Project Venture: Positive Prevention for American Indian Youth | 2015

 

Description

“By adopting Project Venture you are joining a new community of youth workers willing to implement a program that is not ‘canned’, but requires creativity and dedication not usually found in other models.”

--- Founder, Mac Hall

Substance misuse has been identified as one of the most troubling health issues facing American Indian (AI) communities. Herman-Stahl and Chong (2002) reported that 17% to 19% of all American Indians’ deaths are related to alcohol. Some epidemiological studies among adolescents indicate that American Indian youth initiate substance use at earlier ages, have more frequent rates or problem use among those who do use, are more likely to have tried multiple substances, and experience more negative social consequences from substance use (Beauvais, Jumper-Thurman, Helm, Plested & Burnside, 2004; May & Moran, 1995; Plunkett & Mitchell, 2000; Oetting, Edwards & Beauvais, 1989; Wallace et al., 2003). Despite reported higher rates of use overall, patterns of drug use for American Indian youth across time parallel patterns seen in the general population of youth (Beauvais et al., 2004; Wallace et al., 2003). Rates, patterns of use and associated mortality rates underscore compelling need for innovation, funding, and implementation of effective prevention efforts focusing on American Indian youth.

The training track Project Venture: Positive Prevention for American Indian Youth (PV) is an outdoors experiential youth development program designed for American Indian youth at high risk for substance use and related problems. Project Venture was developed by the National Indian Youth Leadership Project (NIYLP), an American Indian-owned and -operated, community-based, nonprofit organization with nearly 20 years of experience in youth development. NIYLP has conducted summer youth leadership camps since 1986, from which grew the year-round Project Venture model. In 1990, NIYLP received its first SAMHSA/CSAP grant to implement Project Venture. The program has operated continuously since that time in Native and other communities, regionally, and nationally, with nearly 30 implementations in 11 States.

Project Venture aims to prevent substance use and related problems through:

  • Classroom-based problem-solving and skill-building activities
  • Outdoor adventure-based experiential activities
  • Adventure camps and treks
  • Community-oriented service learning

The program relies on American Indian traditional values to help youth develop positive self-concept, effective social skills, community service ethic, internal locus of control, and increased decision making and problem solving skills. Project Venture was designed for and tested with early adolescents in grades 5 through 9 in American Indian school and community settings (approximately 75 percent American Indian) in rural and low socioeconomic areas.

Who can participate?

Organizations may propose a team of three to five members. Strong preference will be given to American Indian-serving organizations that can provide an organizational leader who delivers direct service to youth, as well as a team with both “hard” and “soft” skills that establishes regular contact with youth. 

Special skills may include technical outdoor adventure skills, first aid, and CPR skills. These skills may be acquired over the course of the first year, using contractors for highly skilled activities until staff are adequately trained. The “soft” interpersonal skills with adolescents are the most critical and the hardest to train.

What is required of participants?

Recognizing that it takes more than a 2-day training to implement new practices or programs, SAMHSA requests that participating NNED Partner teams commit to the full NNEDLearn 2015 training model which includes: Prepare; Learn; Implement; and Sustain. Read more about NNEDLearn 2015. Objectives and expectations for each NNEDLearn stage for PV are as follows:

Prepare

The first stage of NNEDLearn involves preparing the NNED Partner team for the Learn stage (on-site training), and requires that team members:

  • Participate in an introductory webinar.
  • Initial orientation session to determine organizational readiness and capacity. 

Learn

From April 12-15, teams will attend a 2½ day training at the Tamaya Hyatt in Santa Ana Pueblo, NM. Participants will learn:

  • Core components of Project Venture.
  • Strategies for successful implementation.
  • Fidelity as related to implementation.
  • Experiential education, outdoor education and service learning as related to the Project Venture model.
  • Culturally relevant programming.
  • NIYLP’s approach to group development.
  • Project Youth Venture’s implementation at other sites.

Implement

After the Learn stage (on-site training), all PV teams join together in a “community of practice” that receives ongoing coaching to help support uptake of the practice. Team members will:

  • Participate in 4 monthly webinars (dates to be posted on NNED website).
  • Participate regularly in the online discussion forum.

Sustain

NNED Partner teams are expected to pursue efforts to sustain the practice and to demonstrate outcome and impact as appropriate. Teams will: 

  • Complete follow-up evaluations to provide input on outcomes and impact of NNEDLearn 2015.
  • Create an implementation plan that can be supported by local budget.
  • Prepare a formal agreement with participating schools to ensure support, including active participation by teachers in project classrooms.
  • Use community/cultural resources to guide program implementation.
  • Have access to recreational space and equipment.
  • Maintain staff-to-youth ratio of about 1:25 in classroom component and 1:7–15 in community-based component, in addition to teachers (in school) and service staff (community-based).

Trainer

McClellan Hall, M.A, Executive Director, National Indian Youth Leadership Project

Important Dates

  • Application Deadline: February 24, 2015
  • Prepare Webinar: Monday, March 16, 2015 2:00 pm -- 3:00 pm ET
  • Learn Stage (On-site Training): April 12 - April 15, 2015 (Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico)
  • Implement Webinars in:
    • May 2015
    • June 2015
    • July 2015
    • August 2015

Information for all webinars is posted on the Discussion Forum under the "Meeting and Logistics" thread.

Discussion Forum

Access the Project Venture Discussion Forum.