The Junction Quarterly The Junction Teen Lifeskills Center, White River Junction, VT INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
V O L U M E
The Junction Approach
The Junctioneers Go Snowboarding
Community Meeting Over Pizza
Letter from the Coordinator
Meet the Junction Staff
I S S U E
M A Y
2 0 1 1
The First Junction Newsletter! As a part of our efforts to connect with Junction supporters and the Upper Valley community at large, we have decided to write a quarterly newsletter. The purpose is to inform the community of all that we are up to; what happens here on a daily basis as well as seasonal activities and special events. We also hope to make ourselves known to those who have never heard of us, those that may need our services, or to those who are in a position to refer a youth to the programs and services we have to offer. We hope you will enjoy this newsletter and we look forward to your feedback and questions. Thank you!
The Junction Teen Lifeskills Center offers a safe and welcoming environment that responds to the needs of youth (ages 15-20) in the Upper Valley by providing resources and guidance, partnering with youth to create opportunities that inspire them to make healthy choices and find meaningful roles in their community.
The Junction Approach In 2008 Junction staff attended a training by the New England Network (NEN) on Positive Youth Development. Positive Youth Development as defined by NEN is “a philosophy or approach promoting a set of guidelines on how a community can support its young people so that they can grow up competent and healthy and develop to their full potential.” Read inside about the Junctioneers snowboarding!
This training strongly influenced our approach to working with youth and how we would present this work to the community. We shifted our focus beyond the negative outcomes
written by Angie Leduc, Coordinator
of youth development like, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and violence to a strength based approach that defines goals, discovers potential and meets the developmental needs of youth. This framework guides us as we work with youth in gaining the knowledge and skills they need to successfully transition from adolescence into adulthood. From this we continue to create and maintain a supportive and safe environment for ALL youth. We are committed to addressing these 5 areas of personal development (5C’s):
Competence: Effectively identifying and meeting one’s own needs. Character: Developing a sense of personal values, ethics and principles. Confidence: Creating a sense of self-worth and personal capacity. Connection: Forming positive social bonds-- feeling safe, accepted and having a sense of belonging. Citizenship: Demonstrating respect for societal and community norms and rules.
The Junctioneers Go Snowboarding! Written by Facilitator of Youth Services, Amanda White Winter in the Upper Valley is long and can take its toll on even the most seasoned residents. In an effort to expose Upper Valley youth to a fun, healthy activity that ensured some time in the sun and physical exercise, the Junction collaborated with Whaleback and Quechee Ski Hill to take the Junctioneers (Junction youth) snowboarding in January and February of this year.
With the inspiration and generous donation from the Chill Program (a snowboarding focused youth development program based out of Burlington, VT), Junctioneers were able to sign-up and gear up for each snowboarding trip. This seemingly simple winter activity provided opportunities for Junction staff to work with the youth on improving upon the five areas of personal development: confidence, character, connection and citizenship.
little experience, we were all beginners. After only a couple practice runs on the bunny hill, part of the group decided they were ready to go up the lift, this young man jumped on with them. After about 20 minutes the group had made it down the mountain, except for him. The staff member who had accompanied the group explained that the young man was having some difficulties, so both of us rode up the chairlift to find him. When we caught up to him he was walking down the mountain - snowboard in hand - feeling defeated, frustrated with himself, and very alone. After assuring him that there was nothing to feel ashamed about and letting him know that it was my first time up the lift too, I encouraged him to try again. I also let him know that if we got tired, frustrated, or scared we could slide down the hill on our snowboards. Several times he got up, only to fall and get upset. We slid down some of the way and had some laughs to take the pressure off. I made sure he knew how brave it was that he had even gone to the top of the mountain, and each time he tried again I complimented his drive and persistence. It took us more than an hour to get down the hill, but for the last 300 yards he was upright and gliding on his board!
One young man in particular was very excited to come snowboarding with us on our first trip. Our group started out on the bunny hill. Although some of us had a
Still feeling insecure and uncertain, he was unsure if he wanted to come with us on the next snowboarding trip, but decided he would give it a try. With a bit
Whaleback Mountain provided a fantastic setting for Junctioneers to Snowboard and do service work
more practice he learned how to control his speed and stop when he needed to without falling. After that, he was pumped and came with us on every trip, increasing his skill and confidence. As a bonus, a new friendship was formed between him and another young man who was also just learning to snowboard. On a separate occasion the young man brought up feelings of frustration at home. He expressed how difficult it was to communicate and relate to his parents. He said that at times if felt as though he couldnâ€™t get anything right at home and he was not good enough and this really brought him down. I tried to conjure the motivation he used to overcome his frustration while learning to snowboard, encouraging him to persevere. My intention was to have him establish some personal goals that would help ease his dissatisfaction at home, and relate those to the achievements he realized while snowboarding. Recalling the determination and resiliency that motivated him to keep getting up and trying again on the snowboard will help him identify and utilize similar strengths that will carry him through this challenge with his family. Continued on page 3
one was. Two young ladies showed up and were full of reasons why they could not make it. I explained to them that they would need to plan on fulfilling their volunteer shift at a different time and I expressed disappointment that they had not informed me of their schedule conflicts ahead of time. Finally, two young men showed up a little later and apologized for being late. We were on our way shortly thereafter. On the ride I was able to express to them how being late doesn’t just reflect on them, that it also reflects on the Junction and the commitment
strates the character and citizenship values we are fostering in these young people.
For the Junctioneers who did not join us for that volunteer opportunity, we had additional conversations with them about why it was important that they honor their commitment. We related it to the expecThe second piece of this activity tations and responsibilities that required that Junctioneers sign up would be required of them in a job for, and commit to, a shift of volunsetting. It was also important that we teer work in exchange for each of expressed how we personally intertheir lift tickets. At the Junction we preted their follow-through. By feel that no one should be excluded clearly stating our expectations as from participation bewell as our cause they lack the confidence “Several times he got up, only to fall and get financial resources, that they upset. We slid down some of the way and had however we don’t would comwant to give the false plete what some laughs to take the pressure off.” impression that things they had always come for free. The work that we had made to Whaleback. agreed to, we reinforced specific exchange requirement opened the During the car ride I recognized positive character traits and exsnowboarding opportunity up to how upset and frustrated I had bepressed our care and support, anyone who was willing to make the come with the situation. Based on strengthening the connection they commitment to do some volunteer the defensive responses I was hearfeel to the Junction family. To date, work. The sign-up sheets for snowing from the young men I knew they each one has completed their volunboarding and volunteering were also could sense that I was upset. teer work. posted side-by-side. This gave the After a few deep breathes I conJunctioneers the freedom to choose sciously made it a point to put my We would like to thank the Chill a shift that fit into their schedule, agitation aside. I then initiated conFoundation, but also put the responsibility in versation about school and the day’s Whaleback, “As we were their hands to remember the time events, and switched my focus onto Quechee Ski Hill, leaving one of that they signed up for. Some of the ensuring we would have a positive and Listen ComJunctioneers completed their service experience volunteering. This was a the young men munity Services without fail, but others found the strategic move to communicate to said, “In the for making this commitment infringed on other the young men that my frustration summer we plans they had made which made it with the situation did not correspond activity possible. difficult for them to follow through. with my feelings towards them perIt is because of should come back sonally and it modeled for them their support that and paint the On one occasion there were five effective anger-management skills. we had the unique Junctioneers signed up for a volunWe ended up having a great time deck!” and valuable opteer shift at Whaleback. As planned, shoveling snow and ice from the portunity to work I had emailed the volunteer coordideck at Whaleback. As we were directly with the Junctioneers in nator there so they would be preleaving one of the young men said, pared with jobs to keep all of us “In the summer we should come crucial areas of personal developbusy. When the time came for us to back and paint the deck,” after he ment. It is our hope that we will be leave, none of the participants were noticed how chipped the current able to replicate this activity in the at the Junction, so I started sending paint had become. This was one of years ahead. messages to find out where everythose yippee! moments that demon-
Community Meeting Over Pizza Youth invited to give feedback regarding the Junction’s Guiding Principles THREE GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF THE JUNCTION This is a safe space.
Conflicts are resolved peacefully at the Junction. We do not tolerate fighting, bullying or threatening other Junction youth. Even if it does not physically take place at the Junction. We are substance-free! We are here to support people who want to stop using. If you use, possess, promote, come in high/intoxicated, or sell drugs at the Junction, you will be asked to leave and may not be allowed to return.
Youth who come to the Junction become part of the Junction community. Being part of our community means that you agree to uphold the three Guiding Principles of the Junction (see left) that were established in 2008. These are posted throughout the space and talked about in conversations on a regular basis. After seeing an increase in new visitors, the Junction decided to call a community meeting in December of 2010 to talk about the Guiding Prin-
ciples, discuss why they are in place, and talk about what the consequences are for disregarding them. Gathered around a table full of pizza, Junctioneers shared their thoughts and opinions. When asked what makes the Junction a safe space, Junctioneers responded that the Junction provides a warm welcome to anyone who comes, that it is a place where they can come to be entertained, have something to eat, listen to music, and find re-
sources. They also mentioned that for those youth who are in (substance abuse) recovery, the Junction is a safe place that they can hang out and not be exposed to substances. They agreed that it would be unsafe to bring drugs to the space and to talk about drug use in a glorifying way. The youth at the community meeting were asked who is responsible for keeping the Junction a safe space, they came to the conclusion that not only Junction staff were responsible, but
We promote respect, honesty and integrity.
You don’t have to like everyone here, but everyone needs to feel safe, respected and comfortable. This is your place, not ours, and it’s up to YOU to take care of it. We expect you will help us keep it clean and safe because YOU care about it.
Common welfare comes first.
We are here to support, help and talk with you. We’ll do our best to respond to your needs and interests, as long as they don’t conflict with what’s good for the group. The way you conduct yourself in the community reflects on The Junction, and that affects everybody here. You need to give the community a reason to support this place; otherwise it might not be around in the future. It’s not enough to NOT break the rules. Everyone needs to do their part to make the Junction a good place both for youth and for the surrounding community. THE
each one of them were as well. We discussed what common welfare means and who is included in the common welfare. It was encouraging to hear the Junctioneers discover through the conversation that common welfare means everyone’s wellbeing is taken into consideration and that it is important to consider how everyone is
affected by an event or circumstance—that includes not only the youth who come to the Junction currently, but also includes staff, volunteers, visitors, the White River Junction community, the Upper Valley community , and future generations of youth who will want to have the Junction to come to. The meeting was a great success because we were able to
reestablish the Junction’s “rules” while empowering the Junctioneers to be leaders and take ownership and responsibility for the sustainability of the Junction. Amanda White Facilitator of Youth Services
Letter from the Coordinator Dear Reader, The year 2010 brought many changes to LISTEN Community Services’ Teen Lifeskills Center, The Junction. After 6 years we saw our previous coordinator, and one of the founding members of The Junction, move on to new adventures. We are very thankful to Nancy Bloomfield and LISTEN for creating The Junction, along with the work of focus groups and local youth. Nancy and LISTEN laid the foundation for the work we are currently doing, and for that we are forever grateful. LISTEN continues to support and nurture us and we are proud to be one of their many programs. Before Nancy’s departure we created a new and much needed position called, The Facilitator of Youth Services. This position’s focus is planning and expanding our activities programming here at The Junction and building a stronger partnership with our youth. We hired Amanda White for this position, which has been a blessing. Amanda’s organization, energy and motivation are contagious. She is very inventive and resourceful, coming up with a variety of activities to offer our youth, including ones that offer a role for our youth in the community. Many of the Junctioneers enjoy participating in the daily and weekly activities. Amanda is also a talented artist adding to the creative element to our space. Our Youth Service Support Staff member, Steve Harper, recently left the Junction in February for a new adventure in Germany. While at the Junction Steve was valuable toward building and sustaining relationships with our youth. Steve was also a junior staff member for Second Growth, making him a valuable resource. We were fortunate to have Steve’s talent and experience on staff here at The Junction. In July we hired Chico Eastridge as one of our newest Youth Services Support Staff. Chico is new to this work, but has the ambition and desire to work with adolescence and is learning quickly. Chico is also very talented in music and the arts and applies these skills well when building relationships with our youth. In February we hired Katie O’Day to our Support Staff team. Katie spent 3/4 of a year as the art director of an afterschool program for adolescents in Germany. Katie is passionate about working with adolescence and is also very talented in music and the arts. We look forward to what she will bring to The Junction community! As sole coordinator now, I feel very fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated team to work with. All of The Junction staff were raised in the Upper Valley creating a strong connection to our community and its resources, which allows us to understand what our youth face growing up in this area. My goal for 2011 is to continue to build upon and sustain community collaborations. I hope to do this by coordinating more services for youth among other community organizations, making them more accessible. I hope to expand our outreach and education efforts in the community, letting the Upper Valley know who we are, what we do, and why we are a necessary program for teens and young adults. We strive to not only be a safe drop-in center for youth ages 15-20, but also a resource center for them, partnering with youth to connect them with the services and supports they need as they transition into adulthood. As a part of outreach efforts we have created a website, thejunctionwr.com, developed an informative brochure, and established this newsletter! If you have the time please check out the website. You will see more about the Junction and what we’re currently doing. You will also find a connection to helpful resources and a blog where you can offer your opinion on specific topics related to youth. Thank you to all of our volunteers, supporters and friends, we couldn’t do this without you! We hope you will stop by sometime and say hello! All my best, Angie Leduc
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."
~ Henry David Thoreau
The Junction Teen Lifeskills Center 18 North Main Street White River Junction, VT 05001
Meet the Junction Team… Angie Leduc, Program Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org Angie grew up and currently resides in Lebanon, NH. She is a Lebanon High School and New England College Alum. Amanda White, Facilitator of Youth Services email@example.com Amanda grew up and currently resides in Hartland, VT. She is a Hanover High School and Goddard College Alum
Chico Eastridge, Support Staff Chico grew up in Thetford VT and now lives in White River and has more fun than just about anybody.
Katie O’Day, Support Staff Katie lived in Lebanon, NH until she was about 20 years old. She then moved to Hartland, VT where she currently resides.
A special thanks to all our Community Supporters... The Upper Valley Aquatic Center Revolution Clothing Store The Chill Foundation Quechee Ski Hill Whaleback Mountain Willing Hands
The Co-op Food Stores Gusano’s Mexican Restaurant Newbury Comics Rondo Music Walmart in W. Lebanon
Home Depot in W. Lebanon LaValley’s Building Supply ReCover Store Lebanon Opera House