On September 20, Watrous and District Ambulance, Watrous First Responders, Saskatoon Health Region, and the Saskatchewan Central ABI Outreach Team co-ordinated to bring the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) Program to Watrous for Grades 10 and 11 students.

Twelve volunteers, 12 presenters and 12 mock crash volunteers took part in the event for the students.

The goal of the program is to provide young people with information about traumas that will enable them to recognize potential injury-producing situations, make prevention-oriented choices, and adopt behaviours that minimize unnecessary risk. This program is a vital component of the growing community effort to reduce death and injury in alcohol and risk-related crashes and other incidents.

What happens in the program: Students follow the course of injury from occurrence, demonstrated through the mock crash, through transport, treatment, rehabilitation and community re-integration phases. They interact with a team of professionals that includes Emergency Medical Services personnel, firefighters, RCMP officers, ER nurses, addictions counsellors, and physiotherapists.

PARTY Program in Watrous; Mock crash

The mock crash starts off the day for the PARTY program. Photo courtesy Daniel Bushman/The Watrous Manitou

Students are given information about:

  • basic anatomy, physiology and the mechanics of injury
  • the effects of alcohol/drugs on decision-making, judgment, concentration and co-ordination
  • the nature of injuries that can be repaired and those that cannot
  • the effect of injury on families, finances and future plans
Therapies presentation

A Therapies presentation is party of the PARTY program.

A lunch, where students eat with props to stimulate a variety of injuries, was also provided.

The full day concluded with a presentation from Nolan Barnes, a 24-year-old motivational speaker who told high school students about the decision that left him in a wheelchair.

In 2010, Barnes was in a vehicle with eight other people driving from Saskatoon to Yorkton. He decided to undo his seat belt and get into the back to have a nap. The next thing he remembered was waking up on the grass.

Barnes spoke candidly during his presentation talking openly about negative life choices like drugs and drinking that led him to the road that night. He then goes on to talk about how he has overcome addiction and adversity.

Emergency demonstration

What happens in the emergency room is also part of the PARTY program every year.

The program concluded with a challenge to the participants to become individually and collectively committed to promoting behaviours and activities that minimize the risk of injury.

Students report that the experience is “eye-opening and positive” and a must for all young people.

The program is offered in many communities throughout Saskatchewan each year.  Its message of: “Drive Sober, Wear the Gear, Look First, Buckle Up and Get Trained” has reached several thousands of students.

The response from students, teachers, parents and police, emergency and healthcare professionals has been extremely positive and the impact is evident from completed feedback forms and pre/post test data.