One of the biggest, most persistent questions we get when it comes to participating in prevention campaigns (like Above the Influence Day, or Family Day) is really a pretty simple and basic one: what does it mean to “sponsor,” an event? What can I do, and how do I get started? Since October is Substance Abuse Prevention Month, and since one of the big events for the month is Above the Influence (ATI) Day, we thought it would be good to focus on an ATI Day event and use it as an example of one way you, your kids, and your kids’ friends can get involved with a great prevention campaign.
ATI is a national organization, run through the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, a program of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Their goal is to empower teens to resist poor influences and bad decisions.
According to ATI’s Above the Influence Toolkit (available for download here), Tag It! is intended to “increase teens’ awareness of influences in their environment and how influences may prompt them to make decisions – both positive and negative, healthy
and unhealthy.” Warning! Do not speak to your teens like this! They will fall asleep.
Tag It! is further intended to provide kids opportunities to discuss drug abuse, and to develop strategies for avoiding it, as well as other risky behaviors.
On Tag It! day, you’ll be sending teens out into their schools, neighborhoods, malls – wherever they hang out – in groups or teams with ATI “tags,” you can download and print, and cameras. The students post their “tag,” on an object or person that influences them negatively and photograph themselves posing in front of the “tagged,” object. It’s fun, fosters friendships, and gets kids to think about what is really influencing them at any given time.
What you need.
- A room large enough to accommodate your group
- TV/DVD or Computer (if available)
- Printed copies of the downloadable ATI “tag”
- Cameras or camera phones
Tag It! takes place over 3 sessions that can be organized on 3 different days, or on a Saturday as one long event.
- In the first session, you facilitate a discussion around the definition of influence – let the kids do most of the talking here. What influences them both positively and negatively? Start the discussion by showing them these videos you can download from atipartnerships.com.
- Session 2 is tagging! Send the kids out tagging with the “tags,” markers and cameras.
- For session 3 gather the groups back together to share their photos, discuss the experience, and discuss what influences they chose and why.
- Bring healthy snacks – kids can’t do this event if they’re hungry.
- Make sure the kids clean up after themselves – leave no trace.
- Don’t write on anything other than the provided tags.
- Respect private property – if there’s a no trespassing or no soliciting sign up, don’t enter that property.
- Designate an adult point of contact with a cell phone who is available to take calls while the kids are tagging to answer questions if they run into folks with questions about what they’re doing.
- Share and manage the photos in a central location – at the end of the last session collect the memory cards or designate an email address where the kids can upload or send their pictures. Then take a few of the best ones and post them to a blog or Facebook page dedicated to your group or to this event. It’s a great way to let other kids and their parents and caregivers see what this strange event was all about. A photo sharing service like Instagram might be a great tool for this.