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June 7, 2018

by JEFF SAY

The Culpeper Wellness Foundation will be conducting an assessment this summer for Culpeper youth to discover their recreational interests, needs and desires – including activities as well as physical spaces.

The assessment, led by Partnerships for Strategic Impact, of Charlottesville, is expected to be completed by September.

Culpeper Wellness Foundation President Shari Landy said that an advisory committee of 11 community representatives and students will meet monthly to provide oversight and guidance throughout the process.

“The Foundation is interested in supporting programs and activities that promote health and wellness for our local youth,” Landry said. “This recreation assessment will help us understand the needs and interests of middle and high school youth.  By understanding what types of recreation activities and spaces will actually attract the participation of youth we will be better prepared to make funding and resource decisions going forward.”

Dr. Maryfrances Porter, founder of Partnerships for Strategic Impact said they will be recruiting kids from middle and high schools in a hope to diversify. They will also be talking to several key members of the community that work with children.

“What we’re trying to do is create a community process for the assessment, we’ve tried to figure out the major stakeholders to us their collective expertise and connections of group to reach most kids possible,” Porter said.

Focus groups will be held in June and July and Landry said she expects surveys to be taken by up to 1,5000 6th-12th grade students later this summer, after school is back in session.

“We want this process to be objective and inclusive,” Landry said. “We want to be sure that we reach youth of all different backgrounds, economic status and with varied interests.  The involvement of an advisory group like the one we’ve assembled ensures that the assessment builds on the unique strengths and resources of Culpeper County. It also provides multiple connections to local young people and helps to build trust and encourage participation.”

Landry said the youth surveys will be short, five minutes or less and web based.

“We may off incentives and prizes to encourage youth to complete them,” she said. “We also plan to survey teachers and other youth-serving professionals to get their input on the challenges facing youth and their thoughts on recreation needs.”

The results of the survey will be available to the public.

Committee members include:

John Barrett, Culpeper County Parks and Recreation

Tripp Butler, ​Culpeper Wellness Foundation Board of Directors

Dan Carlton,  Culpeper Baptist Church

Jamie Clancey, Culpeper Youth

Russell Houck, Culpeper County School District

Erick Kalenga, Youth Soccer Coach

Jim LaGraffe, Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services

Shari Landry, Culpeper Wellness Foundation

Hunter Lange, Student

Will Orr, Young Life

Lisa Peacock, Culpeper Human Services

Wenonah Petersen, Culpeper County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney

Sandra Reaves-Yates, NAACP

Chris Settle, Culpeper Police Department

Betsy Smith, Culpeper United Methodist Church

Shifa Tewari, Student

Amanda Wilson, Student