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Students Celebrate Being “Above the Influence” During the 38th Annual Northwest Indian Youth Conference in Bellingham, WA

Native American youth from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, California and Canada joined together in Bellingham, WA April 1-5, for a week of activities, workshops, and general sessions that focused on helping teens identify and practice ways to live healthy lifestyles. Each year the Northwest Indian Youth Conference is hosted by a different tribe with a different theme – this year’s conference focused on health and wellness and was organized and supported by the Nooksack Indian Tribe of Deming, WA.

The Above the Influence (ATI) team joined the conference April 2-4, hosting eight interactive ATI activity sessions featuring “Be it” and “Express it.” “Be it” sessions encouraged teens to reflect on their personal brands and how they personally are positive influences to their peers and themselves. Examples of personal brand slogans created in these sessions were “Shoot for the stars, not your arms” and “High on life, not the pipe.” “Express it” gave teens the opportunity to creatively express what ATI means to them in a more theatrical manner. Participating teens created poems, skits and other expressive pieces to showcase how they live above the influence. The sessions engaged nearly 300 teens.

One teen used breakdancing to express how he lives life above the influence.

The team also hosted a photo station where teens took photos in front of the large ATI banner and collected ATI Campaign swag items. Youth were also encouraged to share their photos on the ATI Facebook page and on Instagram using the hash tag #ATIpride.

Teens shared photos on Instagram using hash tag #ATIpride.

Teens left each interactive activity session with a better understanding of the Campaign and a clear vision of how they can be positive influences in their communities.