Scott County, IN – Representatives from Scott County returned home from Washington, D.C., area where they were joined by 2900 substance abuse prevention specialists and advocates from across the country for CADCA’s (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's) 29th Annual National Leadership Forum.
“We are reenergized with new strategies under our belt to tackle drug use in Scott County. It was exciting to spend several days with other similar organizations from across the country, learning and honing our prevention skills so our community can be a better place, one that doesn’t suffer from the harms of drug and alcohol abuse,” says Lori Croasdell, CEASe/DFC Coordinator.
Our coalition representatives heard from and had a private meet and greet and photo op with Dr. Jerome M. Adams, the Surgeon General of the United States. CEASe and EMPOWER also met with U.S. representatives and senators at the Forum’s Capitol Hill Day event, including Senator Mike Braun and Congressman Trey Hollingsworth.
Scott County’s EMPOWER Youth Coalition members attending included Austin High School’s Olivia Miner, Bentley Mahaney, and Luke Watts, as well as Scottsburg High School’s Eliza Mount, Madelyn Shelton, and Emma Christoff. The youth informed our federal legislators on Scott County’s initiatives, as well as advocated on behalf of Scott County.
The Austin high school youth shared their favorite parts of this experience: “My favorite thing in DC was getting to meet our politicians from Indiana,” shared Bentley Mahaney. Luke Watts added, “My favorite part of the trip was getting the opportunity to advocate for Scott County and show that the youth are making a difference.” Olivia Miner continued, “The trip was a very rewarding experience. I learned that our congressmen, senators and their aids are all very concerned about what is occurring in Scott County. They have so many other obligations, but they were very eager to assist us. I particularly liked meeting with the US Surgeon General and hearing about his brother. I feel like he could really relate to us, and I appreciated how he mentioned Scott County repeatedly and took the time to meet one-on-one with us.”
The Scottsburg high school students shared, “My favorite thing about the trip was capital hill day. It was really interesting to speak one-on-one with the Senators and Representatives because it humanized them and reminded me that they are everyday people working to better our country,” shared Emma Christoff. Eliza Mount added, “The most inspiring aspect of the trip for me was the magnitude of energy and passion generated by the hundreds of people gathering with the same goal in mind: to transform our communities through the power of prevention. Throughout the week, the whole conference came together as one unifying force, and it felt amazing.”