Time to put ideas for youth into action

Guest column

By DANIELLE BONDURANT

For the Hood River News

Teens in our community always complain that there is nothing to do, but last Thursday was the perfect opportunity to make a difference.

Youth from the 4-H program, Positive Youth Ambassadors and other youth volunteers came together to moderate and facilitate a community-wide conversation.

This conversation celebrated the Centennial of 4-H and enlisted the Hood River Commission on Children and Families to organize mini-conversations across the county to talk to youth.

The topic centered on "What would you like to see happen in the next three to five years in Hood River County that would create a better community?"

As a moderator, my role consisted of opening the conference, which hosted over 80 youth and community members in this discussion. As a facilitator, I hosted a small group, helping them with each step of the process.

At the beginning of the night, we were frantically running around wondering what was expected of us. Even though there were many weeks of planning and several other mini-conversations to prepare us for this evening, this event culminated all the previous conversations. We wondered if any one would even come.

Behind the scenes it was a little hectic, but the conference ran extremely smooth, following the process as outlined by the moderators, and generating many good ideas.

While sitting at my small group and discussing the ideas contributed by the members, I was surprised to see that many of the suggestions were similar to past conversations, but many were also very different. Topics in my group ranged from picking up trash to building a teen center.

At the end of the night, when all the ideas were posted, participants voted a teen center as the top priority, garnering over 50 votes. A teen mentorship program for youth took second place, and building a new outdoor theater took third.

Raising the bar on teaching by giving teachers report cards and improving the radio stations for Latinos tied for fourth place.

Being at this conversation and watching everyone work together on a topic that has been so widely discussed left little doubt what our community needs. All the people were so willing to voice their opinions on what would help Hood River in the future. However, the results in this grand conversation matched the same priorities as every mini-conversation. These outcomes also match all the community workshops of the past three to four years. It's time to put these suggestions into action for the future, now!

***

Danielle Bondurant is a senior at Hood River Valley High School.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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