ACT recognizes the need to improve the overall health and environmental conditions in order to decrease the risk of suicide and substance abuse. To do so the Wellness Coalitions will focus on creating appropriate ongoing activities which encourage the development of respect, value, and connectedness for all participants. Such activities include leadership training, softball tournaments, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, NANA Nordic and other culturally significant activities. The local Wellness Ambassadors will be used to help coordinate these existing activities and work with other agencies, as needed, to bring new opportunities to participating villages. They will create positive messages to deliver to village residents to build a sense of empowerment and connectedness.
In general, the first year of any community program will be spent creating local level wellness activities which highlight capacity-building and empowerment. A number of programs have been identified to implement immediately and others will be identified upon initial planning meetings of the village Wellness Coalition.
Particular activities could include:
LOCAL SUPERGIRLS, TOUGHGUYS PROGRAM
This program can work with high risk youth and teach positive coping strategies in a fun, confidential, and safe setting. This program can be modified for other interested community age groups where there is interest. The SuperGirls and ToughGuys program is a participatory leadership learning program for all ages. Different life skills will be taught such as creating healthy habits, positive relationship boundaries, affirmations, group problem solving, for teens the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ is used, goal-setting, and other similar topics based on interest of the group. Materials will be made available to group facilitators for use during groups and the participants will take turns convening the meetings to build confidence and to engender ownership.
SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM
A key challenge for the teens and young adults is the lack of opportunity and things to do especially in the summer time. Summer camps can provide a benefit for attendees but often they are only offered for one week. The Wellness Coalitions could establish a summer long camp program which will have one week programs highlighting different skill development such as kayak building, hiking, basket sled building, basketball, skin sewing, other traditional skills, academic skills, along with skills needed for employment such as graphics design, photography, journalism, etc. These camps will be open to all age groups. Young Adult Leaders, 18-24, will not only participate in the program but have the additional responsibility of being camp counselors. The young adults involved will receive training which will promote their own wellness but provide education on peer-peer relationship building as well.
LIFE COACHING FOR ALL INTERESTED ADULTS
The promotion of wellness is a multifaceted pursuit. Many factors need to be addressed such as physical health, nutrition, spiritual depth, and emotional stability. The more in balance these factors are the more happiness a person will experience. Current research on happiness tells us that 50% of our ability to be happy is genetic. The remaining 50% is within our control with only 10% only being our actual life situation. That means 40% of our ability to be happy resides within our behaviors. These skills can be learned, practiced, and mastered starting at a young age. Life Coaching should be made available to every person who wants it. Volunteers, as coaches, will follow a simple yet carefully followed program to check in with their clients on an ongoing monthly basis. This process gives individual attention to each person, starting where they are at currently, and gradually building up their level of wellness across all aspects of their life. Teaching them how to manage their own well -being, set short and long term goals for themselves, and provide tools to them to accomplish these things. Topics of these sessions will include plans for physical exercise, healthier food choices, creating positive support systems, coping techniques, examining internal beliefs and values, and other similar things. These life coaches are not trained psychologists. They will receive training and support for these session but the sessions themselves will not require a person to have further certifications.
TEEN CENTER PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
A top priority for many communities is the creating of a Teen Center so that there is a place for the teens and young adults to go. The Teen Center could be responsible for certain activities of the Wellness Coalition such as ongoing Talking Circles, weekly games, and or a Dance Crew Competition. Small group competitions will be started to encourage young adults to participate in a format of dance that suits them. Categories of dance can include traditional, modern, and combined.