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Training camp hosting local students

December 13, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

JULIAN — More than 30 high school students from across Imperial County are spending two days at a camp near here to learn more about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and develop leadership skills to impart that knowledge to other students.

This "training of trainers," hosted by the Imperial County Office of Education's student well-being and family resources division offers students many things, said Shelley Ziegler, prevention specialist at ICOE.

The training's overnight stay at Julian's Camp Stevens puts students in a unique location far from a classroom in the desert.

"It's a chance to get away and meet other people from across the county," Ziegler said.

"They form strong bonds across different communities," she said.

As the students go through exercises to learn about topics such as chemical dependency, they also learn about themselves, said ICOE Program Specialist George Miranda.

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"To be a true leader takes a lot of self-awareness," Miranda said.

Understanding themselves gives students the confidence to be effective leaders, he added.

Ideally, the students will use the retreat's lessons to encourage other students to live tobacco-, alcohol- and drug-free lives.

"We're hoping they take what they receive here and share it," said Antonio Gomez, ICOE prevention specialist.

At the end of the two-day camp, the students will have the chance to demonstrate their knowledge by giving presentations and putting on skits for the group.

Though she had only been there a few hours Wednesday, Calipatria High School sophomore Valerie Vanvors was already enjoying the trip.

"It's more fun when we're out of the Valley," Valerie, 15, said.

>>Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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