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Although CANDLE's primary goal is to prevent substance abuse and violence among youth, outreach to young gays and lesbians is a natural outgrowth of that mission, said Joanne Goodman, the agency's executive director. She said that because these youth may feel marginalized or isolated from society, they tend to indulge in more dangerous behavior. The retreat can help troubled youth cope with their feelings, Goodman said. "Anything that's a secret is always going to be more risk-inducing than something that's not. And for the youngsters, for the advisers, for the staff, for the people at the Stony Point Center, where we go and feel welcomed and loved, it's an amazing experience," Goodman said of the eighth annual event. With a theme of "Making a Difference," the weekend will include discussion on adolescent and teen issues that include health, personal well-being and safety and political advocacy.Workshops during hte retreat will cover topics including "relaxation techniques, performance art, "coming out" and organizing a gay-straight alliance". The retreat will also feature speakers on a variety of topics, an open mic night and a costume party. Some 60 students from various Hudson Valley institutions will attend the retreat. ===== In my work with Alternative Resources of the Triad and in trying to coordinate the up-and-coming Queer College and Youth Network of the Triad (QCYNT) one of my goals and visions for the group is to hold an LGBT Student Leaders Summit for the Triad. Something similar to what is happening up in the Hudson Valley would be awesome, although ours would probably be just one day. LGBT youth are on the fore front of the struggle for equality and I am glad that organizations across our great nation are starting to take notice and reach out to LGBT youth. Technorati Tags: gay youth, gay, lgbt, gay rights, new york, greensboro, winston-salem, triad, north carolina