Project: Adventure 2019
Project: Adventure provided Fayette County fourth and fifth grade students with one of the most extraordinary field trips of their life! In this “Iceland Style” drug prevention initiative almost 900 students experienced a hands-on introduction to experiences and opportunities in Fayette County that many have never even dreamed of. Each of the six stations at Fayette County Park thad a cluster of activities including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, rafting, fishing, Lego robotics, music, sports, yard games, art and craft projects and more.
At least 150 volunteers presented at or supported the event. The presenters provided an incredible variety of hands-on experiences and the behind the scenes support was truly exceptional. Multiple sponsors donated in-kind services, supplies and equipment. Astounding and almost unbelievable.
More than a field trip, this is the first step to a long-term evidence-based drug prevention initiative based on the successful Iceland Model. (More Info Here.) The purpose of the event was to introduce these students to hobbies and interests that are available in our area. Studies clearly show that students engaged in meaningful activities have a lower risk of delinquent behavior or addiction.
Students spent about 30 minutes at each station except the pond area where they spent an hour. The students were mostly self-directed within each station - which was a cluster of activities.
Students and their teachers were thrilled beyond measure. It was awesome to see a child's smile after their maiden voyage on a kayak, their excitement to fish in the pond, build Lego robots or try out a violin. Live string and brass music at the STEAM station created desire to learn music and the kids were allowed to try instruments freely. Soccer, flat bat baseball and yard games kept our energetic kids moving. Discipline problems were almost non-existent both days.
New River Health provided 900 ponchos since rain was in the forecast. The second day those were valuable! Mountaineer Food bank donated 1100 pieces of fruit (quality apples and giant oranges) and the kids ate almost every piece. We saw multiple kids turning the large orange around and around in their hands - looking at it in wonder and not knowing how to open it. That almost made the volunteers cry. Had they never held a whole orange?
Kids were saying, "Best. Day. Ever." and "I wish I could live here forever!" and “Will you be here tomorrow?” (Some thought this was at the park everyday...) Many teachers said it was the best day they had ever had with their kids. We are more than grateful.
At the close of the event students took a brown bag Popsicle stick survey to measure their three favorite activities and also their top barrier to regularly experience their favorite things...i.e. cost, transportation, lack of adult support, or fear of trying something new. Teachers and presenters were also surveyed. This data will help us move forward with addressing further barriers to youth engaging in meaningful activities.
The coordinators for this event were Teresa Workman, Katie Johnson, Natasha Green, Veronica Crosier and Esther Morey.
We believe Project Adventure is the beginning of something big because it is bringing our diverse community together in a new way. It is giving us, as a community, a focused and clearer path for drug prevention which is the most effective path out of the opioid crisis.