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Inspiring Youth to Find Their “Natural High”

Helping youth find an interest or talent that creates a feeling of joy in their lives is one of the most important paths that adults can help to guide adolescents on. In Presque Isle County, Up North Prevention has been working to provide those opportunities for youth to thrive and find their passions. Kaelie Fessler, Prevention Specialist, is combining her passion for archery and knowledge of the importance of positive alternatives to drugs and alcohol in helping youth to aspire to their own joys. As a certified archery instructor, she is offering free archery sessions for beginners and intermediates. Abby Johnson and Jim Smythe also volunteer for the sessions, serving not only in instruction, but as the connective adults that youth need in their lives. Not only is archery a way for youth to connect to the adults that serve in the program, and to each other, but archery is also a mindful practice. Focus on the body and technique is important in the sport, and done correctly, the process provides archers with calmness, relaxation, self-awareness and a clear mind.

Much of the inspiration to bring archery into the lives of youth through Up North Prevention came from the Natural High curriculum. This curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as well as National Health Education Standards (NHES). The program provides activities designed to help youth develop understanding about the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, and to support youth in learning and practicing strategies to make healthy decisions. Research shows that when young people find their true passions, the activities that lift them up, motivate and inspire them, they are more likely to avoid drugs and alcohol. The “Natural High” concept states, "The core of our work has always been about helping kids find their Natural High — an interest, an activity, or a talent that sparks a feeling that only comes from savoring joyful moments and pursuing your passions in life."

Opportunities to serve as that connective, caring adult that makes an impact on the lives of one or many youths, surround us, it’s simply a matter of stepping up and being available to help youth aspire to greatness.


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