Family Planning’s Teens Count is a two-week summer program offered to 16 at-risk middle school girls. Teens explore and learn life skills through hands-on activities that address self-esteem, body image, effective communication skills, healthy relationships, and puberty. Teens Count teaches girls the skills they need to make healthy decisions and introduces them to extracurricular activities, which can help them to avoid risky behaviors. Teens Count balances classroom lessons, field trips, and arts and crafts to help capture memories of their experiences throughout the program. Family Planning educators implement the program, lead classroom activities, and chaperon the field trips.
Classroom lessons will focus on building positive communication, healthy relationships, importance of a positive body image and understanding puberty, setting goals and making decisions, and social media pressure. One body image lesson will focus on hygiene, providing girls with tooth brushes, deodorant, and other toiletries. Field trips and other activities will correspond to concepts learned in the classroom. Girls will make scrapbooks of their experiences during the program. This gives them an opportunity to recall the lessons learned and reflect on their experiences. Field trips or events will include a visit from a local cheer leading squad, a trip to a local skating rink, to a local fitness center, to a mountain ropes course for team-building activities, and a day trip to New York City to see a Broadway show.
One program will be held at Walton Middle School in July and another at Johnson City Middle School in August.