Teen Maze continues work to instill smart choices
The path through life is determined always by the choices one makes, and the consequences that flow outward from them.
A local teen gets bored and curious with their parents out for the night, and friends off on a trip for school over the weekend. They’ve been texting back and forth with people who are busy on dates or already off to the movies.
One thing leads to another, and before they know it they’ve wandered into their parents bathroom, and opened up the medicine cabinet. ‘What’s Hydrocodone used to treat?’ Doesn’t matter. They’ve already swallowed it down.
It’s dark, but since there’s not much else to do it seems like a good idea to go driving around. Mom’s car is in the garage, and a learner’s permit is almost a license, right?
Just imagine what happens next as they cruise down the road without a seatbelt on, driving illegally and having taken a painkiller. The teenager doesn’t pay full enough attention and looks down to skip a song on their phone they don’t like. All the sudden they’ve swerved into the other lane and crashed head on into a family of four.
The above tragic example is what an organization like Polk Family Connection hopes to prevent in the future, and with the help of several groups it’s a point they hope to drive home during the annual Teen Maze.
Ninth graders from the Polk School District and area schools gathered at Camp Antioch this past week for the latest round of the event that presents them with a variety of scenarios of life, and how to avoid them.
Students donned simulated impairment goggles and drove a golf cart around the front lawn of the camp to act as a reminder of how hard it is to drive while drunk or on drugs. Only a few steps away, a roll over simulator brought by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s regional partners at Polk County Police Department served as a stark example of what happens when students don’t wear their seat belts.
One of the hardest examples of the Teen Maze is the simulation of a fatal car wreck in the back yard of Camp Antioch, and then having to experience what it’s like being in the emergency room and watching someone die, or having to go to jail as a consequence.
Even an empty casket with a mirror sits as physical proof of what can happen when wrong choices are made.
The annual day is put on by Polk Family Connections and organized through the efforts of Executive Director Rhonda Heuer. She receives help from staff along with hundreds of volunteers from local law enforcement, fire departments, Redmond and Floyd EMS personnel, Georgia Highlands College nursing instructors and organizations who came to talk about teen pregnancy, STDs and making other healthy choices.
Polk Family Connection’s goal is to get students to pay attention to what they see and hear from those who have already experienced the worst circumstances as first responders to all kinds of incidents.
Because the goal is to keep teens from making bad choices at critical times in their lives, and to ensure they think about the consequences before they are let loose in the world in the future.
Students could spin the wheel of STDs and get more information about one of the costs of unprotected intercourse during the 2018 Teen Maze at Camp Antioch on Nov. 7.
Students and educators alike talked about the costs of teen pregnancy during the 2018 Teen Maze at Camp Antioch.
Above: Students donned drunk goggles and tried their hand at driving a golf cart through a windy, short course. All struggled to stay on the right path, and avoid running over cones. Below: The chaos of an emergency room while trying to save a patient was simulated by real nurses giving students a taste of the cost of a car accident caused by drunk driving.