Planet Youth to host community carnival during Woodstock’s Family Day celebrations

by | Feb 17, 2024

Unique drug and alcohol prevention organization present family event at AYR Motor Centre Feb. 19

A unique drug and alcohol prevention program will help Woodstock celebrate Family Day on Feb. 19 by hosting an afternoon of family fun at the AYR  Motor Centre.

The community carnival hosted by Planet Youth Drug and Alcohol Prevention committee is the kick-off event for the organization’s pilot project on youth drug and alcohol prevention in Woodstock High School, Townsview School and Meduxnekeage Consolidated School.

Based on the successful Iceland-based program, Planet Youth has partnered with the province on a five-year pilot project to reduce youth use of drugs and alcohol using a method called “The Icelandic Prevention Model.”

“Our launch is a community festival. It’s a celebration, a party,” said Horizon Health Community Developer Emily Shapiro, who co-leads the project in the Woodstock area with Population Health team member and nurse Alyson Ross. 

Shapiro explained the Icelandic Prevention Model.

“We focus particularly on protective factors,” she explained. “This is about prevention, it’s not about treatment or addiction, but about understanding the root causes of substance use and supporting schools, families, and the larger community to make positive changes.”

Shapiro and Ross co-lead a community-based local coalition with student-led actions in the three selected area schools.

Planet Youth describes its program by noting that “the focus of the work is on holistic community building and long-term progress rather than standard short-term solutions.”

Shapiro explained the Icelandic Prevention Model is based on universal primary prevention where “everyone in the community is kind of like a client or a participant.”

“Anyone and everybody could be affected by using drugs and alcohol and [they] can be part of the solution.,” she said.

Planet Youth’s Family Day festivities begin with an introduction to Planet Youth and the drug and alcohol prevention methodology.

From 1 to 4 p.m., the carnival in the AYR Motor Centre’s Field House and Gallery Room will feature bouncy castles, popcorn, face painting, team games for youth, interactive games for adults, treats, prizes, and more.

The carnival will feature separate zones for ages eight and under and nine and above.

Woodstock will open the AYR Motor Centre for free family swimming and staking during Family Day.

Woodstock Mayor Trina Jones, a Planet Youth Local Coalition member, encourages everyone to take advantage of the many Family Day activities on Feb. 19.

“It’s great to have a strong community that fosters families connecting with other families as part of overall drug prevention,” she said. “The Town of Woodstock is a great partner and supporter of Planet Youth. We know that Woodstock has many other activities happening that afternoon and evening, so we hope that lots of people will come out and participate,”

Other Family Day events include the Battle of the Badges, which features a friendly hockey game pitting members of the Woodstock Police Force against the RCMP.

Game warmup will occur from 6 to 6:30 p.m., with the game between 6:30 and 8 p.m.

The Planet Youth carnival and all Family Day activities are free of charge and open to everyone.

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