Story by Staff Sgt. Theanne Tangen, South Dakota Public Affairs
SPEARFISH, S.D. – The South Dakota National Guard’s Counterdrug Civil Operations program introduced Spearfish Middle School students to Adventure Based Education, Adolescent Drug Abuse Prevention Training Feb. 27 – March 2.
South Dakota is serving as a pilot state for the Adventure Based Education program where students are not only learning about the dangers of substance abuse, but are learning through activities that will assist them in their communication, problem solving, planning, decision making and teamwork skills, said Master Sgt. Kristi Palmer, Civil Operations program manager.
“Last year, the National Guard Bureau chose seven states to introduce the Adventure Based Program. This year, they added seven more,” said Palmer. “NGB chose South Dakota because we were already using ADAPT (Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Prevention Training) a similar program because it uses activities to teach children how to make healthy choices.”
The difference between ADAPT and the Adventure Based Program is the change of focus from drug prevention to five lessons focusing on communication, planning, teamwork, problem solving and individual sense of self.
“I believe using activities to teach students is what makes them excited about making healthy decisions,” said Palmer. “I have seen student’s attitudes and beliefs change through this program.”
To ensure that the program is effective, the students used new technology called Student Remote Devices, to assist in taking a survey on the program.
“We are going to as many schools as possible throughout South Dakota,” said Palmer. “Our goal is to get 1,000 surveys using the Student Remote Devices before the end of the school year.”
The students completed a pre-survey on the first day of training and a post-survey on the final day.
“The Student Remote Devices were faster and easier compared to the paper version with the bubbles,” said Stoen Mollman, 8th-grade student.
“It is amazing how the data from the survey goes directly into the computer and with a click of a button you can assess if the training was effective and understood with the data and graphs,” said Palmer.
Today’s youth have grown up with technology so the transition to the new Student Remote Device was seamless, said Tim Bishop, teacher.
“The students are extremely lucky to have someone with Master Sgt. Palmer’s expertise to come in and talk to our students,” said Bishop. “She does an incredible job engaging the students, interacting with them and making the lessons relevant and fun.”