Teen Mom for a Day: My Experience at Teen Maze

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Annabelle Braden graduates at Rome-Floyd County Teen Maze
It was a long road to “graduation” at the Teen Maze, but we made it!
The Coosa Valley Fairgrounds in Floyd County swarmed in October with 1,300 ninth graders, who learned that abusing drugs and alcohol, engaging in risky sexual activity, and driving under the influence or while texting comes with a price they’re not willing to pay.

They were participating in Floyd County’s fourth annual Teen Maze—a life-size game board that shows young people how the choices they make now have life-long repercussions.

“Our effort behind the Teen Maze is focused on the importance of graduating from high school,” said Carol Willis, executive director of Rome-Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth, the Georgia Family Connection Collaborative. “We provide real-life experiences that often get in the way of reaching that goal.

Willis said the Collaborative and partner, Public Health, could never pull off this mega event—which attracts students from the Floyd County and Rome City school systems, and from Darlington School and Unity Christian School—without the 250 community volunteers. “I can think of no other collaborative effort in Floyd County that has as many people investing their time, talent, and financial support,” she said.

Willis said that while she and her partners can talk about the Teen Maze’s success, hearing from the students is what really matters. Willis shared a blog that Annabelle Braden, a ninth grader at Darlington School wrote, which she said speaks volumes about the experience from the eyes of a student participant:

Teen Mom for a Day: My Experience at Teen Maze

On Oct. 29, the freshman class attended the annual
Floyd County Teen Maze at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds. It was definitely an eye-opener into the real world and what actually happens with teens nowadays.

When we first got off of the bus, we were given a colored wristband to determine what would happen after the introduction – of course, my friends and I switched colors with other people so we could be in the same group. Little did we know, we would only be in our group for about 2.5 minutes.

The introduction went something like this: Person runs into a pole with a car; man gets ejected and dies right then and there; sister and parents scream – totally freaky.

After they told us the actual story of this crash and how we shouldn’t drink or text while driving, I knew the day would be full of surprises. Next, my group went to the emergency room while some groups “died,” went to jail, or just went a different direction. Then we were split up, every man/woman for themselves.

I went to the first station, and my scenario? The hottest guy in school takes me on a date and wants to hook up. I had to pick a piece of paper with an answer. Do you hook up? Well just my luck—I picked “yes.” I moved on with my scenario and took it like a woman. Next thing you know, I have a “pregnancy belly” on and I’m walking to rehab where I found out that because of my decision to do drugs, my kid would never walk.

Soon after that, they gave me a baby doll to put on its diaper and some clothes. After I found out that all of the baby “works,” I then realized that the baby was staying with me all day. I then had to get insurance, get a job and open a bank account. Carrying around that baby, making up a name for it, filling out a lot of paperwork, and lastly getting questioned why I had a baby so young was not ideal. I quickly realized I did not want a kid, or at least not until later on in life.

Finally, I left the baby at “daycare” and got to graduate. After hearing about what all happened to my friends, I realized that mine was actually a good day.

Looking back on the Teen Maze, it most definitely opened my eyes on what not to do. I realize that drugs and other harmful things are just not worth it.

Read Annabelle’s blog entry on darlingtonschool.org.