by Archie Inoncillo
June 25, 2004
I can't really say that I'm pissed off about ADFY getting cut, but I am very shocked, saddened and dismayed. I am sure those who voted to cut it do realize what an impact the group has had on youth of the city, but obviously the program lacked something that they found that would deem ADFY worth cutting.
I believe that ADFY was doing its job as a drug prevention and education program. It's not their fault at all that this sort of thing happens. I have a feeling that it was more of a lack of youth involvement to get the ball rolling really. I understand that there are many younger teens that were actively involved and I commend them for that.
I was part of ADFY youth staff for three years, and quite a bit for my senior year, but as a senior I kind of lacked the time to be there - which I wish I was there for more often.
But youth involvement was the defining factor of this entire program. Hence Alaskans for Drug Free YOUTH. If it were just adults doing such a thing wouldn't it be properly titled Alaskans for Drug Free ADULTS? ADFA. Anyway, the comedy of mine is pretty dry as you can tell, but I digress. But yes, the youth was what brought in population and popularity to ADFY. I can remember when ADFY was in its "prime" so to speak. Literally hundreds of students would come to the conference. I remember the buzz about it when I was in middle school. I decided to go my 8th grade year. I always had known that not doing drugs was the thing to do, but this group of people at the ADFY Conference really got me to believe that what I was doing was totally cool and people should respect it. People like Joel Cuplin, Janae Thomas, and Jaylyn Merril, Jon Erickson etc... and anyone else that I cannot remember at the moment.
When I was younger, these older teens really proved that being drug free was a cool thing to do, and that's what got me into it because I know a lot of my friends were just starting to experiment with drugs. I decided to stay true to myself about it all. So my freshman year, I got involved with ADFY, and we had a couple very successful youth conferences while I was in high school.
In my later days of high school, for some reason, ADFY became a joke to quite a few people. Like I would hear "ADFY's STILL around?" or "ADFY's a bunch of hypocrites anyway." It made me wonder about what went wrong with it all at that point. And I figured it out, some teens were getting more involved with drugs and some found it cool to make a mockery of us "clean" folk. Their perception of us would be prim and proper, very stuck up people that tried to drive "Drug free is the way to be" down their throats. Ahem, excuse me?
You have people such as me and others, and they're calling us stuck up? Boy do they have their lines crossed. Anyway, about my junior year of high school I saw the loss of interest in ADFY then.
I know I am being unfair to be pointing out that it was more of the "druggy" youth that made a joke of ADFY but also, I do realize that some of us upperclassmen just didn't have time to spend one hour in Mr. Bolling's room to talk about stuff. I remember quite a few of them, those who graduated this year, say that they just didn't have time to be a part of ADFY with all the activities that they were involved in already, some that had practices that didn't start until 4 or 4:30 when our meetings were held once a week at 3:00 right after school. A lot of them had great intentions by saying "I really wanted to be a part of it, but I didn't have time" or "I wanted to go to meetings but I keep forgetting." I forget who once told me that the world is full of good intentions, but how often do those people act upon their good intentions?
I agree with Mr. Branco when he says to the parents of the community to ask their elementary-aged children what they learned about drugs this past school year. You would be surprised with the great drug education that Joe Branco and Marya Tyler have brought, and all the past ADFY coordinators as well. I can truly say that ADFY has helped me stay outta trouble and kept me "off the street" though sometimes I still find myself on the street painting hills and whatnot - "looking guilty" - but my point in being, ADFY has most definitely brought a lot to the community and the community needs to realize if they have not already the importance of this organization.
I know some of you skeptical adults would say "well why would we need an organization when we could teach our children ourselves about drugs?" Honestly, how often do your children listen to you about such important and pressing issues like drugs? Youth are more influenced by their older peers than parents. And with the lack of involvement with our older teens, I guess I can see why ADFY got cut, but it still doesn't make it right for them to do such a thing. Parents believe it though, your children do listen to you. You probably have no idea how often when they make mistakes you warn them about they'd think "I should've listened to my mom/dad" But they'd never admit it. Anyway just keep urging them to listen about stuff even if there is no ADFY.
I know I will keep steadfast in my being drug free, and you will always see me at least advocating even if they don't care or aren't listening. I just wish that more of my peers stuck with me on it and stayed active with it. I'm kinda sad on that part I guess.
Well, I realize that the best way for me to explain and make points is through telling stories, so I hope you all enjoyed yet again this oh-so fascinating story of mine. I hope it made you think and helped you make a decision of some sort.
OH--Also... Any parents, please urge your children older teens, adult children, middle schoolers, and all around, to get involved and read up on the city issues and politics. I didn't realize until now how much I do care about the city. It is really good to get them reading up on Sitnews. I thank Sitnews for a lot. I love reading viewpoints and seeing what all these wonderful adults have to say. Let's get more youth involved because a lot of them are the future of Ketchikan whether they like it or not. A lot of them wanna get off "The Rock" but a lot of them end up coming back as you can tell. So, get them to at least read what's going on. And if this article helps, then so be it. Well thank you again for the opportunity to write how I feel about such things that are important to me.
See ya Ketchikan.
and do not necessarIly reflect the opInIons of SItnews.