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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Help for addicted teens

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has released information on available resources to help addicted teens as well as identify those teens at risk for substance abuse.

Teens present with unique circumstances and needs when it comes to treatment and recovery since they tend to use different substances and suffer different consequences from adults who use drugs. With their brains not fully developed until their mid-twenties, teens are more susceptible than adults to addiction when experimenting with drugs.

Teens are less likely to seek help or think that they need it. All the more reason for the adults who love them to stay close and remain informed. 

Travel: Five Tips for Travel with Teens

   Packing up the kids for a family road trip is one thing, but flying off to Europe with a teen is a totally different experience. With a little planning and patience you can share a travel experience that you’ll both cherish.
Here are five tips for international travel with a teenager:  

Think ahead: I ask my teen if she wants to sit with me or have her own space before I book the tickets. Then I pack a large ziplock bag with everything she will need to help her stay comfortable during the overnight flight. The kit includes an eye mask, a small inflatable pillow, a pair of lightweight socks and several sets of disposable ear plugs. All she’ll need is an airline blanket.

Take it easy:  Traveling on my own, I usually push on after an overnight flight and crash at the end of the day. But traveling with teenagers is different. Teens need a lot of sleep and you don’t really know how well he or she rested before departure. After checking into the hotel I usually suggest they nap for an hour or so while I unpack, go over guidebooks or catch up on emails.

Please feed the bear: We usually eat a good breakfast before we set out each morning (a hotel with a hot buffet is always a good thing) but I pack nuts, chocolate and fruit (dried or fresh) for those moments between meals when we need to sit down (sometimes in separate places) and recharge our batteries.

Be flexible: Give your teen (some) freedom to wander. They crave independence and it helps young travelers develop the skills they’ll need when they go out on their own adventures. Be sure your child knows the address and location of your hotel and can reach you in an emergency. (I keep the texting function open on my phone when I travel.) Bonus: There can be unexpected benefits to letting your teen pick the itinerary for the day. One of my daughters read about a small designer outlet on a side street off St-Germain.  She led the way and we spent an hour browsing with the oh-so-stylish locals and scored the jacket of her dreams.

Practice patience. Teens play it close. It might be a few years before you get to realize just how much they enjoyed themselves, but eventually the poker face will disappear and you’ll hear them admit it was the trip of a lifetime.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Teen girl dons camo for turkey, dress for date


HUNTING — Alyssa Donelan, a sophomore at Central Valley High School, had a busy Saturday — with more than one date.

She donned camouflage clothing and left home at 5 a.m. to go turkey hunting with her father, Jim. When the turkeys stood them up in the morning, Alyssa move on to a remarkable transition.

She was out of her camouflage and into the hair dresser by 1 p.m.

By 5 p.m. she'd transformed from Rambo to ravishing just in time for the arrival of Sawyer Starnes, a senior, who picked her up for the CV homecoming dance.

The day was dubbed a success, but Alyssa still has an unfilled turkey tag, and an ego that needs a little buffing.

While Alyssa and five girlfriends slept in after a post-dance sleepover at her house, her dad and brother left home at 5 a.m. on Sunday. The boys returned with a turkey about 10:30 a.m., just as Alyssa and the other girls were waking up.


Youth outdoor program teaches teen leadership

OUTDOOR EDUCATION — The Sandpoint-based Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education (SOLE) is offering two five-day outdoor leadership programs for teens in August.

Boosted by a grant from The North Face, cost for the sessions is only $50.

Youths will be on the go with activites including backpacking and kayaking and delving into a variety of activities such as wildlife rehabilitation, trail maintenance and environmental science.

Space is limited for the sessions, which start Aug. 5 and Aug. 14.

Info: (928) 351-7653; www.soleexperiences.org.

Libraries offer summer jobs for low-income, tech-savvy teens…

More than 40 summer jobs for low-income, tech-savvy teens around the state are open at their local libraries, which are looking for teens for new grant-funded summer positions as “digital literary coaches” - teachers of basic computer skills to library patrons; the participating libraries each have one or two positions. “The unemployment rate for Idaho teenagers last year was over 20 percent,” library commission spokeswoman Teresa Lipus said. “These jobs offer a helping hand to young people, especially those from low-income homes, while at the same time help Idahoans from all walks of life navigate the computer world.”

The jobs, which pay minimum wage, are for those age 16-21; more than 70 percent of Idaho's libraries are the only free source of Internet access in their communities. Click below for more info in the full announcement from the Commission for Libraries and the Idaho Department of Labor.

Idaho 6th Highest Teen Jobless Rate

New data released this week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Idaho’s teen unemployment rate was among the highest in the country last year.  Preliminary 2011 data on employment status by state and demographic group breaks down the jobless rate between sexes, age groups and race. Idaho’s teen (16–19 years old) unemployment rate in 2011 was 29.9 percent.

1 California 35.2%
2 Missouri 32.7%
3 North Carolina 32%
4 Nevada 31.9%
5 Washington 30.4%
6 Idaho 29.9%
7 Oregon 29.7%
8 Georgia 29%
9 Rhode Island 29%
10 Tennessee 28.8%

Full StateImpact report here.

Question: What types of jobs did you hold between ages 16 & 19?

Those under 30 will spend more this holiday, according to one survey

See if these age-related estimates on your shopping tendencies match your own spending this holiday. They don’t match my own personal impressions, but what do I know?

Based on the survey, released by Briabe Media,  shoppers under 30 are planning to spend more this holiday season than last. Those older than 30 intend to spend less.

Why would that age, 30, make any difference?  Most 30-year-olds are better off financially than those younger, at least in my experience.

The survey was conducted entirely via users of a site called MocoSpace, on their plans for consumer shopping. That site can’t be a rock solid source; Alexa says it ranks at 1,080 as of Dec. 17 for all U.S. sites for Web traffic.

The results show 59 percent under 19 plan to spend more, 52 percent of 20-29 year-olds plan to spend more, but the majority of 30-39-year-olds plan to spend less.

It finds an even steeper drop the older the survey respondents are: 62% of 40-49 year-olds planning to spend less.

The hours are awful, and it pays bad

In the next couple of months, a lot of high school and college students will be looking for summer jobs.

And some of those jobs are going to provide young people with horror stories they can tell the rest of their lives. Whether it’s a job that’s brutally hard, miserly in pay or just stultifying — we’ve all had those kinds of jobs, and those of us who had them just for a summer are lucky.

(Of course, finding any kind of job right now is tougher, with more people out of work. So it may be harder than usual for teens to find work this summer.) 

But I’m interested in hearing from readers: What was your worst summer job?

Is this the Next Big Thing?…

One of my favorite sites for teens is Channel One News. (Some of you may get the broadcast at school.) They have a poll on their homepage entitled “The Next Big Thing.” Well, this could be one of the next big things:

From Channel One:

Straight from Paris comes Tektonik, a new dance craze. The dance looks like a hybrid of the robot and popping and requires crazy arm movements, coordination and a LOT of energy. Teens across France are bouncing to electro and techno beats trying to learn this dance. Take a look and tell us if you think Tektonik will make its way over the pond.

What do you think? Would you learn this new and funky dance? Do you think it’ll catch on amongst teens in our culture?

Car Accident Connection

Schools official in Lexington, Kentucky, favor a later start to the average school day, just like the students!

Experimentally, the school officials pushed back the beginning of the school day by only one hour for middle and high school students, and they found less teen-related car accidents, a benefit caused by more rested and alert student drivers in the community.

Through school-wide surveys, the officials were able to prove that the normal teen rested more once the starting school times changed.  Only 38 percent of the students in the community received eight or more hours of sleep before the survey, and 50 percent received this much sleep afterwards.

Student car accidents decreased by 16 percent two years after the initial time change for 17- and 19-year-olds in Fayette County, where Lexington is located.  Throughout the rest of the state, teen car crashes were reduced by eight percent.

S&S Herb: Teens Are God’s Punishment

S&S Herb: Having teens is God’s punishment for having been one.I can guarantee that none of my teens were as bad as I was. … Well, maybe not guarantee, but I was somewhat mischievous.

Question: How old were you when you left home?