06/17/2019 Release from Virginia State Police:

(HARRISONBURG, Va.) - More than 115 teens representing 37 high and middle schools from across the commonwealth will be arriving at James Madison University (JMU) today (Monday, June 17) for a week of educational and hands-on activities that focus on safe driving practices and the importance of making responsible decisions while driving. The 2019 Summer Leadership Retreat is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), a program of the Virginia State Police (VSP).

The annual leadership retreat is being held on the JMU campus in Harrisonburg, Va., from June 17 through June 20. Retreat participants, including students and their YOVASO club advisors, will spend the week learning about how to reduce crash risks, studying negative consequences of poor driving behaviors, and training to serve as youth traffic safety advocates. Participants will use the information to work in peer-to-peer programs in the schools to promote safe teen driving and help prevent motor vehicle crashes among teens. A total of 165 students and adult leaders are registered to attend.

Highlights and new features for the retreat include motivational speaker, Shaun Derik; a TEAM Challenge low ropes course; a session with Mallory’s Movement Against Drunk Driving on finding your passion; and workshops on public speaking and the power of advocacy. Special training sessions for club advisors and SROs will be held daily, and schools will also have time to meet and begin action planning for the upcoming school year.

During the week, students will also participate in interactive safety sessions by the Virginia Trucking Association, the Virginia Department of Transportation, AAA Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education, DRIVE SMART Virginia; and, new this year, KEA Technologies, Inc.’s Driver Alcohol Detection Safety System (DADSS). Students will also participate in a variety of interactive, team-building social events, to include a trivia night, talent show, movie night, and the Amazing Race, “Cinema” style.

“The annual retreat provides students a unique opportunity to learn safe driving and passenger safety skills in a fun and interactive environment,” explains Mary King, YOVASO”s Program Manager. “The retreat also prepares them for the important task of leading peer-to-peer traffic safety programs in their communities in order to combat crashes and fatalities among this high-risk age group. Our goal is to prepare our young leaders to help influence a safe driving culture."

The four-day, three-night retreat concludes with an awards banquet to recognize students, schools, administrators, law enforcement, and business partners for their dedicated and outstanding efforts during the 2018-2019 school year to prevent teen-related traffic crashes and fatalities on Virginia highways.

The retreat is sponsored by YOVASO, VSP, and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in partnership with State Farm Insurance and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. YOVASO is Virginia's Peer-to-Peer Education and Prevention Program for Teen Driver and Passenger Safety. Membership in YOVASO is free and open to all Virginia high schools, middle schools, and youth groups. YOVASO currently has 106 active member schools.

Virginia Schools Represented at YOVASO Retreat:

  • Amelia County High School, Amelia Co.
  • Amherst County High School, Amherst Co.
  • Bluestone High School, Mecklenburg Co.
  • Brooke Point High school, Stafford Co.
  • Cave Spring High School, Roanoke Co. *
  • Central Academy Middle School, Botetourt Co.
  • Christiansburg High School, Montgomery Co.
  • Colonial Heights High School, Colonial Heights City
  • Cosby High School, Chesterfield Co.
  • Elizabeth Davis Middle School, Chesterfield Co.
  • Fluvanna High School, Fluvanna Co.
  • Forest Middle School, Bedford Co.
  • Franklin County High School, Franklin Co.
  • George Wythe High School, Richmond City
  • Gloucester High School, Gloucester Co.
  • Grafton High School, York Co.
  • Halifax County High School, Halifax Co.
  • Heritage High School, Lynchburg City
  • Hidden Valley High School, Roanoke Co. *
  • REACH Homeschool, Fredericksburg City
  • Jefferson Forest High school, Bedford Co.
  • L.C. Bird High School, Chesterfield Co.
  • Liberty High School, Bedford Co.
  • Lousia County High School, Louisa Co.
  • Manchester High School, Chesterfield Co.
  • Midlothian High School, Chesterfield Co.
  • Monacan High School, Chesterfield Co.
  • Mountain View High School, Stafford Co.
  • Northside Middle School *
  • Panther Creek High School, Wake Co.
  • Park View High School, Mecklenburg Co.
  • Patrick Henry High School, Roanoke City
  • Prince George High School, Prince George Co.
  • Stafford High School, Stafford Co.
  • Stanton River Middle School, Bedford Co.
  • Staunton River High School, Bedford Co.
  • Stuarts Draft High School, Augusta Co.
  • The New Community School, Richmond City
  • Thomas Dale High School, Chesterfield Co.
  • William Byrd High School, Roanoke Co.

* SRO only attending from these schools