vla Lacy said the project stems from the volume of questions local students ask about the juvenile justice system, as well as the need to teach them about related issues they might not think about.

"We're hoping to educate youth, parents and community members on the connection between youth substance abuse and other crimes, and the juvenile justice system," she said. "The effects on college admission, scholarships, etc. Things you don't really think about all the time."

Grand Futures partnered with the Steamboat Spring Police De­­part­ment, Yampa Valley Medical Center, the District Attorney's Office, the juvenile diversion program, the Public Defender's Office, Steamboat Springs Teen Council and Routt County Sheriff's Office to present the different aspects of teen justice.

Police Capt. Joel Rae said teens regularly question officers — particularly Steamboat Springs High School Resource Officer Josh Carrell — about the laws. The symposium, he said, would be a way to answer many questions at once.

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"Josh teaches at the high school, and we have a number of us who go to speak to kids at the high school. It doesn't matter what the topic is, there are a lot of questions raised about, 'What's the punishment for this?' or 'What's the law on this?'" Rae said.

During the symposium, several groups of teens will present skits about laws and situations, Lacy said, to make the information more interesting. There will be breakout sessions after each skit to discuss the issues.

Aside from the questions, Lacy and Grand Futures also hope the project will lead to more collaboration between teen justice programs in the county.

"There's been nothing like this before," Lacy said.

If you go

What: Juvenile Justice Symposium

When: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill

Details: Grand Futures Prevention Coalition will host the free symposium with law enforcement officers and justice system representatives to answer questions and provide information about juvenile justice in Routt County. Snacks, drinks and door prizes will be provided.