Marion County SWAT Youth Conduct Local Park Clean-up!
April 28, 2018

Thanks to some dedicated Marion County youth, one of our city parks is a little bit cleaner!  As a community service project, the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) youth joined forces with the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Youth Advisory Board on a sunny Saturday morning to do a tobacco litter clean up.

In the span of only 90 minutes, 14 youth gathered nearly two gallons of tobacco litter, including cigarette butts, cigarillo tips, cigarette boxes, and cigarillo wrappers.  Also collected were glass alcohol containers, metal bottle caps, drug baggies and paraphernalia, and other common waste.  Most of this litter was collected near the parking areas, pavilions, picnic tables, and play equipment.

What was noticeably not found was any type of signage prohibiting the use of tobacco and tobacco products within the park or near places were children gather.  This was very concerning to the youth, who were inspired to reach out to the mayor of the City of Ocala and ask for his support in petitioning the city to install signs near all pavilions, play equipment, gazebos, picnic tables, or any place where people might gather within the park.  Currently, the City of Ocala does not have a tobacco policy in place for the parks that are operated by the city. 

It does however, ask that park visitors Refrain from Smoking near playgrounds or other areas where children might gather.”  This can be found on the City of Ocala Parks “Rules of Play” web page and map of the city park locations.

The SWAT collaboration with the Marion County SADD YAB has proven to be very lucrative for both clubs as there are twice the opportunities for all the youth involved to participate in tobacco observances and activities, as well as community service events.

If you would like more information on the Tobacco Prevention Program, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), or the QuitDoc Foundation, please contact the Marion County SWAT coordinator Tammy Slaughter at 352.359.5383 or TSlaughter@QuitDoc.com.