Special to SEGAZINE
Seeing is believing and that’s what a group of local collaboratives hope to accomplish April 28-30 of the upcoming year.
The Board of Education recently approved the Teen Maze program for Brantley County High School ninth and 11th graders to participate with area community leaders, agencies organizations and businesses contributing to the unique educational opportunity.
Teen Maze is an event that provides a safe and controlled environment for students to face consequences of randomly selected lifestyle choices often associated with risky youth decisions and behaviors.
Brantley will host approximately 1000 kids to the life scenarios with a mock run through for the community, parents and BOE members participating in the first viewing, according to Laura Kelley of Brantley County Family Connection (BCFC) and coordinator of the event.
The Teen Maze is designed to be like a large-scale interactive game, only the consequences are presented in a realistic and hands-on way with the goal of the program to increase the understanding and awareness of personal responsibility in making the right personal choices.
Community leaders met last week to choose scenarios that would best fit Brantley County teens and the temptations they face here in the community before finalizing the details. The final scenarios will be sent before a school initiated morals committee to preview the group’s scenario suggestions incorporating youth, adults and parents all working together to create healthy youth opportunities.
Several agencies that will be involved in this year’s upcoming event include the Board of Education, the Extension Office, Brantley County High School, the Department of Public Health, Department of Family and Children Services, the City of Hoboken, the City of Nahunta, Brantley Bo-Kays, Frye Funeral Home, the Department of Child Support Services, Okefenokee Technical Collece, local pharmacies, Brantley Sheriff’s Department, EMS, DFACS, the Brantley Health Department, school counselors, Unison Behavioral Health, representatives from the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Brantley County Family Connection, ROCKS, the Brantley Civic Organization, local faith leaders and many local organizational leaders to name a few.
The Teen Maze approach helps teens realize the potential consequences of the choices they make regarding sexual activity, technology and substance abuse by drawing cards or spinning wheels to indicate their choices with pre-determined consequences. The “life-size” game takes about 2 hours to complete with students visiting booths and watching demonstrations.
Participants are then set to walk away with the knowledge that many decisions are final and sometimes fatal. The teens will be given the knowledge and will have the opportunity to see end results allowing them to make better choices thereby ensuring a successful future.
The Teen Maze project also provides resources for teens with potential problematic issues and opens the door for conversation on a variety of topics.
“The reality that hits the teens as the walk through is amazing,” said Ambi Bess Southeast Georgia Health District Health Promotion coordinator, who has participated in several of the Teen Maze events in other south Georgia counties.