This article summarizes the accomplishments of The Monadnock Youth Coalition in the month of November.
We started out November with our Halloween party. This event was a huge success for our group. We were able to use Camp Takodah to house our small group for a few hours on Halloween. Each member was asked to invite one friend in order to peak their interest in possibly joining the youth group. We had 11 youth attend in total and gained 3 new members from this event. While we began to welcome these new members other youth heard about our group and decided to join as well.
Overnight it seemed our group of 6 turned into a group of 13 teens. We welcomed our youngest member and our oldest member this month. Our youngest is 11 and our oldest is 16. We are lucky to have such a diversity in ages within our group. With this new influx of members we began to discuss with our members that they no longer needed to attend every event. They could pick and choose or sign up for shorter shifts. The hope with this new system is that it will take some of the pressure off of our veteran members and allow our new members to step into some roles and take on some responsibility.
With this new larger group also comes the need to establish group norms and a sense of community. Our plan for December is to slow down on events and speakers to work together, learn about each other, and build a sense of caring and community among our larger group. This will no doubt take some time, but it is so important that we feel it should be our main focus right now.
In November we also managed to complete a variety of different projects and listen to some different speakers. Our first most prominent project was our group’s recording of 3 radio PSA’s that can be heard on WKNE 103.7 and WINQ 98.7 between 7am and 7pm. We had 9 of our members participate in these radio PSA’s. We also received some positive feedback from WKNE about how to up our game when it comes to radio PSA’s. We hope that in time we will learn to write and create our own radio PSA’s or TV spots. For now though, we also want to thank Dover Youth 2 Youth for helping us learn the “how to’s” when it comes to radio PSA’s.
Even though November was a cold month we were also determined to show our thanks and support to our adult coalition members. Our group tabled outside of The YMCA one cold evening for a few hours. We asked that adult members stop by for a few minutes to meet our members, see a yearly update, and grab a thank you card and gift. This is just one of the many steps that we have taken and will take in strengthening the bonds between adults and youth in our 2 coalitions. We wholeheartedly believe that our youth should be guiding our adults to make better and more informed choices about how to increase protective factors within youth and decrease risk factors. We can only ask our youth to guide us when they trust us and we have built a community together.
This month we also partnered with The Monadnock Humane Society to help them get their grounds ready for winter. We volunteered for 2 hours, and did a variety of yard work. We also had the privilege of getting to meet 2 sweet pups up for adoption. They still need a home!! 2 of our youth group members almost took them home, but it didn’t quite fly with mom and dad.
We met with Katrina Nungent to complete the first step in taking a MCVP course. She came and listened to our youth and heard what they needed to learn about. As a group we decided that our course will focus on learning about consent and what a healthy relationship looks like. This is such an important topic that will likely help these kids for years to come in determining if a relationship is healthy or harmful.
In addition to this we took the first steps in alcohol education for our group. We read an article about alcohol and watched 2 videos. From this information youth members were challenged to partner up and play Jeopardy together to win gift cards and candy. They got really into it and tried their best. A team of three won 3 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts for their resilience and grit within the game.
Finally we still managed to have some fun even with all the hard work that the group did. We rented out Keene State College’s Wilson Pond in order to host a Thanksgiving Day party for our members. We kept this event just members due to the rising COVID cases in Cheshire County right now. During this party we laughed and hung out, but also had the opportunity to practice our radio PSA’s and build the framework for our group norms. Kids brought food to share with each other and were able to play hide and seek outside around the cabin. It was a great night that some of the youth will likely remember for a long time.
Please reach out to Meghan Marcucci at [email protected] if you have any questions or would like to learn more about The Monadnock Youth Coalition.