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FMS student attends MDC camp

The Metropolitan Drug Commission recently hosted a weeklong camp for local “tween” girls ages 12-15, June 5 to 9 at the Knox County Health Department. The camp emphasized empowering communication skills, as well as pregnancy prevention education.

Farragut Middle School student Nicole Johnson attended the camp and was awarded “Great Effort” honors.

The camp was designed to build resiliency and communication skills in local middle school girls. Classes provided skills-based, developmentally appropriate training to build on the strengths of each girl to enhance self-esteem, decision-making and life skills.

On the first day of camp, the girls were taken to Riverplains Farm to participate in team-building activities utilizing horse therapy techniques with Dr. Angela Masini. Campers learned how to catch, groom and lead horses while learning about themselves at the same time. This unique psychotherapy approach offers adolescents a focus on responsibility, self-esteem, creative problem-solving, social skills and peer relationships.

Cynthia Hudson of the Knox Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (K.A.P.P.I.) led workshops discussing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Shaken Baby Syndrome and Teen Body Image. Campers also tried on a 35-pound “empathy belly” and took home baby simulator dolls to experience the responsibilities of caring for a child. Knox County Health Department Nurse Practitioner Anita Blatnik discussed pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases and gave a tour of the women’s clinic.

Campers practiced valuable life skills lessons through problem-solving exercises utilizing the evidenced-based Say It Straight program. SIS is a research-based education and training program that results in empowering communication skills and behaviors, increased self-awareness, positive relationships, and personal and social responsibility. The program utilizes a variety of teaching methods including discussion, role-playing, skill-building activities and interactive learning.

Each morning began with warm-up sessions that included line dancing, mambo and freestyle dance time. Afternoons ended with an arts and craft activity, including scrapbooking, journal time and decorating picture frames, tee shirts and tote bags.

As a special treat on the last day of camp, the young ladies were treated to lunch at the Time Warp Tea Room and makeovers at the Knoxville Institute of Hair Design and Cosmetology.

The camp was provided to students free of charge, made possible by funding from the East Tennessee Foundation, First Tennessee Bank and Community Prevention Initiative.

The Knox County Health Department provided use of their community Room. The Metropolitan Drug Commission is a non-profit organization whose mission is to mobilize all segments of our community to eliminate the illegal use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. For more information, visit or call 865-588-5550.


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