Area Students To Experience Reality Of Teen Maze

Friday, September 27, 2013

Teen Maze 2013 begins Monday, in Dalton City, Murray County, and Whitfield County. Throughout the week, over 2,300 students will converge on the North Georgia Agricultural Fairgrounds to experience first-hand the consequences of randomly selected life-style choices associated with risky youth behaviors. Students will get to explore and see the realistic results that often accompany these bad choices. 

“The purpose of Teen Maze is to help students realize that one bad choice can quickly lead to more bad choices.  The consequences of these risky choices can last a lifetime, “ Suzanne Harbin, Whitfield Family Connection Coordinator explained.   

Students will begin the Maze by first hearing Chris Sandy, a motivational speaker whose award winning program “Enduring Regret” tracks the life journey of Mr. Sandy and how his bad choice to drink and drive ultimately created a reality of different outcomes not only for his life, but affected many others as well. 

As the teens travel through this “Game of Life”, they will experience a party, witness a deadly crash, and some will even attend their own funeral.  Other students may wind up in the emergency room, juvenile court, or at the pregnancy clinic.  

“Teenagers, by nature, have an invincibility complex.  Even when they know, or have been told the facts, they have a pervasive attitude that, 'It’ll never happen to me.' Teen Maze presents actual, real life, and realistic scenarios in a way that engages all of the student’s senses.  Our hope is that after Teen Maze, our kids will remember to think before they do something that could have very serious, even fatal consequences,” Jackie Taylor, school social worker for Dalton Public Schools said. 

Teen Maze 2013 has been a combined effort of many community resources. “Teen Maze is a perfect example of the collaborative efforts that Georgia Family Connection seeks to help facilitate in our community and in communities across the state.  We strive to support and create conditions which promote collaboration of community resources in order to promote the well-being of children and families within Whitfield County.  Teen Maze touches on so many of those issues,” Ms. Harbin said.  

Presenting sponsors for the event include Shaw Industries, Walmart, Georgia Family Connection, Hamilton Medical Center, Chick-Fil-A, Dan Combs State Farm, Caylor Industrial Sales, the North Georgia Agricultural Fairground, Courtyard by Marriott, Kiwanis and Dalton. 

“Shaw Industries strives to create a better future for the communities where we work and live,” said Steve Laird, director of Contract Administration with Shaw and treasurer for Teen Maze.  “Supporting this program aligns with Shaw’s vision for the future, and through it, we hope to see future leaders emerge, armed with knowledge and focused on a brighter tomorrow.”

Teen Maze 2013 first started with just a small group of youth advocates from our community who looked into possibility of bringing the event to the Dalton/Murray County area. “We had very few resources, but we knew it was important to our teenagers that they have the opportunity to experience Teen Maze.” Laird stated. 

Ms. Harbin remembers the day she twisted Sheriff Scott Chitwood’s arm to go up and visit Catoosa County’s Teen Maze.  “Last year, I basically begged the sheriff to run up to Ringgold and go through their Teen Maze.  I wanted to know if he thought it would be a positive thing for us to present a Teen Maze.  He was in the middle of his reelection campaign, and I knew his time was very limited.” Ms. Harbin had no idea he would take the time to go - but he did.

A few hours later Sheriff Chitwood called back with his complete endorsement.  "He said we not only needed to do this in our community, but we must do it for our youth."  Lt. Wayne Mathis, with the Whitfield Sheriff’s Office was then assigned to work directly with Teen Maze.  “Lt. Mathis has been pivotal in getting all of our law enforcement agencies and emergency responders working together to provide the crash scenes, security, and drunk driving components to the Maze,” Ms. Harbin said.     

Teen Maze has also involved students themselves.  Kate Orr, IB Drama student at Dalton High adopted Teen Maze as her IB project.  She has worked tirelessly with other student actors from our area, Hamilton Medical Center, and law enforcement agencies to assure that the crash scenes and emergency room scenes are as realistic and accurate as possible. 

Wes Phinney, drama director at Dalton High School, thinks that more than anything else, his students have enjoyed preparing to “scare” their audience through the use of horrific makeup.  (fake scars, blood etc.)  Approximately 20 students from across the two county area will be directly involved with the drama sections of the Maze. 

Sam Dyer, also a senior at Dalton High, adopted Teen Maze as his Eagle Scout project.   

Sam has organized crews of Boy Scouts to build partitions, make signs, assist with the set-up and break down of Teen Maze.  Their help has been invaluable. 

Diane DeLay, volunteer coordinator for the project predicts that when it is all said and done, almost 200 volunteers will have helped out in some capacity or other.  “This has been quite an accomplishment, and it speaks very well for our community that so many people are willing to give of their time and energy to support such a project.” Ms. DeLay said. 

“We are so proud of the great enthusiasm everyone in our community has taken for this project.  We are certain lives will be changed by the information that our students receive at Teen Maze,” Ms. Harbin said.  


HCSO Cancels Safe Journey Child Safety Seat Check Tuesday

The Hamilton County Sheriff's office, in anticipation of extremely low temperatures and inclement weather, has decided to cancel Tuesday's Child Safety Seat Check scheduled for the Old K-Mart location on Highway 58.  The seat belt checks should resume next week as normal – weather permitting. "We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause parents or guardians ... (click for more)

New Hamilton County Marriage Licenses

Here are the new marriage licenses from the County Clerk's office: JEFFERY DEWAYNE DOUGLAS                           LAUREN ASHLEY HOWARD 1433 CAROUSEL RD                                  1433 CAROUSEL RD CHATTANOOGA, TN 37421 ... (click for more)

Criminal Defense Attorneys Seek Chest X-Ray, Barrel As Evidence In 34-Year-Old Murder Case

In the 34-year-old unsolved murder case that recently spotlighted Billy Hawk as the prime suspect, criminal offense attorneys are seeking forensic proof, which does not change with time, to prove Hawk’s innocence. During Monday’s discovery motion, filed on behalf of the defense to obtain certain evidence, defense attorney Jim Logan requested the victim’s chest X-ray be submitted ... (click for more)

Brandon Bettis, 25, Arrested For Home Invasion; 2 Other Suspects Being Sought

Brandon Bettis, 25, was arrested after a home invasion early Monday morning, and two other suspects are being sought. Chattanooga Police responded to the 1100 block of Thomas Lane at 6:30 a.m. on the report of a home invasion robbery.  The suspects entered the home of the victims, James Shrum, 47, and Hillary Schooley, 25.   The victims were wakened and threatened ... (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars - And Response

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Greenholtz: A No-Brainer

I am going to make this as simple as I possibly can. There are three fine lawyers now running for Criminal Court Judge and anywhere you go there will be people who like and admire Tom Greenholtz, Boyd Patterson and Mike Little. But when we select a judge, it should never be based on popularity. That’s why Gov. Haslam picked Greenholtz over both Little and Patterson this summer to ... (click for more)