Voyager Youth Program was formed in 1997 by a group of concerned mothers who recognized the need for activities which would engage and interest kids, thereby keeping them healthy and safe in the after-school hours and during the long summer months. That year Voyager Youth Program operated its first, six-week summer program funded entirely by local entities and staffed primarily by volunteers. The success of the program expanded to the establishment of an after-school program at our two county schools in Ridgway and Ouray. Voyager Youth Program continues to provide the only full time after-school and summer youth enrichment program in our county. Additionally, we sponsor several anti-drug/alcohol events throughout the year aimed at youth and families.
The programs primary focus is our after-school and summer
programs for elementary and middle school students. Research supports the
theory that engaging the interest and intrigue of youth early in their lives
and providing fun and interesting alternatives to risky behaviors has proven
to be one of the most effective practices in preventing substance abuse in
our youth. We also offer leadership opportunities and informal mentoring in
a safe and supportive environment.
Since our inception, Voyager Youth Program has served
over 1000 youth through our after-school and summer enrichment programs. Because
our small, remote county has no YMCA/YWCA, Boys or Girls clubs, recreation
center or any other similar facility our program fills a need to provide a
safe and healthy program for our youth. Results from the Colorado Youth Survey
for the past several years have shown a reduction in 30 day and lifetime use
of marijuana, inhalants, alcohol and cigarettes, as well as a reduction in
youth perception of parental attitudes favoring drug use and a reduction in
youth perception of the availability of drugs. Voyager Youth Program is clearly
making a positive impact.