FL Health Dept. of Bay County offers annual leadership camp for teens

By Keneisha Deas | kdeas@wmbb.com

Published 07/29 2016 07:41PM

Updated 07/29 2016 07:41PM

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Freedom 180' is back this summer to teach teens the importance of health with a different twist.
 
"We go into the schools and teach sexual risk avoidance education, or it used to be abstinence," said Freedom 180 Coordinator Tammy Stewart.
 
The Florida Health Department here in Bay County is offering the program, at the Laguna Beach Christian Retreat in Panama City Beach.
 
"Today we're starting with 'who are you?' Helping them to find who they are helps them to build their confidence," said Freedom 180 Training Specialist Jessica Willingham.
 
Fourteen-year-old Jaquesha Jefferson from Wakulla High School has been in the program for three years and said she's learned a lot.
 
"Most people don't know there is abstinence from drugs, abstinence from different things you know, abstaining maybe from texting from your phone so much and dedicating more time to studying," said Jefferson.
 
This is a new summer camp experience for sisters Brittany and Brianna Belanger.
 
"We do some at our church, so I've been to a couple at our church but this is the first time I've done one away from my family and my church and stuff," said Brittany Belanger.
 
"It would be a really good experience to meet new kids and just the different lessons, and meeting new people so, I'm really excited about it," added Brianna Belanger.
 
Justin Pippin is another return student to 'Freedom 180'.
 
It's a fun camp, a really fun camp so I love coming here every year," said Pippin.
 
Willingham hopes the teen's number one takeaway is that they are valued.
 
"If I could have them take away anything from this it would that they're important, that they need to be confident in themselves and that what they have to say is important," said Willingham.
 
'Freedom 180' also partners with local schools, including Bozeman, Palm Bay, and Mosley High Schools.
 
Staff members are considering future programs for Gulf and Franklin County students.
 

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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