Vermont's best asset: youth

Yesterday was a touch more than passably sunny and warm. A great early spring day for a dozen groups of high school students from all corners of our state to celebrate Teen Prevention Day on the Vermont State House lawn in Montpelier.

Under tents, aided by well-done homemade signs, displays, balloons, wristbands, pins, and various other give-outs, each group promoted healthy living ideas, well backed by facts, on topics such as teenage drinking, smoking, suicide, and lackadaisical seat belt use.

Inside Room 11 of the State House, each group presented a short talk in front of a very small handful of legislators. The talks were clearly delivered, backed by strong points bolstering arguments in favor of allowing funding for their prevention work to continue.

A few legislators got up to give a vocal hip, hip, hooray to the kids from their district, while at the same time readying the kids for the inevitable funding cuts stemming from the recent budget.

I spoke briefly on substance use and peer pressure. My words were opinions, not backed by statistics, but backed by my life experiences. I asked the legislators if it's true they get a daily meal allowance? They all nodded yes.

I wandered to the room if next April, Alcohol Awareness Month, the legislators might pay for any lunch and dinner drinks with their own money, not the taxpayer meal allowance. And any meal allowance they save, per day, not buying alcohol, they pool, and donate to the student's prevention efforts.

Here in our fantastic State of Vermont, from Walden to Montpelier and beyond, students, teachers, supervisors, and legislators, are getting a great amount of work done. Now that's good news.

Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at rustyd@pshift.com. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com.

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