Reality Tour supporters weigh in…

Reality Tour will continue in Westmoreland County – Tribune Review Article

Reality Tour has always embraced the opportunity to fill the gap that exists in prevention.  The gap between programs offered and what the public actually wants and will attend. It is easily recognized that parents and the general public are under-served populations in prevention.

The Tribune Review article published on Sunday January 10, 2016, covers the state of Pennsylvania’s recent illogical branding of Reality Tour as ‘scare tactics’ and the reporter went on to gather information from those actually associated with the program.  The result was a re-affirmation of the use of Reality Tour as a first step in awareness for parent and child. 

School administrators, a mayor, a pastor, service clubs and Tour Directors were interviewed and all expressed the value of Reality Tour to inform parents and their children.  (Click on article link above to read)  None of them associate Reality Tour’s consequence-driven scenes as scare tactics.

The fact that Courthouse Reality Tour site (there are 6 sites in Westmoreland County) is booked through May indicates public demand for the program.

The lack of ongoing research for Reality Tour, another criticism by the state, does not automatically mean a program is ineffective. The fact is that Reality Tour achieving evidence-based status in 2007 on the National Registry of Evidence-based Program and Practices was not enough for the state of PA.  They want the ‘best’ for Pennsylvania residents?  $50,000 was raised by the nonprofit CANDLE, Inc. for the evaluation of Reality Tour and given to the University of Pittsburgh for the study in 2007.  Now the evidence-based criteria has changed and Reality Tour is expected to have the same resources as a university to conduct a new study immediately?  Projected costs would be $100,000 or more.

There is a place across the spectrum of prevention for a variety of programs but first you need people to actually attend. The state is not even a little curious about why 400 parents signed up for Reality Tour in advance. Some will wait 4 months for this experience. This is a phenomenon in family prevention that should be analyzed.

CANDLE, Inc. still desires to be collaborative with state and local agencies. The ‘politics of prevention’ do shift in the wind. We need to stay the course until we can either come to terms with current administrations or wait until there are new faces.

CANDLE, Inc. operating on the theory that the state was misinformed by embracing ‘scare tactics’ has scheduled a teleconference between the state and Reality Tour’s Service to Science researcher on January 28th.

When good people want the same outcome there is a way to move on collaboratively.  Let’s hope the state has the same goals as those involved with and served by Reality Tour. 

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