Teen Videofest

State: TX Type: Model Practice Year: 2003

Teen Videofest, now in its fifth year, challenges teens to speak out on aspects of teen health that directly affect them and their peers by creating videos with effective health promotion messages. The project is open to youth, ages 13-19, who reside or attend school in Tarrant County. Participants are provided general health categories from which to draw their topics, are encouraged to work in teams, are given high-quality VHS tapes, and must do most of the production work with no direct adult help. They also receive editing assistance from companies and organizations willing to enhance the Teen Videofest learning experience. In 2003, 215 students worked on 80 teams and submitted 86 videos. The videos reach a broad audience of youth and adults through venues such as health fairs, health education events in schools and the community, on cable and closed circuit TV, at special events, and other video festivals.
Teenagers today face a multitude of challenges and make important social and health decisions that have serious consequences for their lives, their future health, their families, and the health of the community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified six key risk behaviors for adolescents: poor eating habits, physical inactivity, tobacco use, abuse of alcohol or other drugs, behaviors that result in unintentional or intentional injury, and sexual activity that results in HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases, or unintended pregnancy. Health promotion and disease prevention efforts addressing these concerns are needed. Teen Videofest offers youth an opportunity to address these health issues.Teen Videofest is innovative in a variety of ways: The project gives teenagers a meaningful and valuable way to help other teens improve their health and well-being through the positive messages they incorporate in their videos.  Both youth and adults are involved in the judging process.  Participants, their families and friends, as well as representatives from all organizations involved, are invited to the Teen Videofest Awards Night ceremony, where finalist videos are screened and prizes are awarded to the winning teen producers. The event is free, open to the public, and usually hosted by a radio personality popular with local teens.  To accommodate growing interest in these videos and to further their use in multiple educational settings, Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) has prepared a Teen Videofest Reference Guide. These videos are available for schools and other organizations to view and use for educational purposes.  Many participants have decided to pursue a career in film production and have enrolled in a collegiate radio and television broadcasting program.  TCPH developed this program and promotes its adoption for other communities. This program has also received several honors for its admirable work with teens.
TCPH is the lead agency in developing and implementing Teen Videofest, but this project would not be successful without assistance from several community partners. These partners identified sources for funding, provided marketing and promotional ideas, and supplied technical and editing assistance.In the area of marketing and promotion, the Texas Education Association Education Services Center - Region 11 continues to make all winning videos available throughout the eight surrounding counties in their region, ensuring distribution of the message beyond Tarrant County. In a continuing partnership, all winning videos are screened at the Fort Worth Film Festival. FM 97.9 “The Beat,” popular with the youth market, has served as a local media partner, promoting and emceeing the event. The Fort Worth Star Telegram and television stations WFAA Channel 8 and WB-33 each have done follow-up stories on the event. Also, the awards ceremony has been featured on Fort Worth City Cable. Furthermore, teams are provided technical and editing assistance by local video production studios and the Radio and Television Broadcasting Program of the Tarrant County College Northeast Campus. TCPH’s relationship with Denton County Health Department and the Denton County ISD was crucial to including youth in the judging process. Allowing youth to make the first round cuts helps to ensure that those videos with the most pressing issues for youth get through and not just those that adults think are important teen health issues. In order to foster long-lasting productive collaborations, TCPH invited many to be involved in the development and implementation phases. For those who responded, recognition of their involvement was provided in various ways, such as logos of major sponsors and contributors placed on t-shirts and awards night programs, certificates of appreciation, and mention in the Teen Videofest Reference Guide. Among the contributors to Teen Videofest since its inception in 1999 are: TCPH, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Amon Carter Foundation, Bristol Meyers Pharmaceutical Company, Ortho-Biotech Pharmaceutical Company, Community Health Foundation, Alcon Foundation, Tarrant County Medical Alliance Foundation, Harris Methodist Health Foundation, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dr. Pepper and 7-Up Bottling Group, Mental Health Association of Tarrant County, CQ Communications Group, Inc., Tarrant Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse – Put It Out Coalition and Family Violence Prevention Project.Below is the itemized budget for the Teen Videofest project: Project Supplies Postage (recruiting participants) - $1,000; videotapes (50 –120 min to record, 50 - 15min to submit edited) - $170; printing (posters, flyers, awards ceremony invitations and programs) - $500; other supplies (video labels, expanding files) - $175. Technical assistance Camcorder rental (for teams without access) - $165  Editing assistance For winning videos master (professional services) - $1,800; duplication of winning master videotapes - $175. Incentives and awards T-shirts (535 @ $4.00 each) - $2,140; Medallions (84 @ $11.95 for each member of winning team) - $1,000; Awards Ceremony Gala  Community Auditorium Rental - $1,200; Video projector rental (showing top entries) - $900; Auditorium stagehand, lighting, sound personnel, ushers - $655; Other Refreshments for training workshops and video judging sessions, meetings and Commissioners Court Recognition - $120. TOTAL - $10,000  CURRENT SOURCES OF INCOME AND EXPENSES Other Teen Videofest Contributors Tarrant County Public Health Program Budget - $2,500 Additional funding for cash prizes (various sources) - $5,000 TOTAL - $17,500  TCPHD In-Kind - % FTE/10 Months: Administrative Assistant - 2%, Administrative Assistant III - 3%, Public Information Officer - 8%, Health Educator II - 35%, Health Educator I -12%, Health Educator I - 25%, Health Planner - 2% Department Manager - 7%, Associate Director - 3% TOTAL - $50,914
Teen Videofest evaluation efforts include participant and user evaluation forms, planning and steering committee feedback, focus session feedback from video team members. All attendees at the awards ceremony, as well as all schools and community groups that borrow and show the videos are asked to complete a brief evaluation on the effectiveness of the messages. TCPH staff also evaluates Teen Videofest through de-briefing sessions where they examine project organization, implementation process and target audience participation. Organization and implementation factors include committee members' roles and responsibilities and communication. Program processes include recruiting teams of youth to produce videos, coaching and assistance for video teams, professional technical assistance in producing final edited videos, judging of the videos, designing and obtaining incentives for all participants and the awards for the teams producing the winning videos, conducting the awards ceremony and developing and implementing a media plan to promote and encourage viewing of the videos by other youth and adult groups. In addition, focus groups with participating teens are held after the awards ceremony and the results are analyzed. Participant comments indicate Teen Videofest is perceived as a positive, fun team project that helps young people by providing a positive peer message. Many participants commented that they liked having an opportunity to be creative and for their voice to be heard. They also learned a lot about production and working with people and liked competing for cash prizes. One participant said the best thing about the experience was "giving people a chance to look at life through the eyes of a teenager."
Tarrant County Public Health’s vision is healthy people in healthy communities, and the mission is to promote community health, prevent disease and injury, and assure healthy and safe environments. For that reason, there are plans to continue this worthwhile project for many years to come. This project is highly adaptable to new youth health issues and to the creative potential of video itself, as well as to new electronic formats. Teen Videofest gives youth a valuable role in improving public health through their creative messages to other youth. It also enriches educational programs, promotes leadership and responsibility, and develops youth assets. It provides a benefit to the community by creating a worthwhile youth project that requires a great deal of cooperation and teamwork. The community benefits from an increased understanding about the challenges that teens face. Teen Videofest is attempting to meet a need to make a positive impact on the health of the community now and in the future by using limited resources to reach the widest possible audience. The Health Education Resources Center (HERC) will house and promote the complete Teen Videofest library. TCPH will ensure these new resources, a growing number of videos on an expanding number of youth health issues, are available to the community as educational tools in schools, at youth health fairs, and in after-school programs. Thus, TCPH is always eager to sign on sponsors and contributors, and to acquire additional venues to showcase the efforts of these youth. There were some challenges encountered. Prize money. Because TCPH is a county government agency and is not allowed to use funds as cash prizes, sources had to be identified that would be willing to support that aspect of the project. A total of $5,000 is needed for 1st ($500), 2nd ($250) and 3rd ($150) place in all categories and $500 for the Grand Prize Winner (best of the 1st place winners). The Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance Foundation, who strongly believes in the project and has a vested interest in the health and well-being of youth, provided funds to cover the cash prizes and distribution of those cash prizes. Every year since its inception, they have been major supporters, not just financially, but as planning and steering committee members as well as volunteers at the Teen Videofest Awards Night.  Venue. Finding a suitable venue for the awards night is a continuing challenge. The first year’s venue was (350 capacity) the following year, it was an auditorium (2500 capacity). Both of these locations are in Fort Worth. Since the contest is open to youth who live in Tarrant County, TCPH wanted to find a central location. Internal staff researched various venues throughout the county, and many were unsuitable due to capacity or unavailable on requested dates, or unable to meet legal requirements. Internal TCPH staff continues to research potential venues each year.  Youth participation. Because youth participation is directly linked to the success of the project, TCPH seeks to increase participation annually. An announcement poster is mailed to all Tarrant County youth-serving organizations, after-school programs, Superintendents, ISDs (middle/ high school – principals, counselors, media technology instructors, drama teachers, health teachers, nurses, and prevention specialists), churches, various home school associations, and libraries. Registration forms are accessible at schools, at the orientation workshops (held in different parts of the county), and on the TCPH Web page. This year, for the first time, a complete directory (Teen Videofest Reference Guide) describing all videos was developed, along with a demo tape (Teen Videofest Sample Clips), and mailed to contacts in over 400 schools, fire and police departments, youth-serving agencies and libraries in Tarrant County. For other agencies seeking to adapt or replicate this project, TCPH recommends the following: Begin the planning process at least nine or ten months prior to awards night.  Identify funding sources early.  Early on, identify a venue for holding the awards night event. Complete the final round judging prior to the awards night and not the night of the event, due to time constraints. Allow at least two days between the video submission date and the judging to view submitted videos for any technical problems, in order to ensure the judging process runs smoothly. Allow at least two weeks between completion of judging and the awards night in order to develop the awards night show tape. Teen Videofest is a labor-intensive project. TCPH provides substantial in-kind staff time and effort from health educators, a new health instructor, a public information officer, the health planner, and department management. Several TCPH staff in other divisions also serve on the planning committee. The Teen Videofest planning committee developed policies regarding submission of application forms, parental consent, and deadlines for submission of entries. The committee also developed polices on the release of raw footage and on the edited master tapes becoming the property of TCPH.