January 11, 2016 By 0 Comments

Identifying, solving problems together

More than 50 area youths took part in the Fifth Annual Hamilton County Youth Summit designed to bring young people together to identify and solve problems in their county.

The summit was held Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Webster City and was hosted by Power Up YOUth.

“We find that when people are more connected as a community, it is an asset that helps them and their community grow strong,” said Power Up YOUth Coordinator Kathy Getting who organized the summit.

During the morning sessions, students took part in large and small group discussions on Public Health.

After lunch, the students chose to participate in World Cafe discussions on either Thriving Families in the Community or Promoting Health in the Community.

“We want to engage kids and adults with one another,” said Getting of the event. “The World Cafe promotes civil conversations and helps students be prepared to be effective leaders when they are called upon.”

At the Thriving Family World Cafe, Getting told the students that they, as a demographic group, have the most resources available to them.

“You young people have the potential to do great things,” she said.

Getting told the group that it was the young people in college during the 1960’s who initiated the Civil Rights Movement. And it was young people who helped to elect the nation’s first Black president.

As with the Black Lives Matter movement, young organizers are still working to bring about change, she said.

“You will do something in your lives that will make a difference,” predicted Getting.

The one way an effective movement begins is by connecting with others through conversation, she said.

The students were asked to analyze the importance of thriving families and what are the barriers that prevent people from having strong families.

The students identified trust, security, economic stability and happiness as important factors in shaping a thriving family that will produce positive members of society.

At the Promoting Public Health discussion, the students identified what healthy behavior looks like and how an individual can promote good and positive health.

In the discussions, a theme emerged that sometimes promoting good, healthy behavior is difficult because often barriers exist which prevent it. Some of those barriers include being personally confused about what is healthy behavior and not knowing safe boundaries.

As a discussion topic, students were asked to imagine what they would do if all barriers were removed. Later students shared ideas that would help promote better community health which included joining or starting clubs, making people aware of situations in the community, ending bullying, promoting education on discrimination, teaching the importance of being true to one’s self and

speaking out against injustice.

Michelle Walters of Building Families recapped the afternoon’s session and asked students to think about healthy behavior for themselves and those around them.

“Think about how to take action with your friends, peers and at home,” she said. “Think of the whole (span of) holistic health from infancy all the way to geriatric.”

Some of those brainstorming ideas included learning proper nutrition and exercising. One student suggested that while the local Food Pantry provides food, sometimes recipients are unsure of how to prepare those foods so they are discarded. Instead, it was suggested that students could provide recipe cards to accompany the pantry’s food when it is distributed.

Students were asked to write down one action on a Post-It Note that they would be committed to doing in the next week or two to promote health in their community. As the session ended, the notes were attached to a bulletin board for display during the general assembly. It was also posted on Facebook.

“This really was an eye-opener,” said student Hannah Miller. “It made me think about my community and the different ways to see what is going on in it – good or bad – and how I can help to make it a better place.”

“It helped me to express what I thought of my community and how I can help make my community better,” stated Emma Vansickle.

“Your voices can make a change and you can make a difference,” Tiffany Larson of the Building Families Bee Inspired CAPP Program told the assembly at the conclusion of the event. “You can take your ideas and put them into action.”

Click here to view this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman Journal.

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