Botvin LifeSkills Training & Reality Tour Comparison

lifeskills vs reality tour blog

Life Skills Training Vs. Reality Tour 

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST), like Reality Tour, is an evidence-based curriculum for substance abuse prevention. Both programs have been proven to provide adolescents with the social skills necessary to withstand peer pressure, but there are some key differences. Let’s look at each program’s main components. 

Botvin’s Life Skills Training

The Botvin LifeSkills Training focuses on the underlying emotional skills that prevent youth drug use. By teaching these critical skills, LST builds the foundation for teens to avoid high-risk behaviors. Those three main skills are:

1. Drug Resistance Skills

Drug awareness education corrects some common misconceptions about tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. With mentorship from LST, participants learn practical skills to resist peer pressure from friends and media.

2. Personal Self-Management Skills

Students use introspection to question their behavior, set goals, and keep track of personal progress. This skill competency teaches adolescents how to problem solve and understand consequences before making a decision. 

3. General Social Skills

Social skills training teaches students how to communicate effectively and maintain healthy relationships. Students also learn how to set boundaries with others and how to say no. 

Reality Tour 

Reality Tour, on the other hand, is an immersive experience rather than a classroom-based curriculum. The program is built around community involvement and contains three key parts: 

1. Real Consequences

reality tour the consequences

For teens to understand the risks associated with substance abuse, they must relate to the small choices made well before addiction. Reality Tour follows the life and dramatic demise of a teen whose choices lead to substance misuse. Teens have a powerful emotional learning experience as they stand beside their parents listening to the afflicted teen’s compelling narration before each scene. It is a memorable way to not only learn about the consequences of drug use but also feel them. 

2. Coping Skills

reality tour coping skills

Much like Botvin Life Skills, Reality Tour aims to educate teens and prepare them for life challenges. Often, drug abuse is an unhealthy coping skill for an underlying condition, like depression or anxiety. By learning healthy coping skills, teens can handle these stressors so they don’t lead to substance use. 

3. Interview With a Youth in Recovery

reality tour interview with recovery speaker

The final part of Reality Tour is a personal interview with someone in recovery from drug addiction. This moving experience removes the stigma of drug use, while also emphasizing the heartbreaking consequences.  

Reality Tour & Life Skills Training: What’s the difference?

Reality Tour is an experience that is lived, not learned. LST focuses on academic knowledge, and Reality Tour supplements practical life skills with the newly recognized benefits of social-emotional learning to aid in impulse control and self-awareness as protective factors for drug abuse. While both approaches to community drug prevention have their merit, we believe that the immersive experience of Reality Tour that educates the parent and child together is critical to prevention’s success. 

Furthermore, Reality Tour involves the entire family in drug prevention. With Botvin’s LifeSkills Training, teaching happens in the classroom, not in the community. Reality Tour’s holistic approach to prevention in a community setting sets Reality Tour apart from quality classroom programs like Botvin. Both programs complement each other and reinforce the prevention message.

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If you’re interested in bringing Reality Tour to your community, please contact us for more information. 

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Norma Norris

Norma Norris, Reality Tour developer and Executive Director of CANDLE, Inc., has been a civic leader throughout the years. Norma and her husband Charles raised their three sons in Butler, PA. In an effort to preserve the integrity of her community when heroin first appeared in early 2000, Norma created the parent/child drug prevention program called Reality Tour.