Operation Snowball

Operation Snowball

Operation Snowball is an international alcohol, tobacco and other drug use prevention program focusing on leadership development to empower youth to lead drug-free lives. The name originates from the idea that “If I have a positive impact on you, you can have a positive impact on someone else and the effect snowballs.” Out of this concept emerges “A Community of Caring” - the success of Operation Snowball.

Contents

Motivation

Funded in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services, and governed by an elected board of directors, Operation Snowball is founded on the belief that youth and adults can make responsible and healthy decisions when provided with factual information and an opportunity to develop an understanding of one’s self and motivations.

The program provides opportunities for youth and adults to work together in a spirit of cooperation to plan, implement and evaluate a community-based alcohol and other drug prevention program.

Purpose

Operation Snowball, Inc. believes that the use of alcohol and other drugs during the teen years can be devastating to physical, social and emotional growth. Through the Operation Snowball program, youth learn that it is OK to say no to alcohol and other drugs. Students also learn that they are not alone in their decision to stay drug and alcohol free.

Operation Snowball creates an environment in your community that actively supports the decision of youth not to use alcohol and other drugs. Operation Snowball believes that youth are our most important resource and, rather than being part of the problem, our youth are at the heart of the solution. Together youth and adults can implement comprehensive prevention programs that are effective. It is this youth and adult partnership that makes Operation Snowball so unique and exciting.

Operation Snowball also focuses on aiding teens in social issues that may arise in relationships with friends or family. Snowball offers a support system that teaches teens coping skills that will help them resolve problems, both common and unique, with friends and family.

A Comprehensive Prevention Program

Operation Snowball is a comprehensive program that:

  • Includes alcohol and other drug information, responsible decision making skills, opportunities to enhance self esteem, refusal skills, positive peer support, drug-free alternatives, leadership development, and much more.
  • Gives a clear message to youth and adults that it is OK to say no to alcohol and other drugs.
  • Is flexible and can be adapted to any community or school setting. The model fosters youth/adult partnerships that make it ideal for community involvement and builds “A Community of Caring”.
  • Puts to use the powerful energy and influence of youth to create an atmosphere of positive peer support that make it easier not to use alcohol and other drugs.
  • Is unique because it recognizes youth as a part of the solution not the cause of the problem, thereby allowing them to learn and practice responsibility and leadership and be agents of community change.

Operation Snowball is a prevention program and does not provide individual or group treatment. (Operation Snowball does require that youth choosing to serve in active leadership roles make a commitment to lead a drug and alcohol free lifestyle.)

Program Models

Operation Snowball has two types of chapters - school-based and community-based. Operation Snowball includes the following program models:

  • Operation Snowflurry, Preschool and elementary age youth
  • Operation Snowflake, Middle school and junior high school age youth
  • Operation Snowball, High school age youth
  • Operation Segue, young adults age 18–24
  • Operation Blizzard, Families and adults
  • Operation Snowcap, Senior citizens

Each program model focuses on the issues resulting from alcohol and other drug use and abuse in a manner appropriate for each age group. The concept of cross-age teaching and peer helping is an integral part of the Operation Snowball program. The programs follow the same principles and guidelines that may include the following:

  • Weekly meetings
  • Weekend retreats
  • Drug-free alternative activities
  • Opportunities to be a peer role model and to experience working with adults in a cooperative atmosphere
  • Opportunities to develop special events that fit the needs of your community
  • Opportunities to get involved with other programs and events in your community

Through the development of leadership skills, Operation Snowball shall be a youth and adult partnership, providing awareness and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, while encouraging healthy decision-making in an active community of caring." [1]

Chapters

United States Chapters

International Chapters [1]

Lithuania

  • Balsiai
  • Kazlų Rūda
  • Klaipėda
  • Kretinga
  • Kriukai
  • Marijampolė
  • Palanga
  • Paluknys
  • Panevėžys
  • Pasvalys
  • Skaistgirys
  • Širvintos
  • Tauragė
  • Vilnius
  • Vydmantai
  • Želva

Poland

  • Lodz
  • Zawiercie

History of Operation Snowball

Operation Snowball started in 1977 in Rockford youth and adults who attended the Illinois Teenage Institute on Substance Abuse (ITI) sponsored by the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADD). It was created with the theory when a person affects another in a positive way, they would go on to positively affect someone else, creating a "snowball" effect. Its founders wanted to start a prevention program for youth, where they would learn leadership skills. From its inception, Operation Snowball was planned and directed by teens/youth, with adults serving primarily advisory roles. Within a few years, Operation Snowball chapters began to be organized around the state of Illinois. At first the program was only targeted to high school students, but later expanded to include elementary schools(Operation Snowflurry) and junior high schools (Operation Snowflake).

Snow Events

Participants of Snowball say they:

  • developed friendships
  • were able to give and receive support and caring
  • talked about problems
  • shared ideas and feelings
  • felt a positive, supportive atmosphere
  • had a lot of fun
  • could speak without fear of rejection
  • were "glad" they came to Retreat
  • would "recommend" the Retreat to their friends
  • Overcame difficult obstacles facing them [2]

Notes

  1. ^ Operation Snowball site
  2. ^ Champaign County Snowball

References


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