News and Events

Students Working Against Tobacco Youth Advocacy Board Films Educational Video
March 15 , 2015

Levy Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) representative Jordan Marlett is a sophomore at Bronson High School and a member of the statewide SWAT Youth Advocacy Board (YAB). The YAB is made up of three SWAT members from each of four regions in Florida, for a total of twelve statewide leaders. The YAB members are elected annually by their peers to serve as representatives on the statewide board. This youth board meets via conference call weekly, as regions monthly, and together as an entire board once a year.

The Youth Advocacy Board just held their annual face-to-face meeting, where the members came together for a weekend of planning for the future of SWAT. The YAB members and the alternate members for each region sharpened their public speaking skills by participating in two interesting projects during their weekend meeting: a video production and a community outreach event.

One of the highlights of the meeting was participating in the video production activity. The students spent the majority of the weekend with a video production and film crew. They were filming the first chapter of a video version of the statewide SWAT chapter manual, which educates new members about the SWAT organization, the tobacco issue, and tips for how to stay involved.  Jordan had a lot of fun participating as an actress in the video. “I believe the video we filmed will teach people about tobacco in an amusing way,” says Jordan, “I also believe the video will help recruit new members.”

YAB Video Shoot

The second project the YAB members participated in was a community outreach event called Pigs on the Pond. This large event is held annually in Lake County, and is a fundraiser for educational scholarships. The event included barbeque booths, carnival rides, and booths for local organizations and vendors. The Lake County SWAT program had a booth at the fair for the weekend and they invited the YAB members to attend the event and help work the booth in shifts.

The SWAT booth was set up to help promote the “Not a Replacement” social media campaign, and YAB members spent their time at the event encouraging their peers to take “Selfie Statements,” declaring why they are not replacements for tobacco users who die every day. Participants were then encouraged to share their pictures to social media using the hashtag #NotAReplacement as part of the Kick Butts Day theme for 2015. Jordan enjoyed the outreach activity and felt that it was impactful. She says, “the Pigs on the Pond event was a fun and interactive way to learn about SWAT and the Not a Replacement campaign.”

YAB Outreach Event

Overall, the weekend was a huge success, and the SWAT YAB members accomplished a lot. Levy County Community Health Advocate, Kristina Zachry, chaperoned Jordan for the weekend and she is proud of the progress the group made. “It’s always fun to watch the SWAT members work together to build their prevention program,” Kristina says, “it’s even more fun to see them work on special projects that utilize their leadership skills and help them reach more people with their message.”

SWAT YAB

The SWAT Youth Advocacy Board members are all now more than just a voice on a conference call with each other; they’re youth from around the state who are united in fighting Big Tobacco and succeeding together. Reflecting on her adventurous weekend, Jordan said, “I had a lot of fun, made new friends, and all while learning new techniques to help my peers to be tobacco free.”

For more information on the SWAT program in Levy County, contact Kristina Zachry at kzachry@quitdoc.com