News and Events

SWAT Celebrates 9th Annual Advocacy Summit
May 22, 2015

Members of the Levy County chapter of Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) attended the 9th annual Levy SWAT Advocacy Summit on May 22nd at Camp Anderson in Old Town, FL. There were a total of 106 youth in attendance at the event for an entire day of learning and teambuilding. Putnam County was also represented, including two of Florida’s Region 2 Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) members.

Statewide SWAT YAB members Kayla Spengemann and Abriyah Campbell from Putnam County, along with the third Region 2 YAB member, Jordan Marlett from Levy County, helped facilitate the summit this year along with the Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Kristina Zachry.

YAB member Kayla Spengemann enjoyed spending her day in Levy County. “The summit was so inspiring, and I loved giving a speech to the kids,” said Kayla. “It was very interactive between everyone and I would do it over and over again anytime.”

The agenda included presentations from each of the five school SWAT teams that were in attendance. They shared examples of activities that they conducted at their respective schools during the year to promote SWAT and to spread the tobacco prevention message about industry manipulation and targeting of teens. The YAB members gave an update on the activities they’ve been involved with statewide. The SWAT leaders and school advisors were also recognized with certificates of achievement and small tokens of appreciation for their efforts.

Facilitators

“I was very excited to recognize some of our outstanding SWAT leaders this year at the summit,” said Ms. Zachry. “We also wanted to incorporate some fun and active teambuilding activities to keep everyone’s attention and help us work better together. We asked our Statewide Region 2 YAB members to help facilitate the summit, and they were eager to show their leadership and help out.”

“As the Levy County representative, I feel that there was a happy mood to the day,” says Levy YAB member, Jordan Marlett. “I believe the SWAT youth will be more inspired from the ideas of other counties and learning more about what SWAT actually is and does. I was impressed by seeing what the youth in my county do to help fight Big Tobacco.”

Finally, everyone had a delicious lunch followed by some games and teambuilding activities. Overall, the day went very well, and the students and adults in attendance left not only more prepared to fight the tobacco industry, but they also bonded together as a team and left energized and full of ideas for future SWAT activities.

Staff

Chiefland SWAT Advisor, Mary Phillips, summed up the day perfectly. She says “Camp Anderson was a perfect setting for our SWAT training. The kids had a great time getting up to speed on current tobacco issues and trends and they also had the opportunity to make new friends with SWAT kids from other Levy County schools.”