As we look back on the 2019-2020 school year it is evident that this has been a year no one expected, and will never forget. Although it has been full of uncertainty, it has also been a year full of growth, incredible leadership, and passion.

Below you will find some featured moments from Snowball summer trainings, information on upcoming virtual sessions and a section we are extremely proud and excited to share with you called 'Amplifying Youth Voices'. This section gives space for us to highlight articles and resources that OS Youth Advocates have created. We are so lucky to work with and learn alongside Illinois youth, as their passion and drive continue to push us in the work that we do!

We look forward to welcoming you back in the Fall for Snowball programming, enjoy your summer!

Please feel free to contact Riley Blythe at riley@ilabh.org for any questions about specific Chapter programming.
Practice Our Passions
What an incredible afternoon spent as we gathered on June 9, with nearly 60 leaders from across the country to talk about what it means to Practice Our Passions.

Thank you De'Marco Fomby for once again being a beacon of light in the world that is needed by so many and inspiring our community through honesty, humility, and compassion!
Virtual Team Building
We gathered on June 25, to host a Virtual Team Building training where participants had the opportunity to learn how to continue to build rapport, improve communication and increase group participation utilizing online tools.

Jeremy Butler facilitated innovative ways to keep your audience engaged while also bringing to light the issue of Zoom Fatigue. Thank you for your expertise!
Join us for this year's  FREE  online CGTI!

This year's CGTI is recommended to anyone who has previously attended a CGTI or Snowball event. Open to grades 7th-12th, adult mentors/leaders, and volunteer staff.

All you have to do is click the link below to register. One registration will take care of the full week. We can't wait to see you!
Join us for Episode 4
We are excited to continue our virtual meeting sessions. Episode four will be open to adults only as this session will be focused on virtual fall event schedules, tips and tricks, policies to keep in mind if opting to hold a virtual event, and we will end the meeting with a Q&A session. 

Registration Required
Youth Advocates on the OS Board have been spending the past few months working hard writing articles, creating resources, and engaging our snowball community online.
Please see below!
As we continue to care for others, sometimes the person that needs the most attention from you is you. These days, it seems as if the only things broadcasted are hand-washing videos, startling statistics and numbers, and the idea of making the most out of quarantine. Whether that be coming out with a six-pack, newfound inner peace, and certainly authoring a cookbook, it seems like the only way to successfully quarantine is by milking every single second. This inherently directs your attention to something else -- recipes, workout videos, or meditation -- other than yourself. The COVID-19 outbreak has turned life as we knew it upside down. This is not a "new normal" as everything that is occurring is not normal. Period. None of us has ever dealt with a situation such as this, which is an entirely valid reason to experience feelings of anxiousness or nervousness. This period lacking in normalcy calls for us to truly be kind to ourselves and to maintain or better our mental wellness. 

Here are a couple of tips and tricks on how to take care of yourself during sheltering at home: 
  • Stick to a routine to keep some sense of normalcy and structure in this turbulent period of constant change and unknown variables.  
  • Recognize what you can and can't control. We can't change or cure the coronavirus right now, but we can control our actions during quarantine and how we help ourselves. 
  • If you're not zoomed out, then virtually connecting with others -- especially when feeling lonely -- can help. It's not the same, but it can really help to see loved ones in times like these. 
  • Take walks! Or at least create something to look forward to every day. 
  • Congratulate yourself and fully appreciate the growth that is occurring and the challenges you are overcoming every day. 

If you genuinely find your mental health deteriorating, please seek help as difficult as it may feel. Reaching out for help and being able to talk to a professional about how you're feeling is a sign of strength, if not one of the bravest things someone can do for themselves. Thanks to the international pandemic that is occurring, there are loads of resources online that people can use, such as Talkspace , Betterhelp , Teen Counseling , and Pride Counseling . If you find yourself in a mental health crisis, the Crisis Text Line (just text HOME to 741741) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides free and anonymous support and resources.  

If you don't become a world-class athlete, professional chef, or a hero during quarantine, that's perfectly okay. Don't let outside pressures skew your perspective on yourself or cause you to hold unrealistic expectations. We all are going through a tough time, and your friends are most likely feeling the same way you are. But that doesn't mean to undermine your feelings of negativity or disappointment either. The biggest thing is that we're all in this together. So, as you check-in or say hello to friends, family, and fellow OS members, make sure to check in with yourself too.
Vaping Education
Autumn Boeing | Schaumburg, IL

Teen vaping is something I am very passionate about because I have seen first-hand the effects it can have on a person, their school, and community.

Please click the picture to access a downloadable PDF to keep for your records.
Keeping Busy this Summer
Forwarding the Warm Fuzzies
Almost three full months into quarantine, it might be challenging to continue to find new ways to connect to the Operation Snowball spirit. Some of us have picked up new hobbies, and others of us have quit old habits. Maybe you've worked on adapting your programs and events for the coming months or finding ways to make them available now. Like many of us, perhaps you've been staring at a screen for more hours than your eyeballs were prepared for. 
Natalie Maggiore | OS Board
Operation Snowball is certainly different when you can't meet face to face, exchange in the joy of celebrating and uplifting your community together. One of the best parts of Operation Snowball is precisely what its name speaks to - the gathering of a crowd of like-minded people that keeps growing, forming, and connecting, inside and outside the places and schools and organizations we call home.
One of the most beloved Snowball traditions, giving and receiving Warm Fuzzies, highlights that togetherness. Through time together, planning, networking, sharing in goals and passions, we form bonds that are the foundation of the organization. And though we can't participate in this tradition together now, we know that finding new ways to incorporate it into everyday life is just one way to keep the OS spirit thriving. 
Below you'll find three different OS Warm Fuzzy postcards. You can use them to send some good vibes, check-in, or just say hello to OS friends, mentors, speakers, someone you might want to join OS or anyone you think represents or could use the OS spirit. 
For inquiries and scheduling requests please contact Riley Blythe
riley@ilabh.org | 217.528.7335 ext. 27

Mental Health Resources
for Schools & Students Amidst COVID-19
Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress.

Vaping: Know the Facts Toolkit
An awareness campaign and toolkit for parents, teachers, school administrators, and teens. As the real risks of “vaping” remain largely misunderstood by adults and teens alike, Vaping: Know the Facts boils down the latest science into a free, open-source toolkit that explains the harms associated with adolescent vaping and empowers audiences with the tools to take action.
K-12 Toolkit for
Mental Health Promotion
and Suicide Prevention
The K-12 Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention was created by the Health Care Alliance for Response to Adolescent Depression (HEARD) in 2013 (updated in 2017), in response to a need for schools to promote student mental health and well-being, to prevent suicide and, in particular, how to respond after a suicide loss. 

 The toolkit convenes national best practices from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH), and several other organizations. 
How to Get Help
If you or someone you know is in a suicidal crisis, call or text a suicide hotline (toll free, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week):
  • Text HELLO to 741741 to connect with someone
  • Call SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Call 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • Call 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) for hearing & speech impaired
  • Call 1-866-488-7386 for the Trevor Project, a suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth
MISSION STATEMENT: Through the development of leadership skills, Operation Snowball shall be a youth and adult partnership, providing awareness and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, while encouraging healthy decision-making in an active community of caring.
Operation Snowball, Inc.

937 South 2nd Street | Springfield, IL 62704
217.528.7335 ext. 27