Youth Connections | Fall 2011

Page 1





Teens & Social Media emerging tobacco products

What’s the Harm? Parent Involvement


Engaging Your Child

Get Back to School


Perfect for parents, too!


Call now for a free ConSulTATion 301 Saddle Dr, Ste A // Helena, MT


2 From the Director 6 Faces in the Crowd 7 Teen Screen 11 40 Developmental Assets 12 Assets in Action 17 Foundations of Media Literacy 17 Funny Bone #1 18 YC Website Refresh 19 Perception vs. Reality 20 Q&A 21 Alcohol-free Seating 23 By the Numbers 24 Gear Swap 24 Funny Bone #2


4 6 14 22


Finding the Lost Art A Parents’ Guide

Teens & Social Media Emerging Tobacco Products

What’s the Harm? Parent Involvement

Engaging Your Child




COVER PHOTO BY Wandering Albatross Photography


TO ADVERTISE (406) 285-1274 TO CONTRIBUTE (406) 324-1078





from the



For Tickets Call (406) 442-1860 o r v i s i t w w w. h e l e n a s y m p h o n y. o r g

itting on the front porch of my parent’s house 15 miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming, on 20 acres of land, I listened to my two little boys giggle as they caught grasshoppers in a can. I realized it had been over an hour since my three year old demanded my time and attention. In that moment, drenda I began to internalize the true niemann meaning of raising “free range kids.” As a society, some parents, like myself, have developed an over-protective approach to parenting where we hover over our children almost to their detriment. Lenore Skenazy, who wrote the book Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry), suggests we parents have become overprotective of our children based on our exposure to news stories of abductions and murders. However, rates of child abductions and murders have not increased over the years, only our exposure to the stories which has shifted our perception of danger in communities. Skenazy continues by encouraging parents to teach their children the skills necessary to be self-reliant while navigating the world they live in, as opposed to hovering and protecting them from dangers that may or may not exist. When children practice skills like walking and biking to school with a parent, they become more confident to accomplish this task on their own. Parents in this scenario play the role of teaching the child to ride or walk safely, determine their route and have a plan in case of emergency. Eventually, as difficult as it may be, parents need to let the reins loose and allow their children to experience the successes of their newfound skills. Balancing the tension between safety and over-protection is the key to raising self-reliant children who have the confidence to grow independently. As you enjoy the articles in this issue, I encourage you to consider the idea of balancing the pull between guiding your child with tools, skills, care and supervision, and allowing your child to learn through experiences and become confident in their ability to make sound, positive decisions. Self-assured youth advocate for their needs, are independent thinkers, accept responsibility and grow from their mistakes, which result in a strong and healthy community for all. ■

For boys and girls, indoor and outdoor play, ages 4-12, $3.99 and up

Downtown on the Walking Mall 25 S Last Chance Gulch, 442-1594






DRENDA NIEMANN, Director email: phone: (406) 324-1032 Helena Middle School, Room 210



Helena Activities


Soccer Sign Up Housing Senior Needs Counseling Hot Lines

Social Services

Community Resources Summer Camps

Parenting Needs

Swimming Parks and Recreation

Mental Health

Food Bank Hours

Faith Based Organizations

Family Needs Softball Leagues

Substance Abuse Issues or dial 211






communication finding the lost art - By Sarah Collett

tipswh & tools. y not give them a try?






few years back I found myself sitting on my porch across from 15-year-old Sasha who was completely unresponsive. She had recently come into our youth group and I had found it increasingly difficult to get her involved. Both of her parents worked and they expressed frustration about Sasha’s reluctance to communicate. She had seemed withdrawn and secretive. I had the task of trying to win her trust and build a relationship that would help her through difficult times. But there were some obstacles. I had learned from our few interactions that she texted constantly. Even when I asked her questions she was looking down at her phone with expectation. She was always plugged into her iPod and it was hard to know when it was on or off. When she did respond she rarely looked me in the face. This particular day, I had called her over to see if maybe we could break through a few barriers. As a community volunteer, I have found myself in many situations where young people become my responsibility. Sasha wasn’t unusual. Most of the kids in our group were constantly attached to their gadgets. But I had discovered that some kids relied more heavily on phones and smartphones. I was learning that for some teens these devices filled a void of loneliness. I had also come to realize that these teens acted uncomfortable in face-to-face conversation. Some struggled to come up with more complex responses and seemed at a loss for words when called upon to respond. These were bright kids, so I began to wonder: Was all this texting and social networking replacing their ability to speak person-to-person? Did they feel more comfortable looking at a screen? Were they becoming less aware of body language? Were they less accountable for the things they would say over Facebook or a text? I noticed that the relationships between girls and boys were changing. Girls seemed more aggressive in their written communication and boys were less likely to ask a girl out in person. All of this concerned me. How would these kids deal with intimate relationships? Would they feel confident speaking to employers and co-workers? Would they feel confident using their voices to effect change? In a time when technology seeks to reduce communication to an act of convenience, I would make it my goal to enrich the lives of our youth with the dying art of meaningful conversation. I began with Sasha. I had come ready with some specific tools and there on that porch I began a three-year experiment. “Sasha,” I said, “I have a proposition for you.” Read on for the tools. ■

tool #1

Put away the gadgets regularly!

tool #2

Ask questions that are fun to answer.

tool #3

Eat meals together at a table.

Though there are no conclusive studies that cell phones, smart phones, iPods, and their many incarnations, have damaged teens’ abilities to converse, many parents and educators find it increasingly difficult to hold the attention of children. As a parent, I fully understand the necessity of cell phones. Our fast-pace lives require greater flexibility. However, it is more important than ever we create time with our kids without distraction. Setting aside 15 minutes to simply be with another person, without various intrusions, creates opportunity to converse. Yes, teens can be silent, but if parents are consistent over time, kids will fill the silence with words. Sasha and I set aside one hour a week without our cell phones. At first, conversation was nonexistent and difficult, but after three years we had filled dozens of hours with meaningful conversation.

This can be a tricky one for parents because we are concerned with all the weighty subjects. How are children doing in school? What are they like with their friends? Are they trust worthy? It is easy to reduce communication with our children to lectures and nagging. Put forth the effort to get to know the likable parts of your children. Spend time asking questions about their interests. It’s okay to ask about video games and their favorite music. Make sure they know you enjoy talking to them. They will trust you more when the tough stuff comes up. With consistency, you will see a difference over time. With Sasha, I learned quickly she could talk about cooking and music easily. I used these topics to open the door of communication between us.

Even one consistent sit-down dinner a week can provide invaluable opportunities for communication. Turn the TV off and put away the phone. There is something powerful in sitting around a table. We are more prone to look at one another. So often we communicate without the benefit of body language and eye contact. At the dinner table, we communicate with our whole selves. We must be more accountable for how we communicate because we face each other. Also good food loosens the tongue. Teens will relax while they eat. Use this time to watch and notice them. Again, if consistent, this will become a treasured tradition. On many occasions Sasha came to have dinner at our table. She eventually included friends and boyfriends. The table gave us a lasting friendship.

Technology can be convenient and efficient, but nothing can replace a face-to-face conversation, human interaction, and the ability to keep the lost art of communication.






Check out who’s standing out in our community.

Sandy Merchan



Sandy has taken leadership in 4-H beyond Lewis & Clark County boundaries. Not only is she an active leader within her club, encouraging youth to excel in their own project areas, but she also works with county and Montana State 4-H ambassadors to help “Make the Best Better.” Sandy uses her wit and energy to support kids and get them involved in positive activities. She goes out of her way to help young people who may not have access to the programs. Sandy is an outstanding role model and encourages the youth to be positive role models and leaders in their communities.

Charlie Heil

CR Anderson

Displaying a maturity and charm that set her apart from other youth, Charlie’s volunteer work this summer has spread positive energy all around Helena. Charlie plays card games with residents at the Big Sky Care Center and pampers the dogs and cats of the Humane Society. Her ability to relate to everyone she interacts with makes her a great friend and an even better leader. Helena – keep an eye out for Charlie (and make sure to say hi)!

Dakota “Cody” Tordale

CR Anderson

Like most kids, Cody has a dream – to become a rancher. Cody stands out because he’s already been hard at work this summer, actively pursuing his goal. Cody has jumped into a leadership role with Montana 4-H. He shows lamb and participates in 4-H sponsored service projects. In addition, Cody has been spending his summer volunteering with the You Got Served summer program to gain valuable new experiences. Cody helped build new flowerbeds at the Fairgrounds, landscaped at Florence Crittenton and helped clear noxious weeds from Firetower Park and Acropolis Hill.

Amy Heldt

Helena High school

Amy is co-president of MTAD (Mentoring Teens Against Drugs). In February, Amy attended CADCA’s (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) leadership conference in D.C. to learn how to impact her community and school against substance abuse. Amy and her peers were part of Find Your Spot and blanketed the walls of Helena High with posters. Amy is a 4.0 student and a member of National Honor Society. She is active in Grand Street Theatre and in her church youth group. She participated in a mission trip to Vancouver, BC last summer and to the Blackfeet Reservation this summer. In August, Amy will be competing in the Distinguished Young Women scholarship program competition in Cut Bank. Because of her personal experience with her sister’s addiction to drugs and alcohol, Amy is determined to advocate for healthy choices and to be a positive role model for her peers.

St. Peter’s Hospital

St. Peters Hospital purchased 10 of the 33 tickets collected by Youth Connections to be given to local youth. The tickets were purchased in the alcohol-free section of the rodeo and were given to youth to provide an opportunity for those who may not otherwise get the chance to experience a rodeo.






HAVE A NOMINATION? Please email and tell us why this individual has stood out in your crowd.

teen screen normal or not, teen screen can tell you - By Tracy Moseman

ne minute you are engaged in a lighthearted conversation over dinner with your fifteen- year-old daughter about her afternoon trip to the lake with friends. The next minute, she becomes defensive when you ask what her evening plans consist of. She yells something that you can’t understand, bursts into tears, storms to her room and slams the door. You are left with a half-eaten piece of pizza in your hand wondering ... is it something I said? What just happened? Was that my daughter? IS THIS NORMAL? Sound familiar? Adolescence is a time of tremendous change for teens as they wrap their minds around who they are and where they are going. Mixed in the middle of these life changing decisions is the fact their hormones are also trying to stabilize. Complicating this situation even further is the fact that sometimes these signs are a normal indicator of youth development, while other times these rapid changes in mood can signal mental health issues including substance abuse. But how is a parent supposed to sort this out? The owner’s manual didn’t tell us that. Teen Screen is a free mental health check-up offered annually to all students 9-12th grades in the Helena School District. Through this voluntary screening, families are given the opportunity to sort through these signs to determine if their child’s behavior is a normal part of growing up, or if their behavior is symptomatic of a deeper issue that could benefit from the support of a professional. The screening is confidential, and has helped many families in the Helena area to answer the age-old question…. IS THIS NORMAL? Mental health issues impact 1 in 5 students in our community. Historically, mental illness has been stigmatized, but it is clear through these numbers that mental illness and substance issues can impact any family. Being armed with tools to identify these issues so the child can receive help is critical to their success. Remember, parents and their children need to navigate the world of adolescence, but there are resources such as Teen Screen that can help. Even if your child has been screened in the past, remember health check-ups should be conducted annually, because a lot can change in the health of a teen in a year. If you have more questions or would like to sign your child up for screening during the 2011-2012 school year, please visit the Youth Connections web-site at and download the consent form. Print, sign, and send back to:

Teen Screen // c/o Helena School District // 55 S Rodney St, Helena, MT 59601

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teseon s ca il a parents’ guide:

&media - By Terri Norman: Business Education Teacher, Capital High School


oday’s teenagers are increasingly connected to one another and to the entire world via digital technology more than ever before. Visits to social media sites have surpassed web browser site visits, and social media sites have become one of the most popular internet activities among teenagers. Teenagers have different strategies for communication than those of the past, and this change in communication can impact our youth and their roles in society. Social media sites provide a way to interact with others who share the same interests and socialize with friends and family near and far, allowing users to interact with others all over the world. It is imperative that parents talk with their children about social media and monitor their online social media use to help them navigate this ever-growing social world. Parents, educators, and the community need to help children become more media-savvy, to understand the value of personal information, and to be safe online. As a parent, it is important to provide family support and positive family communication — two of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. Socialization skills in children are best learned in real life situations, and parents can play an integral role in fostering positive communication in their children.

Provide opportunities to communicate with your children (in the car, during family game nights, etc.) and encourage and reinforce to children the importance of communication. Ask questions and engage your children in interactive, meaningful conversation. During regular conversation, ask your children about social media and how they use it and use the foundation of Media Literacy (refer to page 17) to help them critically think through how social media can be used in both a positive and negative way. Discuss with them how to keep themselves safe in social media situations, and about appropriate items to share on social media sites. Here are a few things parents can do to help their children use social media sites safely:  Learn about these technologies firsthand—create a social media profile yourself and learn about the privacy settings and how best to utilize them.  Let your children know their use of technology is something you want and need to know about.  Emphasize everything sent over the internet (or any technology device) can be shared with the entire world.  Teach children to use good judgment when posting information and photos on social media sites, and how to safely protect their personal

information and identities.  Talk to your children about cyberbullying, and encourage them to report bullying and harassment to a trusted adult.  “Friend” your children on social media sites, and monitor their online social media use. As humans, we are drawn to conversation and connection to others. Social media sites have become a proven way to allow us to communicate and learn about others without the face-to-face interaction. Although our world has become highly technological, these online ways of interacting are not likely to replace the constant need for love, communication, and connection with each other. Challenge your children to think about what a “friend” is, and the values related to friendship. Words like caring, trusting, and supportive should come to mind. Discuss the differences between a faceto-face friend and an online friend, and how the values of friendship may vary in these circumstances. Encourage children to consider what they post on social media sites, and just how much information they are sharing with “casual” online friends. Social media can be a great avenue for children to grow and interact using technology, and with family guidance and support, children can benefit from the technological advances in the world today and into the future. ■

turn the page for social media statistics






of active users log on to Facebook in any given day*

750 million


*Information obtained from; ** Information obtained from ; *** Information obtained from the following video link:

There are more than

active Facebook users*

A new poll shows that


of teens have a Facebook page, and of those users


say they check into the social networking site continuously throughout the day**

Facebook has now overtaken Google as the



People spend over


700 Media billion MINUTES PER MONTH on Facebook*

Statistics The average Facebook user has

130 “friends�*

3 out of 10


check their profile at least once a day, and those who have access to Facebook on their mobile device admit to being continuous users**

site visited on the web globally!* SEPTEMBER 2011

= 1,000,000 links shared = 1,484,000 event invites = 1,323,000 tagged photos = 1,851,000 status updates = 1,972,000 friend requests accepted = 2,716,000 photos uploaded = 2,716,000 messages sent = 10,208,000 comments** made = 1,587,000 wall posts

According to the survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, nearly



20 facebook minutes on


For more information about social media and staying safe online, visit:

Get your free copy of the book and calendar of events at any Lewis & Clark Library branch in Helena, Augusta, East Helena & Lincoln Montana.

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40 developmental assets

september 24 october 22, 2011

40 Developmental Assets are essential qualities of life that help young people thrive, do well in school, and avoid risky behavior. Youth Connections utilizes the 40 Developmental Assets Framework to guide the work we do in promoting positive youth development. The 40 Assets model was developed by the Minneapolis-based Search Institute based on extensive research. Just as we are coached to diversify our financial assets so that all our eggs are not in one basket, the strength that the 40 Assets model can build in our youth comes through diversity. In a nutshell, the more of the 40 Assets youth possess, the more likely they are to exhibit positive behaviors and attitudes (such as good health and school success) and the less likely they are to exhibit risky behaviors (such as drug use and promiscuity). It’s that simple: if we want to empower and protect our children, building the 40 Assets in our youth is a great way to start. Look over the list of Assets on the following page and think about what Assets may be lacking in our community and what Assets you can help build in our young people. Do what you can do with the knowledge that even through helping build one asset in one child, you are increasing the chances that child will grow up safe and successful. Through our combined efforts Helena will continue to be a place where Great Kids Make Great Communities.

turn the page to learn more!

All services are free and confidential.

1205 Butte Ave, #2, Helena • 406.422.1011 •







assets in action 30


external assets Support

1. Family support: Family life provides high levels of love and support. 2. Positive family communication: Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s). 3. Other adult relationships: Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults. 4. Caring neighborhood: Young person experiences caring neighbors. 5. Caring school climate: School provides a caring, encouraging environment. 6. Parent involvement in school: Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.


7. Community values youth: Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth. 8. Youth as resources: Young people are given useful roles in the community. 9. Service to others: Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week. 10. Safety: Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.


Boundaries & Expectations


11. Family boundaries: Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts. 12. School boundaries: School provides clear rules and consequences. 13. Neighborhood boundaries: Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior. 14. Adult role models: Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. 15. Positive peer influence: Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior. 16. High expectations: Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.

Constructive Use of Time

22 12





17. Creative activities: Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts. 18. Youth programs: Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in the community. 19. Religious community: Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution. 20. Time at home: Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.

If you or your child would like to submit a picture that represents one of the 40 Developmental Assets, please email with a picture and the number of the asset the picture represents.

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.


internal assets Commitment to Learning

21. Achievement motivation: Young person is motivated to do well in school. 22. School engagement: Young person is actively engaged in learning. 23. Homework: Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day. 24. Bonding to school: Young person cares about her or his school. 25. Reading for pleasure: Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

Positive Values

26. Caring: Young person places high value on helping other people. 27. Equality and social justice: Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty. 28. Integrity: Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs. 29. Honesty: Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.” 30. Responsibility: Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility. 31. Restraint: Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.


Social Competencies

32. Planning and decision making: Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices. 33. Interpersonal competence: Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. 34. Cultural competence: Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds. 35. Resistance skills: Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations. 36. Peaceful conflict resolution: Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.


Positive Identity

37. Personal power: Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.” 38. Self-esteem: Young person reports having a high self-esteem. 39. Sense of purpose: Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.” 40. Positive view of personal future: Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.







what’s the harm? emerging tobacco products

he tobacco industry is marketing new smokeless and spit-free tobacco products to a whole new generation. The new products are flavored so they appeal to people who aren’t used to using tobacco. They’re addictive because they contain as much if not more nicotine as cigarettes. They’re discreet, because they’re in shapes and forms that were never associated with tobacco before, mimicking teabags, breath strips, mints, and toothpicks. And these new tobacco products are not regulated in the same way as cigarettes. The latest group of tobacco products isn’t yet readily available in Montana, but you may have seen them advertised in popular magazines. Orbs, sticks, strips and snus – these are some of the products that may be coming soon to a convenience store near you. See the products on the right-hand page for more details.

What’s the Harm? While these products don’t produce the cancer-causing smoke that cigarettes do, that doesn’t mean they’re harmless. Many are so new their full impacts on health have yet to be scientifically established. Still, all contain nicotine, the highly addictive substance that makes cigarettes so hard to quit. By itself, nicotine can raise cholesterol rates, increase blood pressure, and accelerate or aggravate heart disease. It also can cause reproductive disorders.






Because the nicotine in these products is in a form more rapidly absorbed in the mouth, it may be even more toxic than the nicotine contained in cigarettes. A researcher with the Harvard School of Public Health has estimated that the nicotine in 10-17 orbs could kill an infant. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug,” the Harvard official told The New York Times, “and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children.”

tobacco companies market to youth In the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), the major cigarette companies and UST (the biggest spit tobacco company) promised not to “take any action, directly or indirectly, to target youth. . . in the advertising, promotion, or marketing of tobacco products.” These companies claim they have fully complied with the settlement and stopped marketing to youth. But studies show that tobacco-industry spending on marketing has almost doubled since the settlement, with much of the increase going toward strategies that reach and influence kids. Big Tobacco is actively capturing data about their young targets. They know their future customers’ taste in music and fashion, what products they might prefer, and how to reach them. Youth are highly influenced by retail store promotions, and half of all Montana high school students report experimenting with smoking,

- By Katie Martin

according to the just-released Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The tobacco companies themselves have revealed their marketing strategy. Here are some quotes from internal tobacco documents:

“New users of smokeless tobacco, attracted to the products for a variety of reasons, are more likely to begin with products that are milder tasting [and] more flavored.” –U.S. Smokeless Tobacco report

“Growing interest in new flavor sensations (i.e. soft drinks, snack foods) among younger adult consumers may indicate new opportunities for enhanced flavored tobacco products.” –Lorillard internal memo

the next generation


Small pellets that look a lot like breath mints. Made from finely milled tobacco, they dissolve in the mouth within a few minutes. They come in sweet “Mellow” and minty “Fresh.”


advertising examples These new products are being advertised in magazines that have high youth readership. You can find ads for snus in People, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and even Sports Illustrated. The ad taglines say things like:“Air Guitar Friendly,” “Date Friendly,” “Just Say No To People Saying No,” “Be Heard, Not Herded,” and “Rock Your Own Anthem.”

Nicotine-laced tobacco sticks about the size of a toothpick. They dissolve in the mouth in about 5-20 minutes and deliver almost three times as much nicotine as a cigarette.

strips Look and feel like dissolvable breath strips, but are made of tobacco. Dissolve in the mouth in seconds and, even though the flavor says ‘Fresh,’ they don’t make your breath fresh.


A spitless modification of chew, snuff, and other smokeless tobacco. Snus (pronounced “snoose”) comes in small teabag-like pouches to be placed between the lip and gum. The harsh flavor of tobacco is masked by flavors like “Frost,” and “Peppermint.” Sound enticing, don’t they? The tobacco companies sure hope so! For more information on these new products, contact Katie Martin at 447-8363.

Who do you think these messages are aimed at?

Timothy C. Ballweber, D.D.S., M.S. l i m i t e d t o o rt h o d o n t i c s f o r c h i l d r e n a n d a d u lt s


back to school

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funny bone

foundations of

percentage of chart resembling


media literacy edia Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate and create messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy. (Adapted from materials produced by the Center for Media Literacy, Media literacy is the ability to understand how mass media work, how they produce meanings, how they are organized, and how to use them wisely. The media literate person can describe the role media play in his or her life. The media literate person understands the basic conventions of various media, and enjoys their use in a deliberately conscious way. The media literate person understands the impact of music and special effects in heightening the drama of a television program or film ... this recognition does not lessen the enjoyment of the action, but prevents the viewer from being unduly credulous or becoming unnecessarily frightened. The media literate person is in control of his or her media experiences. ■

Resembles Pac-man

Does Not Resemble Pac-man




Every Friday Night From 6:00-9:00 42 N LAST CHANCE GULCH

Changing the future two lives at a time 442.6950 x208



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Florence crittenton oFFers a wide range oF services to parents oF all ages, inFants and toddlers in the community: Prenatal Childbirth & Parenting Preparation Classes Circle of Security® Parenting Classes Group, Individual and Family Therapy Lactation Consulting Post Partum Depression Therapy Early Childhood Social-Emotional Assessment & Consultation Parent/Child Psychotherapy for children ages 0-5 Substance Abuse Services Equine Assisted Therapy






youth connections online

TOOLS FOR PARENTS here’s what you’ll find:

>> Calendars with community meetings, community trainings, youth activities, events and more >> Submit your events to our calendars for the community >> Subscribe to calendars >> 40 Developmental Assets >> 6 Prevention Strategies >> Media literacy lesson plans >> Tools For You >> YC Magazine flipbook >> Monthly newsletters SEPTEMBER2011 2011 | | YC YCMAGAZINE MAGAZINE | | 18 18 SEPTEMBER

media literacy

perception vs. reality lthough humans are made up of bones, muscles and organs, I think it is fair to say much of our makeup is like a sponge. Not in the literal sense of course, but we absorb information in every moment of the day. Much of this information absorption is done in a subconscious way, but we also knowingly take in information, process it and either retain or dispose depending on the usefulness of it. So what gets thrown away, and what gets retained and put in the “truth” compartment in our brain? What do we believe and what do we not believe? Often, we as humans assume if it’s put “out there,” it must be true. But what if it’s not? Are we willing to use our own critical thinking skills to determine what is real and what is not? For instance, we see on the news some kids got caught smoking pot at school. What is our natural reaction to this? For many it may be “kids today” or “our kids just don’t know any better.” Certainly the reality in this situation is there were some kids who aren’t making good



decisions, so our perception becomes that all teens are using pot. However, the reality or “norm” is a majority of youth are making good decisions and doing great things in our community. Thankfully, in our community we are not exposed to as much negative “news” compared to big cities. Local Helena media outlets like the newspaper, TV and radio are tasked with balancing reports from a broad spectrum of community happenings using both positive and negative messages. In essence, the news isn’t news unless it’s abnormal. Can you imagine the lead anchor leading

Butterflies taste with their feet.

Positive social norming is creating a positive message around what is normal or true rather than perceived. Take the example of the ad about seat belt usage in Montana. The message “3 out of 4 Montanans are wearing their seat belts” will persuade people to participate in the positive behavior as well as reinforce those already wearing their seat belts. So why is it important for us as adults to help our young people critically think through this information and to do the same ourselves? Our natural tendency as humans is to do the popular thing. But if our perception is different than reality, then we are being misled. Whether we are talking about students or adults, there will always be a few who will ruin the perception for the whole. We must remind ourselves that a majority of our youth ARE making good decisions, and let us, as a community, focus on the positive. Our future is bright, because there are so many amazing kids in our community doing the right things. ■

the broadcast with, “Today at a local bank, business happened as usual, and customers deposited and withdrew money from their accounts?” Of course we won’t hear that, because that’s normal and not worth reporting. So what is our responsibility while watching the news? We simply must realize that much of the news reported to us is not the norm. We can’t let it persuade us by making us think that it is normal. So what is our role as the sponge? We must critically think through the process and remind ourselves that many times media messages create perceptions which become the norm.

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.







Q. Knowing that technology is a big part of teenagers lives, what benefits and challenges does technology provide in employing young people at your business?

A. The positives to having teens have technology in the workplace is that

A. The benefit of having the technology we do is that it

if employees’ parents need to get a hold of them, their cell phone are

is easy to contact my employees. Texting is an easy way

an easy way to do that, and they don’t have to call the theatre number

to get shifts covered and to communicate while I am away

and have someone track them down. Having cell phones makes getting

from work. Also, by texting, I have everything in writing.

shifts covered and changed easier, and if an employee is late, I can get

I can use my texting records for accountability for my

a hold of them immediately. Our business is very dependent on staying


on a schedule, whether that be the cleaning crew or the projectionist,

However, it is hard to keep many of them from using

so knowing the time is essential for us. With our employees having cell

their phones while on shift. That convenience of being

phones, everyone knows the time, and because the cell phones all say the

able to communicate so easily can be a downfall, as well.

same time, we are all on the same schedule.

Conversations can be carried on, and texting seems to

Our customers have the same technology and it can be a real perk. For

be the main way for teens to communicate, and for this

instance, we don’t have kids asking us to use the phone very often to

reason they have a hard time not having the distraction of

coordinate rides. Also, our customers are also able to pull up the codes for

their phones.

coupons on their phones right there at the cash register if they didn’t get a chance to print it out before coming to the movie.

Also, I need to put in extra training for some of my teen employees because their one on one communication

One of the biggest distractions cell phones cause at our work is the use

skills are not as sharp as they could be because of the

of internet. Having access to the internet so easily makes it hard at times

dependency to communicate via text. That one-on-one

to keep people focused on their jobs

communication is essential for the success of our business.

MICHA: Assistant Manager, Cinemark 8


Kathy: Manager, Great Northern Carousel

If you would like to submit a question to Youth Connections to be answered by someone on our panel, please email the question to Not all questions are guaranteed to make the magazine, but we will do our best to answer your question via email.

Helena • East Helena • Townsend • Lincoln • Avon • Wreck Master Certified • Flat Tire Changes • Fuel Delivery • Light/Medium Duty Truck Towing • Lockouts • Jumpstarts • Winchouts • Flatbed Car/Truck Carrier

Helena Towing Service 24 HR TOWING & RECOVERY Licensed • Insured • Dependable

443-4TOW (4869)

Boulder-Basin • Wolf Creek • Canyon Creek • Elliston







Local businesses support youth attending rodeo in alcohol-free seating section hrough the work of the Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA) committee, local youth were given the chance to attend this year’s rodeo, sitting in the alcohol-free sections. A few years ago, Youth Connections approached the fairgrounds requesting they provide a section that was alcohol-free and the fairgrounds obliged. This year the committee wanted to take it a step further by approaching our community to purchase the tickets so that local youth who may not otherwise get the chance to attend the rodeo could do so in a family-friendly environment, while providing an example for these youth that fun can be had without the need of alcohol. ■



A skunk’s smell can be detected by a human a mile away.

natural and conventional

the ideal blend of medicine

Thank you

to the following businesses and community members for their purchase of tickets for the rodeo:

St Peter’s Hospital Erin Inman American Federal Helena Towing Marsha Davis Rita Cortright Terey Flynn Artz Lisa Scates MOGA - Big Hearts Under the Big Sky

You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV.

“Dreamt” is the only word in the English language that ends in “mt”

Be careful what

you pass down.

Pediatric Care

• Well Child Exams • Newborn Screenings • Food Sensitivity Testing

442.8508 33 Neill Avenue

When you use spit tobacco, you’re passing down a higher risk of cancer and hypertension. Spit tobacco may also lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Stop spit tobacco addiction.

(across from Starbucks downtown)

For help, call the Montana Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

A Provider For Montana tobacco Use Prevention PrograM – Department of public HealtH & Human ServiceS

Dr. Jeff Roush






ENGAGING your child - By Pam Birkland

Across the country, the way in which parents are engaging in their childrens’ learning is being reframed. Schools, the community, and parents are sharing the responsibility for students’ learning and achievement.

arent and family engagement becomes even more beneficial when it starts at birth and continues to college and when it takes place wherever and whenever children learn. Over 40 years of research confirms that family engagement improves school readiness, student achievement, and graduation rates. While many Helena parents go to their students’ schools to volunteer in classrooms or chaperone events, this is only one of many ways that parents and families might engage in their child’s learning. A very important part of the parent’s responsibility is to make sure that their children have adequate food and rest and that they are healthy and ready to learn. Parents can also make sure their home environment is supportive of learning. An easy way for a parent or family member to engage in their students’ learning is through conversation with their children. Simple dinner conversation about what is happening at school is a great way to get started. Communication with the school is another way to be involved. All Helena schools produce monthly newsletters and the district and the schools all have websites with a wealth of information for parents and the community. Another great resource for parents is www. All classrooms have telephones and each staff member has an e-mail account ensuring that parents have easy access for two-way communication. PowerSchool, a web-based student management system, allows parents access into the school’s student management system. Parents of fourth through twelfth grade students receive an account for the parent portal that allows them the ability to access data such as their child’s grades, assignments completed, and






attendance. Parents can support their children by utilizing district and school information resources in order to become fully informed regarding their student(s) education. Attending parent conferences at the elementary and middle schools twice a year also affords parents the opportunity to partner with the schools on behalf of their child (children). A guide for how parents can prepare for conferences prior to the date is posted on the district website at Some of our Helena schools have implemented the Parent Home Visit Project at the Pre-School and Kindergarten level. By participating in a home visit, parents have an opportunity to build a relationship with their child’s teacher and share their hopes and dreams for their child. Parents in Helena have an excellent opportunity to influence decisions made both at the school and district level by participating in annual climate surveys. Parents, students, and staff feedback is collected each year in the late fall via a web-based survey posted on each school’s website. Feedback collected is used to make decisions during school improvement planning. Finally, parents are encouraged to join their school’s Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) or parent advisory councils. When parents and schools share the responsibility for each child’s education, meaningful and lasting results are produced. According to Anne Henderson, author of Beyond the Bake Sale, “When parents are involved in their child’s education at home they do better in school. And when parents are involved in the school, children go farther in school— and the schools they go to are better” (Henderson & Berta, 1994). ■



Percentage of people who talk more online than they do in real life.


Number of minutes it takes the average person to fall asleep. SHD IR Youth Connections 0211


Percentage of plant life that is found in the ocean.


Number of letters in the Hawaiian alphabet. There are 5 vowels (a, e, i, o , u) and 7 consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w).


Sounds travels almost five times faster underwater than in air.

9:53 AM

Page 1

115Years of Caring • Residential and acute psychiatric care for children • Clinical and laboratory medical genetic services for people of all ages Proud to be Montana’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital

1000+ Number of times a hummingbird’s heart beats per minute.


406-444-7500 1-800-447-6614 2755 Colonial Drive Helena, MT 59601







bike to school

everything you need to

bikes helmets lights locks

and much more!

801 N Last Chance Gulch 406-442-4644 STORE HOURS: Mon-Fri 10-6 and Sat 10-5

We’re currently collecting sports & recreational gear All proceeds from the Gear Swap will financially help students participate in positive activities outside the school day.

To donate contact Tyler 324-1078 /


funny bone

Put your right foot in.

Put your right foot out.

here’s how you do it:

student accounts

the hokey pokey

 Free checking  Free atM/Visa check card  Free Box oF checks  Free e-stateMents  Free internet/phone access  scholarship opportunity Federally insured by NCUA

yes Shake it all about. Do the Hokey Pokey. Turn yourself around.

*Some restrictions apply.

9 1 5 Kessler // 1 9 3 0 P ro s p e c t / / 4 4 0 5 N M o n t ana 4 0 6.4 43 . 5 4 0 0 / / w w w. t h e c u 4 u . o rg



Has your right foot previously been in?





That’s what it’s all about.

S n g i S g warnin at e b y a m o h w e of someon

e D I C I U S F O rISK ty

li e in persona brupt chang

> > > > > > > > > a

y prized Giving awa s possession ide attempts Previous suic hol use r ug or alco d in e s a re Inc eight ce, either w n a rb tu is d eating gain or loss r too ance, eithe rb tu is d p e Sle o little much or to tion lerate frustra to to y it il b a in usness nd rebellio a l a w ra d h Wit d sing to spen o o h c d n a g isolatin time alone

> > > > > > > > > > >


e in pe

Flat a


ffect o

r depr

hygien e

essed Unusu mood ally lo ng gri (varies e f re with d ifferen action t youth Overa ) ll hopel sense of sa essne d n ess an ss d Flat af fect or depre ssed m Unusu ood ally lo n (varie s with g grief reac ti differe nt you on Overa th) ll sens eo hopele ssness f sadness an d Increa se in h ostilit y Decre ase in acade mic pe Diffic rforma ulty co nce ncentr ating Recen t famil y or re lationa l disru ption

what you can do tO save a liFe > if you see the signs, ask the person, “are you suicidal?� > Offer hope, don’t leave them alone, and tell others the person to the nearest eR, call the police, > take take them to a health care professional or > Call the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) suicideprevention


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Jerry Hamlin - President

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