'Community Of Promise'
Meeting Also Told
About 'Camp Coyote'
By LISA WARREN
A new drug-awareness education program aimed at middle-school students was discussed Tuesday during a Greene County Community of Promise meeting.
The program was developed by the Tennessee National Guard as part of its Counterdrug Task Force and is available to schools and community organizations.
Sgt. Kenneth E. Johnson, a Tennessee National Guardsman and Counterdrug Task Force member, spoke briefly about the program at the meeting.
The Tennessee National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force assists local, state and federal law enforcement in the fight against drugs. In addition, under the Task Force's "Drug Demand Reduction" program, the National Guard also provides drug awareness education to the state's youth.
"We (as Guardsmen) take an oath to protect our citizens against enemies both internationally and domestically," Johnson said. "Drug abuse is a major domestic enemy to our nation's youth."
The "Drug Demand Reduction" program is a way that the Guardsmen can "let youths know the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse," Johnson said.
The program, which is available to schools and community organizations at no cost, provides drug education presentations by Guard members, a drug awareness trailer, and an educational program called "Stay On Track."
With a motorsports-inspired theme, "Stay On Track" is a 14-week program similar to the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, Johnson said.
This year, the program was presented to middle-school age students at more than 50 schools statewide, he added.
"We're really pushing this program," Johnson said.
According to the Tennessee National Guard's Web site, "Stay On Track" is designed to teach middle-school students "the important skills of making good decisions when it comes to drug use."
For more information about getting this program for a school or organization, call toll-free 1-877-395-0800.
Plans For Camp Coyote
Also at Tuesday's Community of Promise meeting, those in attendance heard about a planned local camp for children with a serious illness or physical limitation.
Called Camp Coyote, the camp is being organized here by Brook Sadler, executive director of Yosemite Ridge, a Fresno, Calif.-based summer camp for children with special medical concerns. It will be based at The Oaks Campground, which is owned and operated by Free Will Baptist Family Ministries, in the Camp Creek community.
Diane Nellessen, a volunteer fundraising for Camp Coyote, said at the meeting, that the camp will begin with a week-long fitness camp for children who are struggling with weight issues. Additional camps will gradually be added in the coming years for children with other health issues, she said.
There will be no charge to the children for participation in the camp.
The primary purpose of the camp is to give these children an opportunity to experience the fulfillment and fun found only at summer camp.
Nellessen was joined at the meeting by Nita Dornburg. Both women are soliciting funds and volunteers to make the effort possible.
For more information about contributing to the camp, contact Nellessen at 552-6200 or Brooke Sadler at 787-0058.
The Greene County Community of Promise is a program of the Volunteer Center of Greene County. The program is part of the nationwide America's Promise initiative, which aims enlist the help of community members to provide mentoring and programs to aid youth.