CADCA Forum 2017 Recap

Kaela Prall-Moore, BA

National Harbor, Maryland is a tiny waterfront town whose streets are lined with eclectic shops, statues, and art pieces. It sits just on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., its shining face and iconic Ferris wheel reflected in the Potomac at night. Once a year, it becomes home to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Forum, hosting thousands of coalition members, professionals, and young people as they come to network, learn about the latest news in prevention, and develop their leadership skills.

Several Kansas coalitions and organizations were in attendance. The Forum’s four days were packed full of sessions, including presentations from neuroscientists, coalitions, statisticians, public health advisors, training specialists, and more. The topic this year, Engineering Healthy Communities, reflected the tone of prevention throughout the nation—we want healthier communities and we’re working hard to figure out the blueprint that will make this dream a reality.

One very necessary part of that blueprint is collaborating with government representatives so they understand the prevention work being done in their states and communities. The CADCA Forum provides this opportunity to attendees by setting up appointments for coalitions to meet with their representatives and senators on Capitol Hill.

Kansas coalition members from Johnson County, Allen County, Reno County, and Sedgwick County met with their representatives and senators’ staff. Two youth leaders from Reno County, both sophomores in high school, shared about the e-cigarette policy change they were able to enact in their county as the result of years of dedicated work. It was so exciting to see Kansas coalitions and young people sharing the amazing work they’re doing in Kansas communities.

This was my first year attending and I was overwhelmed with the number of sessions. There were so many I wanted to be part of! I took several pages of notes throughout the week and walked away with an abundance of valuable information. One of my favorite things that kept coming up in sessions is “local people have the best solutions for local problems.” It’s a great catchphrase and it’s also very true. Local coalitions are transforming their communities through tireless work and innovation. It is an honor to support them in that work and I look forward to sharing more of what I learned at the Forum in future blog posts!

The CADCA Mid-Year Training Institute is coming up in Atlanta, GA on July 23-27. It will be an excellent time of learning and networking with coalitions from all over the country. Don’t miss it!

Photo Caption: From left to right, Kaela Prall-Moore, Community Engagement Institute; Bob Hedberg, DCCCA; Jaime Oswald Westervelt, ACMAT; Senator Jerry Moran; Abbey Pemberton, Reno Co Communities That Care; Taylor Lang, Reno Co Communities That Care; Elizabeth Hopkins, ACMAT; Carla Smith, Reno Co Communities That Care