An estimated 200 seventh and eighth graders attended the Socorro Youth Summit, put on by SCOPE Health Council. Middle students came from Sarracino, Cottonwood, Alamo and Magdalena to attend the event at Macey Center.
The Youth Summit was meant to encourage a drug-free community and offer anti-bullying messages.
The event featured light-hearted activities, like an egg drop where students said negative comments to the egg, “Billy,” and then tossed it back and forth to see when the egg would crack. “Billy” was also the focus of an activity about uplifting people through words. The kids tied balloons to a cup holding “Billy” the egg for every positive comment.
The Youth Summit also included a Navajo Shawl Dance performed by Ariel Willie of Gallup and a speech from author and youth speaker Fabian Ramirez.
Organizers gave out books and video games, and there was even a dance-off, combined with a talk about alcohol use.
Kids are used to getting told “don’t, don’t, don’t” on topics like drug use, said SCOPE organizer Samantha Winters, which can become ineffective. The Youth Summit is meant to reach kids where they’re at.
“We wanted this to be positive and show them benefits of not using substances,” she said.
Although some of the topics hit close to home for some students. During a NARCAN training, one child mentioned they have to use NARCAN on a family member at home, said Winters. NARCAN is used to reverse opioid overdoses.