Summer Day Camp in Perth Amboy
By: Gina-Marie Miraglia
Established in 1993, the Perth Amboy Municipal Alliance Prevention Summer (M.A.P.S) Day Camp provides substance use awareness and education to children about the dangers and effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. During the six-week program participants are engaged in fun, recreational and creative activities that help instill decision making skills. Wellspring Preventionists Melisa Damcevska and Gina-Marie Miraglia delivered creative and fun lessons once a week. These lessons focus on instilling important information to help the campers make the best possible choices for their own health.
Here were our weekly highlights:
- During week one we talked about self-image, what it means, and why it is important to see ourselves accurately and positively. We reinforced the lesson by having the students make ‘vision boards’ where they cut out pictures from magazines and create a collage that focuses on what they want to become and their individual goals.
- Week two was all about making decisions. During our decision and consequences activity the campers were provided a realistic teenage dilemmas where they had to clarify the problem, consider all possible solutions, and choose the best option.
- The third week we focused on smoking, vaping, and marijuana. Campers learned how both tobacco products and marijuana harm the body. Then, played a fun game that mimicked the effects marijuana has on short-term memory.
- Week four was geared towards alcohol. We began our lesson with differentiating between myths and facts of alcohol use and ended the day using the impaired vision goggles. While using the goggles, each student had to try to make one shot into a basketball hoop. Though this activity was silly and full of laughs, it demonstrated the strong message of the dangers of impaired hand-eye coordination.
- On the fifth week the campers learned about advertisements. Advertisements are powerful sources of influences that commonly target young people. Campers were broken into groups and were provided an ATOD related ad. The group then had to dissect the ad and answer; what product was being sold, the message implied, and technique of persuasion used.
- On week six we wrapped up our summer program by talking about stress and anxiety. We raised awareness of different stressors that are common in a teen’s life and discussed different types of coping skills and relaxation techniques. We concluded our summer fun with a guided meditation activity.