Idaho teen chooses passions over peer pressure (and finds success at pretty much everything)
Cami Krieger learned at an early age the devastating effects alcohol can have. Her family had suffered a tragedy at the hands of a drunk driver before she was born, and Cami’s mom talked to her often about the importance of steering clear of drugs and, at least while underage, alcohol.
Cami took her mom’s wishes to heart. “It makes me want to be a better person and not drink,” she said. “It hurts other peoples’ lives, not just my own.”
It would’ve been easy to succumb to pressure to drink. Cami says that she experienced bullying at a local high school, some of which was directed at her decision to stay sober.
“There was so much peer pressure, and so much bullying,” she said. “I wrote a lot of poetry—that was my outlet—and then I transferred schools.” Cami felt an immediate sense of relief when she started at Clearwater Valley High School, from which she graduated from in May. “They accepted you if you didn’t drink or do drugs. Everyone had their things that they liked to do, and everyone was fine with that.”
Already involved in a several extracurricular activities, including 4-H and Y.E.S., a club that provided her the opportunity to attend a youth leadership training in DC, Cami blossomed at Clearwater Valley. She joined her school’s chapter of Idaho Drug Free Youth (IDFY), and found a home. “I joined IDFY four years ago, and that’s been my family,” she said. “They accept you for who you are.” In her senior year, Cami was selected to serve on IDFY’s Youth Advisory Board, one of seven students from across the state who determined IDFY’s annual summit theme and created marketing campaigns to encourage fellow students to be substance-free and, just as important, to be happy with themselves.
Cami’s life opened up in other unexpected ways. A friend turned her on to tennis, and Cami made it to State two years in a row—partially because she put in the extra work. After regular school practice ended each day, Cami and her friends would hang out and continue to play. “A bunch of us would stay and practice our serves. The competition down south is so much more intense than up north, so we wanted to be ready.”
Cami also discovered a passion for drama (“Oh, that’s been my fave!”) and acted in several school productions; this past year she earned Best Actress for her role in the musical “Crazy for You.” She crammed in a semester of choir at the end of senior year and, in that short time, managed to perform at a music festival in Lewiston and several other community concerts. She also served as vice president of her senior class, competed on the school’s Knowledge Bowl team, and completed an intensive senior project—organizing and promoting a community health fair, pretty much all on her own.
Not one to let academics falter while engaging in all her other activities, Cami earned high grades and served as National Honor Society president her senior year. She actually took so many dual-credit courses that she graduated with almost 20 college credits (“Yes, my parents are very happy!”).
Cami’s passion for staying drug- and alcohol-free has paid off in many ways, granting her the time and motivation to excel in academics, sports, and the arts, and to create healthy relationships with like-minded peers.
At the recent IDFY summit, Cami and other students engaged in workshops to find their voices and “emerge into our own superheroes.” Cami seems like a superhero already, and she’ll certainly be donning her cape even more as she pursues her RN degree this fall. Good luck, Cami!
Would you like your teen to remain alcohol-free? Learn ways to talk to them, and help them say no to peer pressure!
BeTheParents.org’s Idaho Youth Spotlights focus on Idaho kids who are pursuing their passions instead of engaging in underage drinking. If you know a child like this, please let us know! We’d love to share their story.Tags: #findtheirpassion, alcohol-free, Idaho, Idaho Drug Free Youth, Idaho Youth Spotlight, sports, teen, teen passion