Being a Master Trainer with CADCA is an incredible opportunity. While I have worked in this field for more than twenty years, working with CADCA is the highlight of my career. Over the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to travel to every corner of this country and see the amazing work being done by people who love their communities and are committed to the development of strong, healthy youth. I have also had the opportunity to work internationally and experience the fact that CADCA is leading a global movement to reduce and prevent the impact of substance use and misuse. Without a doubt, however, my favorite time of year at CADCA is the annual Mid-Year Training Institute (Mid-Year). Each summer, Mid-Year brings together professionals from around the world to network and attend training sessions designed to support coalitions to make a positive impact in their communities.
While this is Mid-Year’s 20th anniversary, each year brings a wide variety of new and important topics, all designed to advance the field. Whether you are a first-time or returning attendee, there is something for everyone. As a part of the CADCA training team, Mid-Year offers me an opportunity to identify and develop sessions on emerging trends. This year, I will be offering a session for coalitions titled “Emerging Trend – Weed Light, AKA Delta 8” which will equip coalitions with information to address this substance that is rapidly increasing in availability in many areas of the country. Mid-Year also offers trainers the opportunity to develop new curricula in response to what we see is happening in the field. With the onset of the global pandemic, we saw many coalitions work to address not only substance misuse but also respond to issues related to mental health. I am excited to work with Master Trainer Dave Shavel to offer a session titled “Substance Use Prevention and Mental Health Promotion – Coalitions Working at the Intersect.”
2020 was a challenging year for all of us, and I have to admit, when we transitioned all of our trainings to an online format, I was optimistic, but also a bit skeptical. I simply did not know how we could maintain our training quality and not be in person. Looking back now, I see that challenging times brought our field together in a way that made us stronger. The amazing team at CADCA pivoted to find the best technology available to ensure that we were able to continue to support coalitions. In the field, coalition staff and members leaned into this new format and attended online events in record numbers. As we look forward to July 11-15, 2021 for our 20th Annual Mid-Year Training Institute, it is so fitting that this year’s theme is “Every Day CADCA Trains: Community Coalition Leaders.” The events of the past year have been challenging for us all, but we have learned from and leaned on each other more than ever, and I believe that our field more connected than it has ever been.
Thank you all for the work that you do and for welcoming us CADCA trainers into your communities. While I am eager to be together in person someday soon, I look forward to learning, laughing and connecting virtually in July. We have come so far, and coalitions have risen to the challenges of the past year without skipping a beat. We have so much to virtually celebrate. I cannot wait to see you there!