Teens gain insight, have fun at youth summit


by: Photo By Susan Matheny - Prevention specialist Savenia Falquist conducted a workshop on Dating Violence at last Saturday's Youth Summit.

   Some 50 teens from Culver, Warm Springs and Madras had a blast at the Youth Summit Conference last Saturday at the fairgrounds in Madras.
   Numerous workshops on communication, relationships, cultural awareness, and other topics were held, which included a lot of interaction during which the kids got to know one another.
   Adult advisor Angie Spannaus said she thought kids might hang out just with their own friends, but they didn't.
   "They made friends and talked to each other. There was a lot of interaction between the groups and they met others in the workshops," she said.
   Some of the presentations and discussions on teen problems had unexpected results, when it encouraged some of the teens to admit to adults in private that they needed help themselves.
   "Several, about 10 percent of the kids, disclosed that they were being abused or had thoughts of suicide and we were able to get them counseling and help," Spannaus said.
   Comments from teens about what they learned at the summit included: "I learned to be yourself and not worry about what others have to say."
   "It's important to step back from a relationship once in a while to see if it's safe."
   "Even through we think we're different from everyone else, we all have something in common."
   "Judge somebody by the inside, not the outside."
   At the end of the evening, teens gathered for a dance and Talent Show. "We have some awesome talent in this county. The kids were outstanding and it was hard to pick," Spannaus noted.
   She said they would like the Youth Summit to become an annual event, and believe the number of teens attending will build.
   "The kids said they had a great time and would definitely come back again," she said.