The Challenge: How do you express to thousands of young people at a children’s fair that staying free from drug use is the right way to go – and keep it fun at the same time?
The Answer: Make it interactive, keep it light, make it voluntary and staff it with great people!
Those were the answers developed for the Narconon Drug Education booth at the Children’s Day Fair at Woodland Park in Van Nuys, California, held from 9 AM to 6 PM on September 17, 2011. News reports placed the number of attendees – children, their parents and interested neighbors – at 50,000. Attractions included young singers and dancers, fire trucks, police motorcycles and a helicopter, an armored Humvee, games and rides. Resource booths providing the community with information ran the gamut from sports, drama, song and dance to anti-gang programs and of course, the Narconon booth education all visitors on the benefits of a drug-free life.
Chipper and cheerful, teen volunteers and Narconon staff greeted fair attendees with the offer of the educational booklet “Ten Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs” and encouragement to sign a drug-free pledge.
More than five hundred young people and their parents signed the drug-free pledge and then got the opportunity to help complete the artwork in the booth. Two drawings of hip-hop youth on banners in the booth were wearing all-white clothing in the morning, but by the end of the fair, pledge signers had gotten to fill in their clothes, shoes and hats with bright colors. Toward the end of the fair day, the bright images giving a “thumbs-down to drugs” and a “thumbs-up to life” were so appealing that some attendees wanted to have their pictures taken with the images.
With local celebrities and entertainers headlining many of the events, the Children’s Fair proved to be an excellent way to convey the drug-free message to thousands of people in the San Fernando Valley. You can be sure that there will be another booth at next year’s event!