GAME PLAN week activities encourage students to stay safe around substance use

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Peer Resource and the Wellness Center host their GAME PLAN scavenger hunt on Dec. 6

Throughout the week of Dec. 4, Peer Resource collaborated with the Wellness Center to put on a series of GAME PLAN activities, encouraging students to make safe and thoughtful decisions regarding alcohol and drugs.

With activities such as daily pledges, a school-wide scavenger hunt and a discussion, GAME PLAN stresses eight major concepts in its acronym: Getting around safely, Alternatives to using substances, Monitor (yourself and others around you), Evaluate the consequences, Peer and self pressure, Limits, Awareness of self, surroundings and others and Numbers needed to stay safe. Each letter in the phrase represents an aspect of making healthy choices with substance use. GAME PLAN offers a step-by-step process that educates students on how to make these healthy choices. Senior, and Peer Resource student, Violet Loo understands this decision process and recognizes the importance of it.

“We know that people are going to make decisions, but they should make those decisions and know the consequences of them, know their limits, know that they have a safe ride home and know the different parts that surround it,” Loo said

During the scavenger hunt on Dec. 6 at lunch, students could rotate to different stations that focused on one of the eight steps in a GAME PLAN. The stations blended activities like juggling and popping balloons with important decision-making lessons. Wellness Coordinator Jennifer Kenny-Baum assisted in leading the scavenger hunt, along with Wellness Center therapist Caitlin Severin.

Students gather around the prize table at the end of the scavenger hunt to collect their prizes

“If you go to each of these stations, there is an activity to try to drive home the point around what each letter [of GAME PLAN] means to try to provide education in a fun way for students in the big picture,” Kenny-Baum said.

Participating students were taught the acronym, its definitions and were sent on a search to find different components located at various points around campus such as the South Lawn or Back Parking Lot. Upon completing the activity at each station, students earned stickers and “wellness bucks” that could be redeemed at the end for prizes such as nail polish, notepads and water bottles.

Students could also make a pledge to come up with their own “GAME PLAN” before school or during lunch every day this week. In return, they obtained a free wristband. All students who did pledge also got entered into a daily raffle that contained prizes such as Uber gift cards.

The end goal of this week-long event was not to discourage social activities involving drug and alcohol use, but to make sure that if students do choose to engage in substances, they will be safe.

“Stuff in high school does happen and kids are going to use and that’s just how it is at this age, but it’s important to recognize that we can do it safely and not just try to eliminate it altogether. [GAME PLAN] is trying to promote healthy decision making. We’re not preaching not to do anything,” Loo said.

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Seniors Luna Zirpoli and Elizabeth Ratcliffe trust each other in one of the scavenger hunt activities

The idea of decision making will be helpful to students who do choose to participate in social events that incorporate substance use. GAME PLAN can be seen as an educational opportunity as well.

Junior Luke Pollock is a Peer Resource student who recognizes the significance of staying safe and developing a strategy to reference in critical times.

“GAME PLAN teaches people how to be safe, and that’s the most important part. If they choose to be to be under the influence, they’ll have options of what to do in dangerous situations and we can bring awareness to that,” Pollock said.

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