Marshfield Medical Center-Minocqua, 2022 Community Benefits

Annual Conference Helps Local Youth Thrive

The Vilas County Youth Coalition works with Northwoods Coalition, a program of Marshfield Clinic Health System, and other local agencies to host the annual “Positive Alternatives Conference” to give sixth and seventh graders the opportunity to learn, collaborate, make new friends and have fun.

The conference hosts over 200 students and is the only event that draws students together from four different schools representing 12 towns in two counties. These students will eventually become classmates when they move on to high school. The goal of the conference is to introduce students to local resources and provide experiences that help them thrive. Seven different sessions are offered, which include information about outdoor skills, healthy relationships, impacts of substance use, Native American cultural activities, teambuilding opportunities and more.

Seventy percent of youth attendees rated the sessions as “Good” or “Excellent.” The most highly rated sessions included “Cultural Connection & Awareness,” “Outdoor Education with the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission,” and the team building sessions. 
By encouraging collaborative learning across the school districts, students learn how to work together and often leave with a new friend or two. As one sixth-grader put it, “You never know who you can be friends with.”