News and Events

Levy SWAT Leader Helps Facilitate Virtual Regional Meeting
November 7, 2020

Florida’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) program regularly hosts regional youth meetings where SWAT members from various counties come together to learn new information and skills and collaborate on state tobacco control youth initiatives. SWAT members benefit so much from these meetings – they increase their issue-specific knowledge, they collaborate across counties on prevention initiatives, and they strengthen their commitment to the tobacco prevention movement and the Florida SWAT Program through teambuilding activities. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this quarter’s meeting for Region 2 SWAT members took place virtually on Saturday, November 7, 2020. 

The regional meetings are planned and executed by the Florida SWAT Youth Advocacy Board (YAB), which is a sixteen-member group of SWAT students who are elected annually by their peers to serve as regional representatives and youth advisors for the statewide tobacco program. There are four youth representatives for each of Florida’s four tobacco control regions, and Levy County has one student represented on the Region 2 YAB: Jasmin Guerrero, a sophomore at Chiefland High School.

The YAB members planned an interactive two-hour meeting with presentations, games, and skill building. The attendance for the meeting was phenomenal, with 57 SWAT members representing 21 counties attending to represent Region 2 on the GoToWebinar virtual platform, including four Levy SWAT members. Levy County’s regional YAB member, Jasmin, attended the meeting as a facilitator and delivered a presentation about tobacco use and risks for COVID-19. The other presentations focused on advocacy from home, utilizing social media resources for advocacy, and information about new and emerging tobacco products that are targeted toward youth.

In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we interact, and tobacco control advocacy has not been spared. Fortunately, many of the benefits of youth meeting together were still achieved, as the Florida SWAT program has always had a strong virtual presence and the statewide youth board members are well-versed on presenting information and interacting with their peers in a virtual format. Devin Champagne, a Sophomore at Chiefland High School summed up his first regional meeting experience by saying, “I like how the meeting was very interactive, and how it was put together.” 

Overall, the meeting was impactful and inspiring, and the students who attended from Levy County signed off feeling excited to be a part of such an important organization. Jasmin did a wonderful job of leading her peers and representing Levy County and she is confident that the youth who attended are now more prepared as community tobacco prevention advocates for SWAT.

To learn more about the work of Students Working Against Tobacco or how you can join, please contact us at info@TFP-Levy.org or find us on Facebook @SWAT-Levy County Florida.