The Healthy Youth Summits

The vision for the Bainbridge Healthy Youth Alliance (BHYA) emerged in 2013-2014. Bainbridge Youth Services, Raising Resilience, Rotary, and Bainbridge Island School District sponsored Healthy Youth Summits—community gatherings to discuss important questions, like:

  • “As a community, are we supporting thriving youth?”
  • “What would Bainbridge look like if we were fully supporting the positive development of our young people?”
  • “What can we do individually and collectively to better support youth development?”

You can read summaries and view videos from these summits here:

Summit 1Summit 2Summit 3Summit 4 | Summit 5

Some participants voiced concerns about substance abuse, stress, pressure, depression and anxiety among island teens. Research shows these issues are not unique to Bainbridge Island, but common in communities similar to ours.[1]  Nationally, surveys of incoming college freshman also reveal similar mental health concerns.[2]

Ultimately, Summit participants voiced a desire to enhance and cultivate the following for our young people:

  • Recognition of the different talents and strengths of each individual.
  • Physical and social/emotional health.
  • Opportunities for engaged hands-on learning.
  • Respect for diversity of interests and career aspirations that may or may not include college.
  • Character traits and attributes that don’t show up on a report card, such as caring, empathy, integrity and resilience.
  • Appreciation and respect for diversity and different cultural norms.
  • Opportunities for meaningful service learning.

Through surveys and summit participation, hundreds of teens expressed a desire for:

  • Input on decisions that affect them in our community.
  • Help with exploring their interests and passions.
  • Being celebrated for who they are, not just for what they achieve.

While Bainbridge Island is a great place to raise children, with award-winning schools, safe streets, beautiful scenery and relative affluence, we can do much better to support our youth, from cradle to career.

[1] Luthar,S.S.,& Becker, B. (2002), ”Privileged but pressured? A study of affluent youth,” Child Development 73, 1593-1610.

[2] Eagan,K., Stolzenbert, E., Ramirez, J., Aragon, M., Suchard, M., Hurtado, S. (2015) “The American Freshman:National Norms Fall 2014.” CIRP Retrieved 4/15