Our History

The Heart of New York Teen Institute, a program of Prevention Network,  is a youth leadership program for communities throughout New York.

Prevention Network is a nonprofit community-based substance abuse prevention agency that has been serving Onondaga County since 1949.  Founded to assure an on-going, concentrated and comprehensive substance abuse prevention. Since then, services have expanded to include multi-county regions throughout Central New York. Programs and major initiatives have evolved over time, based on current prevention research, local needs and available resources. 

Heart of New York Teen Institute (T.I.)

T.I. is a youth leadership program for Community Action Teams throughout New York that begins with a fall leadership conference and continues with year-round support. Youth centered teams attend a four-day training to develop leadership skills and engage in the Strategic Prevention Framework planning process through workshops and team building activities. The teams work to plan and implement peer-focused prevention and community service projects. T.I. follows up throughout the year with additional training and technical assistance, networking meetings and reports outlining teams’ actions and activities.


The Heart of New York Teen Institute was founded in 1986 as the Onondaga County Teen Institute. With guidance from the newly formed Teen Institute out of HUGS Inc. on Long Island and the National Association of Teen Institutes. That year, the program was held at Syracuse University’s Minnowbrook Lodge. Approximately 70 youth from the Onondaga County area were in attendance. During the first year, the foundation was laid for all our future Teen Institutes. Youth participated in an action planning process, learned about the importance of teambuilding and networking and gained tools for becoming leaders in
their communities.

For 17 of the last 32 years, our Teen Institute has been held at Camp Long Point on Seneca Lake. This location became “home” for our T.I. program. In 2017 we hosted our largest conference to date with approximately 200 youth in attendance. The program has grown and now has active Community Action Teams throughout Central and Southern, New York. Since 1986, our Teen Institute has seen thousands of youth, adult advisors and volunteers become successful, inspirational and enthusiastic contributors their communities.

2018 brings exciting changes and continued growth for the Heart of New York Teen Institute. We have outgrown the capacity at Camp Long Point and we will be moving to a new location at Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, NY. We are honored with the growth the program is experiencing. We are thrilled to foster that growth within our long established teams, and look forward to welcoming new teams, at this wonderful facility. We are so excited for the future of the Heart of New York Teen Institute.