CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Teens who need a litle extra guidance when it comes to making healthy choices about substance abuse, dating, relationships, school and career goals may find some answers at the Regional Teen Institute.
For 13 years, the camp for sixth- to eighth-graders has encouraged youth to "act out loud" by immersing them in a fun-filled, educational four-day camp. The camp gives kids a positive message about healthy choices, including teaching them people can have fun without using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.
The camp, at Camp Rippling Waters at the Church of God Campground in Romance, hopes campers will take the messages they learned about healthy choices and share them with their community, including other at-risk youths.
Samantha Adams, who came to the Teen Institute from the Christian Faith Academy in Van, was one of the three students who attended the first year. The next year, more than a dozen teens attended because she went back and shared the lessons she learned with her community, stressing that "it was fun to make healthy choices."
Laurie Farnsworth from Wood County came with her Girl Scouts Discovery and Dreams group three years ago. She was concerned about friends who were drinking, so she thought having the Teen Institute in Wood County would help not only her friends, but also others in the community.
She met with leaders from the Girl Scouts, 4-H Programs, West Virginia Children Services and others to develop a training session for high school students who would be youth counselors for the middle school retreat.
Other young campers have stressed the important impact the Teen Institute has made on their life.