1
From Flowers to Leaves
2
Cool Down in These Lamoille County Public Swimming Holes
3
Let’s Go Fishing: A Day Spent Learning to Teach
4
Eating Healthy When Time Is Tight
5
WIC Offers Fresh Produce From Local Farms
6
“Fake News:” Does It Affect Our Health?
7
Hearing Loss and Diabetes
8
Learning Through Arthritis
9
Building Resilience and Hope in Children and Youth
10
Talking to Youth About Marijuana

From Flowers to Leaves

By: Michele Whitmore

Personally, I find it difficult to transition from summer mode to fall mode. I am sure some of this has to do with my career. Working in higher ed, the transition means much more than a wardrobe change. My lifestyle changes a bit. The work goes from planning to responding (sometimes reacting), from being able to binge watch the newest series on Netflix till the break of dawn, to making sure I am in bed by 9 so I can be in the office and prepared for that 8:30 am meeting.

I am sure many of you can relate to this transition as well. I absolutely love summertime and need to annually remind myself of the importance of appreciating those last summer days and being excited for what fall has to offer. Here are some tips that I use to help in this transition. For those who can relate, I invite you to give these a try:

Embrace the change: It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not, so let go and give yourself time to slowly transition your mindset.

Remember the highlights: Hoodies! Pumpkin Spice! Bonfires with flannel and hot cocoa! And don’t forget about the amazing colors of fall – especially in New England. We are very lucky to be surrounded by such beauty.

It’s not over: Summer fun can continue in the fall. You can continue to do many of your favorite summer activities in the fall. Like biking? Check out a spin class; enjoy fresh fruits and veggies? You can “can” almost anything and enjoy the taste of summer even in the fall. Enjoy picnicking with friends and family? A harvest dinner also brings friends and family together to enjoy a hearty meal.

Bucket List: In the spring, I always create a summer bucket list. This summer, I created one for fall. Maybe I’ll see you at a high school football game or at a haunted (but not *too* haunted) forest, the great corn maze in Dansville, or at the local church’s chicken and biscuit dinner.  There are many hidden gems to do in the fall. Look around, do some research and start your list now.

Lastly, be grateful that you are here, alive and able to enjoy the last days of summer and the upcoming fall adventures. In the fall, reminisce about the June outdoor concert you attended and be glad that you had the opportunity to experience it. And in the Winter, you can reminisce about the Fall Fest gathering at your friend’s house where everyone brought their signature dish to pass and beverage to share while sitting around a nice bonfire with your favorite flannel and jeans.

 

 …And all at once, Summer collapsed into Fall – Oliver Wilde

 


Michele Whitmore is the Associate Dean of Students at Johnson State College. She works closely with Student Service Departments within the College to provide purposeful events to students that will strengthen their professional leadership, personal growth, life skills development and social engagement. Thus far, the College has provided educational programs that cover LGBTQ issues, alcohol and drug use, sexual assault prevention, socio-economic struggles, and healthy choices related to eating well and being fit, to name a few.

Michele writes about the outreach and program opportunities that enhance the wellness of a campus community.

 

 

Cool Down in These Lamoille County Public Swimming Holes

By: Lea Kilvádyová

When summer temperatures spent days hovering close to 90 degrees, I found it refreshing to cool down in Vermont’s bodies of water. Brooks, rivers, ponds and lakes, Lamoille County has got it all!

Journey's End_Johnson VT Swimming

In Johnson, where I live, the community has been working diligently to preserve public access to water so we all can enjoy this precious resource in perpetuity. “Journey’s End” is a spectacular swimming hole and waterfall carved into the bedrock of Foote Brook. It takes a short 10-minute walk to reach Journey’s End from a public parking pull-off about 0.4 miles up Plot Road. The trail has been cleared, is well marked, and the walk is easy thanks to Johnson Conservation Commission building wooden bridges and steps along the way.

Journey's End_Johnson VT Swimming

My other recommendation is for Beard Recreation Park, located on School Street just below the Powerhouse Covered Bridge. For generations, local residents and visitors have enjoyed a beautiful, Olympic-sized swimming hole and a beach along the Gihon River. The Town purchased and conserved the land in 2015. Thanks to the Town’s effort, this land will now forever be accessible to the public as the “Beard Recreation Park”. With approximately 600 feet of river frontage, this parcel possesses beautiful shoreline, waterfalls, and swimming spots along the Gihon River. The park also features a picnic table, a grill, and a stone stairway installed by Johnson Conservation Commission.

For more information on places to enjoy in Johnson all year long, visit www.johnsonconnect.net.

Let’s Go Fishing: A Day Spent Learning to Teach

By: Chris Hendon

 

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Lets Go Fishing

Looking for ways to expand kids’ summer programming in the Lamoille County Mental Health Services’ (LCMHS) Redwood Program, Dan Gilbert and I attended a recent Let’s Go Fishing clinic offered by Vermont Fish and Wildlife.  We wanted to improve Redwood’s free six-week summer programming and offer kids a chance to get out and do some structured fishing as well as having ongoing access to fishing equipment for these kids’ adventures. Every year a few kids, dreaming about those summer days on a river or lake, ask if fishing can be incorporated into the Redwood summer program. Due to a lack of equipment, every year we have had to say no.

We heard about the Let’s Go Fishing program at Vermont Fish & Wildlife and thought it would be an excellent chance to be able to include any kids who are interested, including—and perhaps especially—the kids who have never touched a fishing pole before. We hope to inspire excitement about getting outside and fishing. This is an activity they can share with friends and family. It creates a life-long skill that encourages patience and mindfulness, as well as an appreciation of our natural world.

As the training day started rolling, we realized this is about much more than simply fishing. It’s about learning about our water ecosystems, about different types of fish in Vermont, and teaching basic skills to build upon such as knot tying and proper casting techniques. Most importantly, it is about getting children and adults outside and engaged in conservation and fishing in a day and age where people are spending less and less time outdoors. The structure of this program teaches skills and knowledge that kids can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Learning about fishing rules and regulations gives insight into breeding habits and the availability of fish in certain bodies of water. The Department of Vermont Fish & Wildlife simply wants people to get out on the water, know what fishing is all about, and most importantly, to have some fun!

The volunteer training itself certified us as Vermont Fish & Wildlife Lets Go Fishing Instructors.  This certification will offer many opportunities to expand our knowledge and training above and beyond the summer programming at Redwood. In addition to a typical “fishing” clinic, Vermont Fish & Wildlife offers ice fishing and fly fishing clinics as long as there is a certified instructor available who is experienced in those areas. They offer dozens of clinics every year, and we can now easily organize clinics for the kids in LCMHS programs. Let’s Go Fishing provides attendees with an educational tote and all the fishing equipment that we will need, as well as ongoing support. I encourage anyone who is interested in expanding their children’s programming to become an instructor. It’s a free, day-long course, and it is well worth it. If you are just interested in learning about fishing or would like to enhance your experience, I recommend taking part in one (or many!) of these clinics. It is all free and enrolling in the clinic gives you the ability to fish even if you don’t have a license.

I can’t recommend this fantastic program enough. If you want to know more you can ask Dan or myself, or reach out directly Corey Hart, a program manager at Vermont Fish and Wildlife, Corey.Hart@vermont.gov.


An avid ice fisherman, Chris is a Redwood Service Coordinator at Lamoille County Mental Health Services and a clinical mental health graduate student at Northern Vermont University. 

Eating Healthy When Time Is Tight

By: Leah Hollenberger

Earlier this year, I attended a meeting that discussed food security in our community. Access to good, nutritious food is important because eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help prevent chronic conditions and diseases. Lots of numbers and statistics were shared at the meeting but one that jumped out was that 70% of Lamoille County residents don’t eat the recommended daily 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Think about that. Out of 10 people, 7 of us do not eat the recommended daily 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables. I say us because I admit I have had to work at getting 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables into my meals every day.

Lamoille County has outstanding resources to increase access to food, so perhaps access is not the only issue preventing so many from eating the recommended servings. Perhaps it is a combination of access, budget, time, and awareness. In other words, sometimes it is a lack of time to cook, other times it is a lack of planning meals in advance (which helps save money), sometimes it is because we’re eating out and not making good choices, and sometimes we’re just trying to make a meal out of what is left in the refrigerator or pantry.

How can we change that statistic? It’ll take a variety of approaches, but individually we can each start by cooking at home more and being more mindful of eating more fruits and vegetables.

Menu planning_Eating Healthy When Time is Tight_Copley Hospital_Live Well Lamoille

After making note of what I ate every day for a couple of days, I realized that I typically ate 2 vegetables at dinner if it was cooked at home and a fruit at lunch or as a snack. As empty nesters, my husband and I were definitely cooking dinner less often and eating out more which was also affecting our budget. What I ate for lunch sometimes got me up to 5-6 servings, but not consistently. So I decided to set three goals. The first goal was to eat at least one fruit at breakfast and one fruit and one vegetable at lunch. My second goal was to try to eat more meals prepared at home and if we ate dinner out, to include at least two vegetables. My other goal was to keep it simple: simple ingredients, simple prep. Who wants to spend a lot of time cooking or cleaning up?

That means breakfast is a cup of Greek yogurt with fresh berries or a cut-up peach, or two scrambled eggs followed by an apple, or peanut butter on wheat toast with a banana. For my husband, it means a whole grain cereal with fruit on top. Using fruit that is in season saves money, but you can also compare the cost of using frozen or canned fruit (packed in its own juice), or applesauce to stretch your budget.

For lunch, Copley Hospital’s Café offers a vegetarian entrée – often using locally-sourced, farm fresh vegetables – as well as a well-stocked salad bar. To encourage its employees to make healthy choices, they give employees one free fruit each work day. That helps me with my goal of keeping it simple. If I pack my lunch, it is usually leftovers from last night’s dinner, along with carrots or half a red pepper cut into strips. My husband usually eats beans and rice for lunch. (Yes, he eats the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. He makes a big pot of beans and rice every weekend and eats from it all week.)

For dinner, I discovered that pre-planning really helped us cook more at home. I tend to be the planner of the family, so I’ll make a large meal like pulled chicken or vegetarian chili in the crock pot on the weekend and plan several meals out of it. For example, we’ll have chili with cornbread one night; the second night, chili over baked potatoes; and the third night scrambled eggs with chili or chili with grilled cheese sandwiches. Stir-frys are fast and easy and, with so many different sauces one can make, along with using different vegetables, it is hard to get bored with them. Omelets with spinach, tomato, and mushrooms; tuna salad with red pepper and onion served on fresh spinach leaves; Mexican restaurant style black beans with ground turkey tacos are just a few of the quick meals we routinely cook. Since I’m not one to eat the same thing day after day for dinner and our schedules change constantly, I try to plan 3-4 dinners for the week at a time, using the supermarket sale flier, and try not to repeat any from the week before so we’re not eating the same few meals. Purchasing fruits and vegetables that are in season keeps costs reasonable but we also use frozen vegetables like corn, green beans, peas, carrots and broccoli and canned beans because they are easy and you can buy extra when they are on sale.

We have a couple of go-to resources we use for recipes. These include EatingWell.com, Skinnytaste.com, and Mark Bittman’s cookbook “How to Cook Everything.”  I also check out cookbooks from my local library and Copley Hospital’s Medical Sciences Library, which is open to the public. If we find one we really love, I’ll write it down and file it in our 3-ring binder for recipes.

Other resources to help you reach the recommended 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables include:

  • Healthyinasnapvt.org: A great website from the health department with tons of tips for everyone on stretching the food dollar.
  • 3SquaresVT:  Call 1-800-479-6151.  You can get 3SquaresVT benefits even if you do not get any other benefits from the state. If you get 3SquaresVT benefits, you will not be taking them away from others. 3SquaresVT is an entitlement program which means everyone who is eligible for 3SquaresVT benefits has a legal right to get them.
  • Johnson/Lamoille Valley CommUNITY Meal: United Church of Johnson, 100 Main Street, Johnson. 802-635-143.
  • Lamoille Community Center Community Meal:  24 Main Street, Morrisville, VT.  802-888-4302.
  • Meals on Wheels of Lamoille County:  24 Upper Main Street, Morrisville, VT. 802-888-5011.
  • (Free) Breakfast On Us: M-F, 7am-9am, First Congregational Church,  84 Upper Main St, Morrisville, VT. 802-888-2225.
  • Lamoille Community Food Share: M-F, 9am-11:30am; Sat 9:30am-11am. 197 Harrel St, Morristown, VT. 802-888-6550.
  • Johnson Food Shelf: Tues. & Fri, 9am-12noon. 780 Railroad St. 802-635-9003.
  • Call 2-1-1 and ask about food and nutrition resources available to you or check out the link for a list. The list includes WIC, summer meals programs, emergency food shelves and community meal sites, the Learning Kitchen and UVM Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

WIC Offers Fresh Produce From Local Farms

By: Nancy Segreto, WIC Nutritionist, Vermont Department of Health

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)  provides wholesome food, nutrition education and community support for income-eligible women who are pregnant or post-partum (including fathers and caregivers), infants, and children up to 5 years old. Our community now has three clinic locations, located in Johnson, Hardwick, and Morrisville.

In addition to the standard food offered by WIC, each summer the Morrisville WIC office distributes coupons worth $30 – $60 to families. These “Farm to Family” coupons can be used as money to buy produce from participating farmers at Vermont Farmer’s Markets, from July through the end of October. Families can meet the farmer who grew their food, tasting new foods while developing an appreciation for fresh, local whole foods. This program also supports Vermont farmers who receive 100% of the coupon value.

WIC recently partnered with Lamoille Valley Gleaning to offer monthly “WIC Gleaning Taste Tests” under our tent in the Morrisville WIC office parking lot. For those who may not know, “gleaning” is the gathering of extra crops from the fields after the harvest. Gleaning helps keep fresh, wholesome food in our community and supports a healthy food system. Past events have offered freshly harvested green beans, zucchini, lettuce, baby kale, arugula and more. Taste-tests and recipes are provided with themes such as pasta salads, soups, baby foods, and holiday inspirations.

The next WIC Gleaning Taste Tests will take place August 2, September 13, October 11, and November 8, from 2- 3:00pm at the WIC office (63 Processional Dr, Morrisville).

Families with Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur insurance are income eligible for WIC. Know a family who might qualify for WIC? Tell them about us!

To connect with WIC today, visit: healthvermont.gov/wic or call 800-649-4357 or 802-888-7447 (Morrisville). WIC is an equal opportunity provider. For more information about WIC, visit the Health Department website at http://www.healthvermont.gov/local-health-offices/morrisville/wic-services.

“Fake News:” Does It Affect Our Health?

By: Stacy A. Wein, Health Sciences Librarian, Copley Hospital

“Fake news” is fast becoming the latest “buzz” phrase. But, what does it actually mean? Printing and handing out fake news is not new. As far back as the turn of the century the term “false news” was being used. The term defines news that is often sensational and is disseminated under the guise of news reporting. Real news explains and offers evidence or sources of information being presented.

With social media platforms and other modern communication channels and devices, fake news and misleading information is quickly passed around. “Gone viral” is often heard when a story, discovery, photo or comment on Google gets passed around at lightning speed. And here is the problem – the content, fact or fiction, has been sensationalized. No one has taken the time to find out if it is factual before passing the story on.

How does this affect our health? When misleading information is taken for fact, it becomes misinformation. Patients may be influenced or confused by misleading research reports. They may not be unable to understand the difference between an advertisement for a drug that is an honest, evidence-based claim or one that makes false and misleading claims about the product. This affects the patient or consumer’s ability to make safe decisions concerning their health and may lead to unsatisfactory health consequences and loss of trust.

It is important to know how you can evaluate the credibility of online information and what you may read or hear. The National Library of Medicine offers tools to help you evaluate online information. MedlinePlus provides a tutorial on how to evaluate online health information. You can click here or you can use the search box on the MedlinePlus homepage; just type “Evaluating Online Health Information” in the search box.

Copley’s Health Sciences Library serves both Copley’s Medical Staff and our community by providing customized health information searches through a variety of print and online resources. We invite you to browse through our library yourself (computers are provided for your convenience) or check out a book from our Consumer Health collection.

Here are additional resources:

A “GOOD” ad

For more information why this is a “GOOD” health advertisement go to https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm082284.htm

A “BAD” ad

For more information about why this is a “bad” health advertisement, go to https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm082282.htm.

For reference questions or help locating reliable resources, call the Health Sciences Library at 888-8347 or e-mail our librarian at swein@chsi.org.

Hearing Loss and Diabetes

By: Nancy Wagner

People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without diabetes. People with prediabetes have a 30% higher rate of hearing loss than those with normal blood sugar, according to the 2009 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Scientists aren’t quite sure of the link or cause but have some theories:

  1. Chronic high blood sugars: These can damage blood vessels, thus disrupting blood flow to the cochlea, a small organ in the ear which is responsible for our hearing.
  2. Fluctuating blood sugars: frequent swings between very high blood sugars and very low blood sugars can damage the blood vessels in the ear.
  3. Chronic high blood sugars or rapid swings between high and low blood sugars may cause the cochlea to become inflamed and this swelling causes damage to the tissue and blood vessels.

Hearing loss usually happens gradually so it often goes undetected. Many times a family member or close friend will notice the problem before the person with diabetes does. Symptoms of hearing loss include:

  1. Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
  2. Trouble hearing higher pitched voices/noises – women and young children.
  3. Needing to turn the volume up on your TV or radio or cell phone.
  4. Having trouble hearing when there is background noise.
  5. Having trouble following a conversation involving more than 2 people.
  6. Not understanding someone talking in another room or when their back is turned.

Risk factors for hearing loss besides diabetes include:

  1. 65 years old or older
  2. Regularly exposed to loud noises
  3. Genetically predisposed to hearing loss
  4. Smoking
  5. Non-Hispanic white
  6. Male
  7. Living with heart disease
  8. Frequent ear infections (now or when younger)

If you suspect you have hearing loss talk to your primary care provider.  He or she may refer you to an audiologist who will conduct a hearing test. Once the inner ear is damaged, you can’t restore hearing. However, there are devices available including hearing aids and amplifiers for your phone. The audiologist will also teach you strategies such as lip reading.

Hearing loss can lead to embarrassment and isolation so please reach out to your provider for help. I developed hearing loss about 8 years ago as a result of a genetic predisposition. I learned many strategies from my audiologist and wear hearing aids in both ears. Your audiologist will also have helpful resources on paying for your hearing aids.


Nancy Wagner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator at Copley Hospital.  She enjoys helping others learn new things about nutrition, their health habits, and their chronic diseases

Learning Through Arthritis

By: Daniel Regan

arthritis_tips_Live Well Lamoille

At 72 most of my squash-playing days are behind me. Although I took up the game, a fast-moving racquet sport, too late in life, there was plenty of time, apparently, to pound on my joints. Soccer, before squash, had taken its toll too. Arthritic changes started showing up at least ten years ago on my ankle. In 2016, osteoarthritis of my left hip was bad enough for me to walk away from a consultation carrying a binder entitled “Preparing for Your Hip Replacement.”

I returned it to the clinic two months later. In the meantime, I had decided to try physical therapy combined with modest amounts of over-the-counter medication. Today, more than two years later, I have “graduated” to a prescription medication, but continue to work out one to two hours almost daily. Luckily, my current schedule allows that. I check in with a superb PT, who is an acute observer and listener, every three or four months for a “tune up.” Although others will choose differently, my road to an eventual joint replacement will be as gradual as she–and I–can make it.

No one chooses arthritis, although worse afflictions can be imagined. More than 54 million Americans, plenty of whom live in Vermont, live with doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Of those, more than 30 million have osteoarthritis, the most common form of disability in adults. If arthritis sufferers conveyed what they’ve learned from their experiences, the pooled knowledge would constitute a valuable life studies curriculum.

Here are some of the life lessons I think I’ve learned from living with arthritis:

  1. Revel in a good day, do what you can to endure a worse one; but try not to read too much into either. Unless one is extraordinarily lucky, or unlucky, the day-by-day trajectory is neither clearly up nor down. I don’t need a weather app, for instance, to provide painful confirmation that the barometric pressure is falling; but tomorrow the skies may clear. An overall trajectory may well exist, but each particular day need not reflect it.
  1. Appreciate the small pleasures of life. I take real pleasure in walking even short distances with something like the stride I remember. There are analogues in every sphere of life.
  1. Learn to accept assistance, but try to gauge what you really need. I use a sock aid, but only for the foot I struggle to reach, and am considering using a single hiking pole for longer walks. For life in general as for arthritis, it’s important to accept necessary assistance; but it’s also worth remembering that the Beatles sang about “a LITTLE help from my friends.” It’s a good idea, to the extent possible, to push yourself.
  1. Move! When life is less than stellar, passivity and inaction are apt to take over. Long-term, this is exactly the wrong response to life as to arthritis. On the other hand, although I try to move through the initial pain in anticipation of relief, if it’s too much and I need an easier day, I take it—without second guessing myself.
  1. Relax. Time is especially precious, compared to when I was 20; but no particular moment is indispensable, really. In particular, not every second must be used productively. Waste some time, shamelessly, allot extra time for tasks; and minimize multitasking, unless you really, really like having the news on all the time. Arthritis and life require a dual sense of time–as both precious and dispensable–and the ability to move back and forth between them.
  1. Seize any opportunity to examine what is at the core of your identity. I had to ask—am still asking—myself to what extent my sense of self is wrapped up in moving as I had before. More generally, what makes you you? And without a particular attribute or capacity, how could you reinvent yourself? That act of remaking oneself is also an exercise in humility.

It is also an exercise in empathy. Overall, living with arthritis has heightened my empathy for those—the many people–who move as gracefully as they can through life with pain either external or internal.

Building Resilience and Hope in Children and Youth

By: Scott Johnson, Lamoille Family Center

In a 2017 article co-authored by Boston Pediatrician, Bob Sege, MD, PhD, et al., the authors highlight recently released data about fostering healthy childhood development by promoting positive experiences for children and families. The article recognizes that many families experience hardship and adversity, and they point to research about the importance of balancing those adversities and early life traumas with positive experiences that can grow hopefulness. The piece is called: Balancing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) With HOPE* New Insights into the Role of Positive Experience on Child and Family Development, and the full article can be found at this website: https://www.cssp.org/publications/documents/Balancing-ACEs-with-HOPE-FINAL.pdf.

Assuring healthy outcomes for children is important and complicated work. Families, communities, schools, and workplaces all play a role in the support and development of healthy children. The Lamoille Family Center works across the Lamoille Valley region (Lamoille County plus the towns of Craftsbury, Greensboro, Hardwick, Stannard, and Woodbury), fostering hope and positive outcomes for children, youth, and families.

One way we build hope and support healthy lifestyles is through our “Send a Kid to Camp” program. Initiated as a celebration of the Family Center’s 40th anniversary three years ago, this highly successful program supports local children who otherwise would not be able to afford a summer camp experience. International expert and researcher on childhood trauma, Michael Unger, PhD, believes that camps can play a critical and positive role in a child’s trajectory.

“Camps help children feel in control of their lives, and those experiences of self-efficacy can travel home as easily as a special art project they carry in their backpack. Children who experience themselves as competent will be better problem-solvers in new situations long after the smell of the campfire is forgotten.”

The Family Center works with local schools and sister agencies to identify children who want to go to camp but whose families cannot afford to send them. In the camp’s second year, we were able to send 45 kids – almost double the number of kids to camp from the inaugural year. This year we are on track to treat 59 kids to outdoor and other fun camp experiences.

Here’s what one mother said about her son’s first camp experience:

“He came home from camp grinning ear to ear! Though it will take many months for him to tell us all about camp, he did say, ‘I have SO many friends, him and him and him and her. I don’t know their names but they are my friends.’ As we drove away from Camp Thorpe he was waving and people were waving goodbye and telling him they’d see him next year. I never ever imagined there would be a camp for him.”

We look forward to hearing from more kids this year with their stories about their summer experiences. Building hope in children is the best part of our jobs, and we believe these are smart investments in our future.

Talking to Youth About Marijuana

By: Jessica Bickford

It is widely known that Act 86, which legalizes possession of marijuana by adults, takes effect on July 1st.  In my work with Healthy Lamoille Valley, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with community partners and there is an overwhelming concern for our youth as this law increases opportunities for youth access to marijuana. With this in mind, I want to share a few well-vetted resources to help youth, parents and community members.

What are we talking about? The first step in understanding the impacts of marijuana is to understand the drug.  This site from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens is particularly helpful and is designed be shared with your teen.  https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

How do we talk to youth about it?  Talking with youth can feel difficult. Parentupvt is a great tool that provides sound advice and suggestions: http://parentupvt.org/how-can-i-help-prevent-it/talk-about-it. They also have infographics on marijuana: http://parentupvt.org/resources/infographics.

On the evening of June 5th, the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, Healthy Lamoille Valley, and Blueprint for Health are partnering with area middle and high school students to share a community forum: “Effective Communication with Youth.”  Learn more at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-opiate-forum-presents-communicating-effectively-with-youth-tickets-45909426330.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has a Youtube tutorial with communication tips for parents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FThKH0SEDeI

What are the guidelines around use and storage of marijuana? As with any legal drug, including alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and soon to be marijuana, we all have a role to play in safe, responsible storage and use. Act 86 provides very specific details on how and where adult use marijuana can be used and stored, as well as the quantities an individual can possess. In a nutshell, Act 86 only allows for use in a home residence, with some restrictions. Users are responsible to keep it away from anyone under the age of 21. (In fact, providing marijuana to minors has the same penalties as providing alcohol to a minor – up to a $2,000 fine and up to 5 years of prison time, per minor.) Those who have it or grow it are required to keep it secure where children and youth cannot access it, meaning locked up and out of sight. Users are not to drive impaired. Marijuana cannot legally be sold. https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT086/ACT086%20As%20Enacted.pdf

What do you need to know about marijuana and pregnancy? We know that alcohol and tobacco can cause some serious risks and complications to unborn children. It’s logical that marijuana can have risks as well. Check out more information at https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Pregnancy-508.pdf

How can I learn more and do more to prevent youth use? Healthy Lamoille Valley is working with Michelle Salvador at the Vermont Department of Health to host a community evening in June. Watch Healthy Lamoille Valley’s website for emerging details! Join us as we review the implications of Act 86 and then break into interest groups (parents, youth, educators, landlords, employers, etc.) to explore how we can prevent youth use and support area children and families.

Looking for more resources?

CDC Marijuana Use and Teens: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Teens-508.pdf

CDC Marijuana Use and Driving: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Driving-508.pdf

SAMSHA’s Marijuana Page: https://www.samhsa.gov/atod/marijuana

Vermont’s Marijuana Impact Assessment: http://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2016/12/ADAP_HIA_Marijuana_Regulation_in_Vermont_Exec_Summary.pdf

Our partners at Mount Ascutney Hospital created a good summary of Act 86 legalization.  If you would like a copy please send your request to Jessica@healthylamoillevalley.org.


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.