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Counterdrug program proves to be a huge success

Girls from Crook County Middle School were encouraged to attend the recent skills building program conducted for free by the Oregon National Guard
The Oregon National Guard Counterdrug Support Program was offered to Crook County Middle School girls last week. By all appearances everyone enjoyed the many activities and learned some valuable life skills in the process.
   In what organizers are calling a huge success, students gathered in the gym for an intensive 9-hour-long program geared at giving youth new skills for personal drug prevention as well as for making positive life decisions.
   About 22 girls took advantage of the day-long exercise which was offered at no cost to the school or the children who participated.
   "As the 21st Century Site Coordinator, I try to come with activities for inservice days, and I used to work for the National Guard," explained CCMS's Bonnie Connolly. "So, I am familiar with what they have to offer. This particular program just fit nicely into what we need. It was wonderful being able to offer it this time just for girls _ it worked out so well."
   Described as a support program which provides schools with a supplemental prevention aspect to their existing drug and alcohol curriculum, the National Guard program is intended to help participants understand the life skills it will take to develop a new strategy for making positive choices.
   Through special exercises of processing and debriefing, the participants practiced team building and worked to develop healthy decision making skills. Students were also exposed to a series of activities which presented opportunities to increase their ability to trust the group, and thereby foster positive relationships.
   "I was really impressed with the girls and how they responded to this program," Connolly said. "We didn't loose any girls during the day _ they stuck with it to the end. By the time it was over, we had some teary good-byes and several of the cadets exchanged addresses with students which added a mentoring aspect to the whole thing."