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 DEFY Camps

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Drug Education for Youth (DEFY)

The Drug Education For Youth (DEFY) program began as a special initiative of the Secretary of the Navy in 1992.  As part of its training in "Fleet Readiness," which requires that families be separated for extended periods of time, the Navy developed a two-phase program focused on 9 to 12 year old children in an effort to dissuade them from joining gangs and taking drugs.  Phase I consists of a five day residential camp that combines classroom instruction with activities designed to teach leadership, self-esteem, conflict resolution, and team building.  Phase II is a mentor program.  Individuals who participated in Phase I return to their homes and are assigned mentors, who meet with them at least monthly and who reinforce anti-drug, anti-gang, self-esteem, leadership, teamwork, and conflict resolution themes.

 In 1996, the Department of Justice, with the a successful Weed and Seed program in place, entered into a formal agreement with the Department of the Navy to transport the DEFY program to existing Weed and Seed sites.  In 1998, this Office agreed with the California National Guard to find a training facility and furnish staff.  Two Weed and Seed sites joined the program in 1998 and four additional sites joined the program in 1999, making the Northern District of California the leader in the DEFY program with the largest number of DOJ-sponsored DEFY camps in any District nationwide.  Annually, this District sends approximately 200 boys and girls to a Phase I camp located in San Luis Obispo, CA.