Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp

Posted By Fgrant

Pictured are Dean Clark, Jack Foster with Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp, Ryan Bushey picture taken by Mike Clark

Jack Foster was our guest speaker on 01/28/2013. Jack is with the Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp, a program of AMHC.  Jack was and educator, and then began with AMHC to assist in prevention work. The camp ATLC was formed in 1987 it  is a leadership development and drug prevention program serving Aroostook County teens in grades 6-9 in northern Maine. Teens attend a five day camp in Limestone at the Limestone Community School also known as Maine School of Science and Mathematics. There are also several follow up meetings through out the year.

ATLC vision is:  Aroostook County will be ranked as the lowest county in Maine for substance use among students in grades 6-9, as measured by Maine’s Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey (MYDAUS).

Core Beliefs: We believe that teens are effective substance abuse prevention leaders when given the necessary knowledge, tools, training, and support. We also believe teens listen and talk more to other teens than to adults.

Program Need: The 2008 Maine Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey shows Aroostook County teens in grades 6-9 as having a drug use problem, with 15.3% reporting use by grade 6. By grade 9 alcohol use increased 20.8%, tobacco use 12.4%, and marijuana use 5.4%. Early drug/alcohol use increases risk of mental health problems, drug/alcohol dependence, educational underachievement, physical health problems, and social difficulties during later adolescence and early adulthood.

Program Goals:

to prevent or delay early use of alcohol and other illegal drugs by Aroostook County teens; to increase favorable teen attitudes about not using alcohol and other illegal drugs; to develop teen drug prevention leaders; and to provide a teen support network for a drug-free lifestyle.

The camp generally has between 55 and 65 teens  attend annually, 67% of attendees are girls.  Families pay 200.00 for camp, but there are scholarships available for families in need, no one has ever been turned down. Open enrollment starts in January, at each school there is a contact person to assist with the application process. Currently they have a volunteer staff of 32 people, with 27 of them having attended the camp in their teens. Now that is impressive, for any of us involved in anything that you need volunteers for you know how difficult it is to get any. All campers make a commitment to be drug free, and in doing so many of them move on to becoming volunteers as stated above. Sara Harbison was one of these and has now moved on to be one of the Directors, thank you Sara way to lead! Some of the follow up includes: monthly outings, 5 different committees, advisory board ,and  entry level staff for camp.  Each person is required in writing to agree to be drug free, if they are not then they are out of the program for one year, their parents are informed and giving resources to assist them becoming drug free. It should be noted that his has not happened. Parents attend the last day of camp as part of the follow up they are walked through many of the things that their teens participated in and given a video to take home as well. This is a great opportunity for our teens to become involved and become the leaders that we need for their future and ours.  For more information on the Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp visit their website

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