Virginia teens invited to attend Summer Leadership Retreat

Published 1:00 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

Virginia teens who will start high school in the fall through graduating seniors, are invited to register for the 2022 YOVASO Summer Leadership Retreat “YOVASO Safari: Leading the Pack for Safe Teen Driving” happening at James Madison University (JMU) July 14 – 17. The four-day, three-night retreat offers a variety of educational and hands-on activities designed for teens who want to learn how to be safer drivers and passengers, as well as teens who want to train as leaders for youth traffic safety. The Summer Leadership Retreat is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), a program of the Virginia State Police (VSP).

The annual leadership retreat is being held on the JMU campus in Harrisonburg, Va, and the cost is $15 per teen to attend. Community youth groups, church youth groups, and school clubs are also encouraged to register and may register up to 6 students and 1 adult advisor for a discounted fee of $75. The retreat offers a unique experience for teens interested in community service or careers in health and safety, law enforcement, or teaching.

Highlights for the retreat include motivational speaker, Fletcher Cleaves on “The Sky is Not the Limit;” a live simulated crash and mock trauma bay presented by VCU Health’s Project IMPACT; a multi-media TjohnE Trivia Game Show; and workshops on public speaking and the power of advocacy. Teens will also participate in interactive safety experiences by the American Trucking Association; the Virginia Department of Transportation on work zone safety; Operation Lifesaver on railroad safety; and the VSP’s Crash Reconstruction Team, K-9 Unit, and Distracted Driving Simulators; and more. Teens will enjoy a variety of interactive, team-building social events, to include a glow stick game, talent show, and the Amazing Race, “Safari” style.

The four-day experience will prepare teens to work in peer-to-peer programs in their schools or through community youth groups to promote safe teen driving and help prevent motor vehicle crashes among teens.

“We’re excited to be back in-person for YOVASO’s Summer Leadership Retreat after not being able to meet for two years,” said Molly Jackson, Retreat Director. “The retreat provides a fun and educational experience for all teens, whether they are looking to be safer drivers, learn leadership skills, get involved in community service opportunities, or prepare for future careers.”

The four-day, three-night retreat concludes with an awards banquet to recognize students, schools, youth groups, and law enforcement, for their dedicated and outstanding efforts during the 2021-2022 school year to prevent teen-related traffic crashes and fatalities on Virginia highways.

Rising high school students through graduating seniors and youth groups interested in attending the retreat can learn more and register at www.yovaso.org/summer-retreat. For questions about the retreat, email Molly Jackson at molly.jackson@vsp.virginia.gov. The $15 individual fee and $75 team fee includes overnight accommodations, meals, sessions, and all materials needed to participate in the retreat. Participants will also receive a retreat-themed t-shirt, backpack, lanyard, and water bottle. Registration is ongoing and will continue through June 26.

The retreat is sponsored by YOVASO, VSP, and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in partnership with State Farm Insurance. YOVASO is Virginia’s Peer-to-Peer Education and Prevention Program for Teen Driver and Passenger Safety. Membership in YOVASO is free and open to all Virginia high schools, middle schools, and youth groups. YOVASO currently has 90 active member schools.