The Georgia Teen Institute Experience
Georgia Teen Institute offers a variety of educational, personal growth, recreational and social experiences. Individually, each workshop and meeting has its own purpose and plan. As a whole, our program provides a balance of planned instruction, individual and group sharing of ideas and strategies, team building, individual enrichment and fun! A typical day consists of:
Participants all gather together daily for educational and motivational sessions. Each session provides an opportunity to come together as a large group, participate in energizers, win door prizes, hear important announcements and be inspired for the day ahead.
Each team will meet daily to participate in team building, assessing local needs and strengths and developing a plan of action to direct their efforts in the coming year. Using the Strategic Prevention Framework model, teams plan at least one project from start to finish that they will implement upon returning to their communities. Teams are facilitated by trained Youth Staff with the help of the teams’ Adult Advisors.
All youth are placed in Family Groups. Ideally, no youth will be in a Family Group with another youth from his or her team to allow them to meet new peers. Groups engage in discussion, reflection, games and activities, all designed to build skills, friendships and self-esteem while encouraging networking among youth from diverse backgrounds. Family Groups meet daily to get to know each other, have fun and experience how a group of strangers become friends by learning to trust and care for each other. Adult Advisors participate in an Adult Advisor Family Group.
Structured free time activities are built into the daily schedule. Every afternoon, participants can choose from a variety of recreational activities including arts and crafts, basketball, swimming, yoga, viewing a movie, shopping at the TI Store or practicing for the TI Performers. Free time varies from day to day, but allows time for participants to unwind with their teammates and others in supervised settings.
All participants, youth and adults, can choose from a variety of workshops offered several times during the week. Topics range from effective peer-focused prevention strategies to other health, safety and wellness information pertinent to youth, Youth Action Teams and adults who work with youth.
On the last night of the program, all participants attend the Golden Pencil Awards Ceremony that highlights teams, staff members, volunteers and others for their dedication to making a difference in their communities. The ceremony also includes the announcement of the prestigious honor of “Team of the Year.” Afterwards, a reception is held to celebrate the teams’ work at Georgia Teen Institute and throughout the year.