Champion City Youth Rally planned to engage, empower local youth leaders

The Clark County Partners in Prevention in partnership with Clark State College and the Drug Free Community Grant will host a one-day Champion City Youth Rally to engage and empower local youth leaders.

Students in grades 7 through 11 will be guided through peer-led sessions to find their voice and create a better community for all.

The event is being held throughout the Clark State campus at 570 East Leffel Lane in Springfield. Students will receive a free T-shirt, string backpack, and water bottle. There will be additional prizes and giveaways at each activity. 

“A year ago, we had 10 students attend a Youth-to-Youth international camp,” says Carey McKee, Drug Free Community Project Coordinator at McKinley Hall. “At this camp students go to mini sessions, group building sessions, team building, kind of trying to find their voice so they are empowered to make change when they come back to their community. It’s all to prevent substance abuse in your community. The underlying theme is ‘we are drug free.’ And we take this message back to the community.”

Following the Youth-to-Youth camp, McKee says five of the students wanted to come back to Clark County and host a similar camp.

“We agreed to try a one-day camp,” says McKee. “The students have been working all year on bringing this camp back (to Springfield.); they have been planning their own mini-sessions.”

Shawnee High School sophomore Narissa Owen will lead a session at the Rally. She was inspired to create and participate in the Youth Rally after attending Youth to Youth camp in Columbus.

“I want to create a positive and fun environment for kids and teens in Clark County,” she says. “I want these teens to bring back everything that they learn from this camp and educate other people as well.”

Owen says her goal is to spread the message that self-care is needed not only now but for the future, both mentally and physically.

“Self-care and mental health need to become more recognized in the community,” she says. “No more judging or criticizing for other’s choices - but understanding and uplifting a person. I am looking forward to giving teens a safe outlet to just be themselves and have a good time.”

Clark State will also have materials available presenting the many educational opportunities available for students.

“We are excited to partner with Clark County Partners in Prevention to host the rally on campus,” said Nina Wiley, assistant vice president of student affairs for Clark State. “We will have staff on hand to help greet the youth and guide them from one activity to the next. We will have dedicated time to engage with the youth in a planned activity.”

The Youth Rally will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 10. Lunch and dinner will be provided. There is no cost to attend. 

“We want parents to know that this is a safe place for their youth to be,” says McKee. “We are promoting the substance-free message. These kids are leaders in our community for that.”

The Youth Rally drop off location for check in and pick up will be in the parking lot beside the Library Resource Center at Clark State. 

The registration deadline is Aug. 1 and limited to first 100 students. Register online here for the Youth Rally.
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Read more articles by Darci Jordan.

Lifelong Clark County resident Darci Jordan is a freelance writer and former staff writer/columnist for the Springfield News-Sun. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor of science degree in Agriculture Communications. She currently also serves as a writer for the Clark State Community College marketing department. She enjoys time with her family, horses and Ohio State football. Go Bucks!