Getting to ‘Y’ has been in the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma for three years. They initially incorporated the program into their public health work to engage more with the Youth Risk Behavior Survey data and with their young people. In their third year, they have continued to increase engagement. Three new schools are participating just this year, for a total of six schools. There are returning youth who are now seniors. They started as sophomores, and it is fascinating to see how comfortable they are talking about aspects of Getting to ‘Y’, such as the Youth Participatory Action Research cycle, and to witness their skilled ways of facilitating.
Most of my experiences with GTY teams this year, whether in Vermont, New Hampshire or Massachusetts, have been with new teams. I co-facilitated with a group of students who have been doing this for three years, and their comfort and competence with the program were evident. They were utilizing skills that you don’t typically see in early facilitation. There is real engagement as facilitators; they understand the GTY program and can speak to it well.
It is so encouraging to see GTY in a place like Cherokee Nation. It really is a program for everyone. Seeing it be so successful here highlights the strength of the program. Visiting the Cherokee Nation and being immersed in their culture was extremely special; I was honored to be there to share UP programming and for the opportunity to learn.
Jesse Brooks, Getting to ‘Y’ Program Director