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Frequently Asked Questions About Weed And Seed DEFY: What Is DEFY?

Drug Education for Youth (DEFY), developed by the Department of the Navy's Drug Demand Reduction Task Force staff, is a comprehensive and multi-phased prevention program for kids ages 9 to 12. DEFY deters at-risk behaviors by giving kids the tools they need to resist drugs, gangs, and alcohol and includes skill-based activities that help youth positively shape their future. The leadership and life skills provided by DEFY include goal setting, team building, conflict resolution, and decision making. Simply stated, DEFY has three goals:

  • To develop relationships between youth and positive adult role models.
  • To deliver life-skills training.
  • To deter drug use and gang involvement.

Each summer, DEFY sponsors a summer training camp program-DEFY Phase I-that lasts for 6 days. DEFY Phase II is a school-year mentoring program that reinforces the training and education received in Phase I.

Why does Target youth ages 9 to 12?

DEFY is a unique, comprehensive prevention program that strengthens protective factors and reduces risk factors that scientific research has directly linked to adolescent alcohol and drug abuse, school failure, delinquency, and violence. The DEFY curriculum is tightly focused on 9- to 12year-old youth because the primary exposure to high-risk behaviors occurs during the middle school years (grades 7 to 9 and ages 11 to 14). Logically, if we want to prevent high-risk behavior in the II-to-14 age bracket, we must first educate the 9- to 12-year-old youth.

Research has shown that prevention measures that instill self-confidence, teach conflict resolution techniques and emphasize the importance of education are very successful at thwarting drug use and gang affiliation.

DEFY combats the temptations and peer pressure associated with drugs and gangs by teaching the importance of education, health, physical fitness, and citizenship to youth ages 9 to 12.

What are the phases of DEFY?

DEFY consists of four integrated components that together provide a structured year-long experience for 9- to 12-year-old youth:

Summer Training Camp-Phase 1: A nonresidential or residential training camp, usually held at a military facility. Phase I provides a focused learning environment conducive to teaching leadership, team building, conflict resolution, and goal setting and increasing self­ confidence. Although classroom education is key to the program, DEFY camp also provides physical fitness and other outside activities that reinforce fundamental principles taught in the classroom.

Mentoring-Phase 11: A 10-month mentoring program, during the school year, in which DEFY youth are paired with adult mentors. Mentoring events are built around a curriculum module that reinforces skills, techniques, and procedures taught in the Phase I camp. The Phase II mentoring program derives directly from Phase I.

Parent and Guardian Engagement: The DEFY program does not intend its staff or Phase II mentors to be substitutes for parents and guardians. It is therefore crucial that parents and guardians be fully informed of their role in their child's success in the DEFY program, including their responsibility as role models in the use of alcohol and tobacco and other deleterious behaviors.

Outplacement: All DEFY graduates receive the support and encouragement necessary to actively participate in appropriate follow up programs in their schools and communities.

What is the difference between a residential and a nonresidential summer training camp program?

The Phase I summer camp can be either residential, meaning that the children remain at the site for the entire 5-day period, or nonresidential, meaning that the children go home every night. The length of a nonresidential camp may be up to 8 days. Both residential and nonresidential camps follow the DEFY Phase I curriculum, which includes classroom instruction, physical fitness activities, and educational trips. Deciding which type of camp to host depends on the number of campers and the staff, facilities, and funding available.

How does DEFY differ from other prevention programs?

In addition to providing extensive education about drug use and its effects, DEFY offers conflict resolution skills training, self-esteem building, and physical fit­ness training.

Military role models who promote positive life choices.

Activities that DEFY youth might not experience otherwise, e.g., parachute drops.

Prosecutors, police officers, military personnel, federal probation personnel and other adult mentors assist youths ages 9 to 12.

A structured opportunity for parents and guardians to participate in children's lives.

For the first 11 years the camp was held at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.  From 2008-2010, the camp was relocated to Camp Copneconic in Fenton, MI.

For Additional Information Contact:

Robert Poikey Nancy Abraham
Law Enforcement Manager Assistant U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office U.S. Attorney's Office
211 West Fort St.,Suite 2001 600 Church St. Federal Bldg. Suite, 200
Detroit, MI 48226 Flint, MI 48502
Phone: 313-226-9100 Phone: 810-766-5177


Updated April 22, 2015

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