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The United States Attorney's Office

Eastern District of Pennsylvania

D E F Y - Drug Education For Youth


Drug Education For Youth (DEFY), developed by the Department of the Navy's Drug Demand Reduction Task Force staff, is a comprehensive and multiphase prevention program for kids ages 9-12. DEFY deters at-risk behaviors by giving kids the tools they need to resist drugs, gang, 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 role models.
  • To deliver life-skills training.
  • To deter drug use and gang involvement.

DEFY consists of four integrated components which together Provide a year-long experience for 9-12 year old youth:

  1. Camp - Phase I: A residential summer camp which kicks off the DEFY program.

  2. Mentoring - Phase II: A 10 Month mentoring program in which DEFY youth are matched with an adult mentor team throughout the school year.

  3. Parent Involvement - Throughout and upon completion of the DEFY program, DEFY Program Coordinators, Camp Directors, Team Leaders and Mentors actively encourage parents/guardians to become involved in supporting their children's commitment to a positive, drug free lifestyle.

  4. Outplacement - All DEFY graduates receive support and encouragement to become enrolled and actively participate in an appropriate follow-up program in their school/community.

DEFY delivers leadership and life-skills training for kids ages 9 to 12 by teaching team building, conflict resolution skills and techniques, age-appropriate goal setting, and self-confidence. DEFY consists of four integrated components, which together provide a yearlong experience for 9- to 12-year- old youth. As part of Phase I youth attend a residential leadership training camp experience that kicks off the DEFY program at the PA National Guard Base in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. Phase I provides lessons on leadership, team building, conflict resolution, goal setting, and self-confidence. The summer camp is structured to provide focused and quality training time in a fun environment that permits a relaxed but organized and memorable experience for campers.

During Phase II, DEFY youth are paired with adult mentors for a 10-month mentoring program during the school year. Mentoring events are built around a curriculum module that reinforces skills, techniques, and procedures taught in the Phase I camp. Mentors spend time with youth, attending interactive workshops and participating in special activities such as community service and cultural events. Parent involvement is a long-term effort in which DEFY program coordinators, camp directors, team leaders, and mentors encourage parents and guardians to support their children's commitment to a positive, drug-free lifestyle. Outplacement is another long-term effort in which DEFY adults ensure that all DEFY graduates receive the support and encouragement necessary to participate in a structured, community-based, youth activity program.

Updated December 15, 2014

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