Students and staff from Southwest Washington attended the 2024 Washington State Spring Youth Forum in May at Great Wolf Lodge. This annual event brought together 40 teams from across the state to recognize and reward youth prevention teams for their successful community prevention projects.

Funded by the Washington State Health Care Authority, the Spring Youth Forum follows the Washington State Prevention Summit, held each fall. The forum offers youth teams a platform to showcase their education and planning skills, sharing successes and lessons learned from projects initiated during or after the Prevention Summit or other youth trainings. Together, the Prevention Summit and Spring Youth Forum build momentum to support and encourage youth-led prevention efforts throughout Washington.

Highlights from the Event

The Castle Rock CARE Coalition WEB Mentors, known as the “Fentanyl Fighters,” attended the forum and presented their project on the dangers of fentanyl. Their initiatives included hosting a workshop at the Cowlitz County Regional Youth Leadership and Prevention Summit and organizing a town hall meeting. Their impactful work earned them a spot as one of the eight finalists at the forum. While they didn’t win the top prize, their school and community were immensely proud of their dedication and achievements.

Teens For Tomorrow presented their project, “Use Your Voice: Youth Advocacy Training,” implemented in partnership with Prevent Coalition and Unite Washougal in December 2023. This initiative aimed to empower youth statewide to engage in civic opportunities like Prevention Policy Day and educate lawmakers on preventing youth substance use. Volunteers Aarav Shah, Chloe Culp, Elina Nizam, Leilani Garcia Hernandez, Samantha Garcia Hernandez, and Yecenia Carlton-deSalvo presented the project, supported by county staff Alaina Green and Linnea Englund. The team received the “Final Round Finalist” and “Professionalism Award” for their efforts.

White Salmon Sources of Strength also attended the forum, with students from their Prevention Club presenting a project focused on fostering positive connections. Their initiatives included several campaigns across elementary, middle, and high schools, culminating in a community-wide health fair. A standout campaign, “Positive Pickles,” involved students crocheting pickles with positive messages, which they distributed at the summit. The initiative was a hit, earning the group the nickname “the pickle people” and fostering a sense of pride and accomplishment among the students.

For more information about the Spring Youth Forum and its impact on youth-led prevention work, visit