History of collaborating for youth

Collaborating For Youth (CFY), was born out of a desire on the part of community residents and leaders to make community wide changes which would improve the lives and futures of youth in Adams County. A coalition was formed which included 20 to 30 members including schools, churches, government, not for profits, health care, parents and interested citizens. The group was interested in doing something big that would have an impact for years to come and that would set a foundation for creating a caring community that supported healthy youth development. Members reached out to other communities to see what was working.

 

 In 2001 the group applied to be a Communities That Care site and was successful in being selected by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to be trained and supported on this journey. A key leader team was formed and trained as to best practices which were then implemented by the full group. The first community prevention plan was completed in 2002, and it has been updated on a regular basis since that time. This planning process is still used today to guide the implementation of new community programs and ensure the longevity and quality of those that are put into place. Over the years many programs have had their start through this collaborative planning process such as; Nurse Family Partnership, Functional Family Therapy, Multisystemic Family Therapy, Incredible Years, Strengthening Families Program and others.

 

Part of the planning process is to look at trends in what is happening to our youth in Adams County. This is accomplished through a youth survey (Pennsylvania Youth Survey) and through collecting and reviewing other types of archival records (Police, Health, Education, etc.). In addition CFY gets feedback through other surveys, focus groups and community conversations to inform the community prevention plan.

 

In 2003, indicators pointed to the need to address growing concerns about increasing substance abuse. CFY group looked to other communities to identify resources and best practices. In 2005 after a rigorous training academy, CFY became a federally designated Drug Free Communities Coalition. The designation was important as it brought with it technical assistance, continuous training and monetary resources. Since that time concentrated substance abuse prevention strategies have been a part of the Adams County prevention plan. Projects training youth to be prevention leaders (CFY Youth Coalition); implementing strategies to reduce underage drinking such as Parents Who Host Lose the Most, Sticker Shock and Positive Norms Campaigns; and implementing strategies to reduce prescription drug use (particularly opioids) including: educational programs; personal medication lock box program; permanent disposal boxes, and Medicine Take Backs.

 

In 2007, CFY was again asked to grow its sphere of work to address  systemic level issues that create barriers or limit access for youth and families to the services that they need. From things as simple as putting out easy to understand and obtain resource information through directories, to reducing the number of youths being placed in out of home care by creating community-based alternatives.

In 2007 The Center for Youth & Community Development (CFYCD) was established as the nonprofit home for CFY. 2007 also marks the first county wide Pennsylvania Youth Survey with all six school districts in Adams County participating. The first survey was conducted in 2001 of the Gettysburg Area, with Upper Adams and Bermudian Springs coming on board in 2004 and 2005. Up until 2013 CFY secured funds to pay for the survey and provided technical assistance. In 2013 the survey was picked up by a consortium of state stakeholders: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Drug and Alcohol Programs and others. The survey is administered biannually on the odd year and continues to be coordinated by Collaborating for Youth.

In 2009 the CFY Youth Coalition was established. The youth coalition represents youth voices. The first Youth Leadership Camp was held in partnership with the PA National Guard Counter Drug Demand Reduction Program at Ft. Indian Town Gap. Youth leaders learned to meet and effectively manage physical, mental, and emotional challenges through structured activities and experiences. This weeklong camp has served as the initiation and training experience for youth new to the youth coalition. In recent years, the camp has moved to Camp Thompson in Gardners PA. Camp Thompson is owned by the YMCA of Carlisle. Staff provide the physical outdoor challenges while a combination of Camp Thompson and CFY staff and volunteers lead team building activities, teach coalition processes and help youth gain insight into coalition work. Youth graduate from camp with an understanding of how to work together to meet their priorities determined through Pennsylvania Youth Survey data. Youth continue to work on prevention projects such as positive messaging campaigns throughout the school year both in their schools and through a county wide group.

In 2010 CFYCD became the provider for a CFY partnership evidenced based program, Strengthening Families. In 2015 that program was expanded to reach the Spanish language population through Familias Fuertes. In 2018 CFYCD became the provider for Century 21st Afterschool funding which significantly expands the 21st Century programs in Adams County through a partnership with Respective Solutions Group. CFYCD continues to act as a conduit when appropriate for bringing grants and programs into the community that builds the capacity of CFY to fulfill its mission.

In 2020, CFY consistently met and performed as a coalition and support in our communities during COVID-19. Growing in purpose and impact, we engaged in a new endeavor through the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) to better serve Adams County.