Community Youth in Action (CYA) Idaho Falls embarked on an 11-day service trip from July 22- August 1, 2021. Some often ask why travel with all those teens and spend the time and money to do a trip like that when you can serve at home. We tell them if you could experience the growth and changes in the youth that we see, you would do the same. One participant whose family has had it tough with substance abuse issues expressed how he wants to live a better life than his family and wants to be able to travel, be successful, and be somebody, and that CYA is helping him to get to that point. There is something about building a lasting memory on a trip that cannot be duplicated at home, besides service is something we do together at home weekly so why not do it for others in their community and make a difference in the lives of people we do not know, all while gaining new lifelong memories and having a bunch of fun along the way.
In order to go on the trip, the teens started raising funds about 5 months prior by hosting a car wash, asking for sponsors, doing yard work and other paid tasks in the community, and some even paying out of their own pocket to fund the $600 each it would require to go. The team traveled in 3 RV’s and a shuttle vehicle with 21 teens, 5 children, and 9 adult chaperones on a 2,300-mile loop from Idaho Falls Idaho up interstate 15 to northern Idaho and then on to the Washington and Oregon Coast to Eugene, and Ontario and back through southern Idaho. The group stayed in all sorts of facilities from a church, a high-class summer camp, RV parks, a military base, a YMCA, a High school hallway, and a couple of luxury Hotels. Some of the teens had never been out of Idaho or on any type of extended road trip and expressed excitement over experiencing a lot of new things like seeing the ocean, staying in a nice hotel, being in extremely rural areas with zero cell phone reception, eating in fancy restaurants and some backcountry not so fancy ones, visiting an aquarium, engaging in a high ropes course, playing in a theme park, rafting on a river, and working on positive conflict resolution skills with their peers. These are things some people may take for granted but many who were on the trip expressed gratitude for the opportunity. They were able to find joy in the journey while working together to help serve others and managing their own personal struggles all at the same time.
Some of the service projects they participated in include clearing debris from trails or people’s homes to help with fire danger, clearing unwanted prickly wild blackberry bushes, sorting donated items at a local charity, cleaning and cleaning the outdoor space for children at women’s shelter, helping build a community park, helping other nonprofits with their fundraisers, and doing a community assessment of the impact of marijuana legalization.
Although there were many exciting moments and memories created like a random ocean playtime on a beach that felt like having a private beach due to no one else being around, a rafting trip, a theme park, some cuts and bruises from service activities, and lots of great food, none of the days were quite as exciting as the 2nd day which participants described as a day much like a game of Jumanji or real-life story out of National Lampoons vacation where nothing seemed to go right. The day included some RV brake trouble, a baby having to go to a hospital from a respiratory illness, and an evacuation from the theme park due to a large lumber mill fire starting across the street. Despite all the excitement of the week, normal daily drama, and eventfulness of the trip, nothing deterred the teens and adults from having a good time, laughing hard at themselves and their mistakes, growing stronger as individuals, experiencing self-reflection, and making the best of each day.
A well-articulated personal letter, email, postcard, or phone call are some of the most effective ways to communicate with elected officials. They want to know how their constituents feel about issues, especially when those issues involve decisions around potential legislation.
Whether you want to contact your legislator(s) via letter, email, phone call, or postcard – the ODP toolkit will help you identify your legislators, find their contact information, and give you tips to make the process simple and effective. Download it for free – Toolkit: How to Contact Your Legislators
Toolkit: How to Write a Letter to Your Elected Officials
Letters, emails, and postcards are an extremely effective way of communicating with your elected officials. Are you interested in sending a postcard to your representatives? Download and print these postcards for free (we recommend using cardstock or other paper sturdier than regular printer paper).
During the Idaho Family Dinner Night 2020 campaign, ODP and our prevention partners distributed over 15,000 Idaho Family Dinner Recipe Guides to families across the state.
Due to COVID-19, distributing the Recipe Guides was a bit more challenging this year. To get the Guides to Idaho families, ODP and our prevention partners utilized a number of distribution channels.
- Over 2,000 Recipe Guides were distributed through the Idaho Foodbank Backpack Program
- Over 5,000 Recipe Guides were handed our by ODP staff and prevention partners while volunteering to help distribute food at Farmers to Families Food Box Program events, part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
- Nearly 4,000 Recipe Guides were distributed to families at over 80 Head Start and Early Head Start Centers across the State
- All remaining Guides were distributed throughout communities by prevention partners, local organizations, and coalitions.
ODP is incredibly grateful for the Idaho Foodbank and all of our partners that disseminated the Recipe Guides across the state and helped us encourage parents and families to share a meal and connect with each other about things that matter. Check out photos of families celebrating Idaho Family Dinner Night below!
The 19th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day that took place on October 24, 2020 was a huge success!
Overall, there were 42 Take Back Day collection sites organized across Idaho, with 39 Law Enforcement (LE) agencies participating, and a total of 10,526 pounds of medication collected – a nearly 4,000-pound increase from the total weight of medication collected during the previous Take Back Day in April 2019.
Given COVID-19, a cold, windy, wild weather weekend, and two locations being canceled due to LE being short-staffed, this was an exceptional accomplishment for our state.
ODP is incredibly proud of our LE agencies and prevention partners for organizing collection sites across Idaho and providing communities with the opportunity to properly dispose of unused or expired medication. Furthermore, we are appreciative of all of the Idahoans that took the time to clean out their medicine cabinets and drop off their old prescriptions at Take Back Day events. Together, we can help keep our communities safe from prescription drug misuse.
Check out some photos from Take Back Day events below!