We live in a dangerous, chaotic and stress-filled world that is experiencing tremendous economic instability, rapid technological change, multiple wars, revolutions and religious conflicts, and widespread dislocation caused by exponential population growth. Young people here in America are not immune to these pressures – they’re being challenged daily by the intense stresses placed on them by society, their peers, a major breakdown in traditional values, widespread family dysfunction, financial insecurity, high crime rates, gang violence, an increase in drug and alcohol-related problems, a highly competitive educational system, and by a sensationalist 24 hour news cycle that’s designed to win advertising dollars at the expense of their peace of mind. Stress may be the single most dangerous condition that young people confront every day, and many of them are suffering major stress-related ailments as a result.

Brad Cook was on the front lines as a teacher, health educator, track coach and mentor in the public schools for thirty-five years, and he spent an entire career observing the challenges that young people face. He’s learned that stress affects virtually every aspect of their lives – their academic performance, their desire to participate in sports and social activities, their ability to trust and confide in their peers, teachers and parents, and their ability to establish goals or to follow their dreams. He has also observed the secondary conditions that young people suffer from as a result of stress – insecurity, depression, hopelessness, and even a level of rage that can lead to violence towards themselves or others. Brad understands firsthand that the toll these young people pay as a result of stress is all too often fatal, for he has seen it play out too many times on the streets of the city he taught in, or in the news stories about deadly car crashes and suicides.

Over the course of his career Brad developed a plan for helping young people deal with stress. He learned where the major sources of student stress came from, and he discovered the warning signals that often indicated a student was near a breaking point due to stress. He also learned that although school and professional counseling sometimes helped, the best intervention was often done by young peoples’ peers – it was their friends and classmates who knew them best, and it was these very same kids who could break the code of silence and stigma associated with those suffering from stress.

The “Trail Dreams: Essentials of Stress Management” workshop is offered as a “must see” supplementary program that’s designed to help young people identify the causes of stress in their own lives, as well as in their peers’ lives, and to instruct them on the procedures for taking proactive steps to neutralize stress. Through this crucial program Brad will introduce attendees to “The 5 Greatest Stress Factors for Young People,” and he’ll discuss “The Warning Signs of Stress.” He’ll demonstrate how to recognize these conditions in their peers, and how to trust and confide in each other utilizing “The 5 Essential Qualities for Confiding in People.” He’ll also discuss how to know when its time to break the code of silence in order to save a life, and he’ll finish with the “3 Steps of Relaxation Response,” utilizing instructional tapes and meditation music.

Please contact Brad or Samantha to schedule a workshop, or to obtain additional information about Trail Dreams programs.