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Aug. 2, 2011

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50 Laredo Kids Return From Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) Camp

LAREDO, Texas - Fifty kids from Laredo returned home Friday from their week-long Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) summer camp, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. DEFY is a preventive program originated by the Department of Defense as a means to increase community participation and commitment to youth.  DEFY works with 9-12 year-olds and helps develop character, leadership and confidence to engage in positive healthy lifestyles as drug-free citizens.  

This year’s summer camp was held at the Boy Scouts of America Camp Huisache just outside of Laredo from Monday through Friday, July 25-29. All 50 children returned home safely on Friday afternoon. The Texas National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gracie Rodriguez Lindberg assisted in the coordination of the event and special thanks are extended to them as well as to the City of Laredo Parks and Recreation Department, Laredo Housing Authority, Communities in Schools, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the United States Border Patrol for providing mentors and other assistance during this weeklong effort. These federal, state and local agencies and organizations have supported this community outreach effort and have provided mentors for this DEFY summer camp. The expenses for this camp, including lodging and meals, were sponsored by a grant from the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust.   

The DEFY program included two phases. Phase I involves a five-day summer camp where students are given opportunities to participate in such activities as swimming, tours and classes in leadership, discipline, anti-bullying and drug awareness. Mentors, who supervise the youth, also serve as positive role models to the DEFY students throughout the program.

Phase II of the program begins after summer camp and involves monthly Saturday sessions. Students attend activities which reinforce and build on their Phase I lessons. Activities during Phase II often include lessons or activities in drug resistance, self-esteem building, leadership, general social skills, team building and community service.  

The Laredo DEFY program has been in existence since 2001 and has not only been a success with youth, but also highlights the successful collaborative efforts of agencies and organizations alike.