Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Chaffee County Communities that Care program (CTC) has moved into another year, and has announced an online event from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, on February 22 called Youth2Youth. This youth empowerment program was developed in Dover, NH. It highlights the kinds of alcohol advertising and the emerging brand methods being used to target youth, which could lead to early substance use.

“This will be a great opportunity to learn directly from youth, and to leave with some resources and a greater awareness of advertising issues around substance use,” says Chaffee County Youth Alliance (CCYA) Coalition Coordinator Craig Bingham. CTC is part of the county’s Family and Youth Initiatives (FYI) programming.

For those not interested in sitting by themselves and staring at their computer screen for two hours, FYI Manager Dibby Olson will be hosting a watching party (complete with snacks and beverages) in the Shavano conference room, 2nd floor in the Touber Building at 448 East First Street in Salida, just around the corner from the FYI office. Those interested in joining that gathering should reach out to Dibby for the details at

This is a free event, but if you want to join on your own you will need to register at the following link:
As it began the new year, the CTC discussed three strategies to continue into 2023:

  •  Social Host ordinances — CTC is working on risk factors, and is continuing its Teen Councils in BV and Salida, as well as coordinating events with youth advisors. The events encourage activities other than partying behavior. One such example; a drive-in event for teens to watch a movie and hang out, rather than trying drink and drug partying behavior.
  • Universal substance abuse curriculum
  • Targeting parental permissive attitudes  – the CTC has pointed out over the years that parents who like to party have tended to have youth who pick up the partying behaviors and the substance abuse habits.

The three goals come directly from what has been learned from the Healthy Kids Colorado survey. With data in hand, Olson says the group notes it “is seeing some promising things for the middle school age group.”

Just over a year ago, the group began what is referred to as the “Listen Longer” campaign. “It addresses the fact we have parents who party; that model normalizes kids who party,” says Bingham. “The thought is to tease out specificity from that language, show parents there is an alternate response from their permissive culture.

Youth from the Buena Vista Boys & Girls Torch Club presented the top priorities for Chaffee County youth at a 2018 Buena Vista Trustees meeting. From left; Emi Brooker, Julianna Martinez, Catie Morgan, Jeremiah Tremble, and Carter Stromer, with CTC Facilitator Miki Hodge.

“It’s about challenging our own habits, creating vocabularies in which we can communicate about substance abuse, and age-appropriate use. About explaining brain development — using the Listen Longer campaign to connect folks to.

The CTC coordinator and FYI are planning small events that parents and children can do together. the idea is to inspire conversations within a household by creating common spaces to connect.

One idea mentioned in the CTC January session was handing out packets of sunflower seeds branded “Listen Longer”. Another, is to create picnic blankets branded with “Make Time to Connect.”

CTC representatives say that normalizing “asking for help” is one of the primary messages for the campaign. But a recent survey showed them that many folks in Chaffee county know that FYI exists, but they don’t know how to connect to the services it can provide. The next stage of the campaign will be announced in a few weeks and it will include public art installations in Salida and Buena Vista that reinforce practical, positive social norms.

CTC coalition meetings have been shifted to bimonthly CTC meetings on odd-numbered months, with flexible “off-month” events on even-numbered months for anyone who is interested and available to join. The next full coalition meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 15.