Marion County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Youth Attend Regional Meeting
October 21, 2017

The Region 2 SWAT Training was held in Starke, FL on October 21, 2017. As the new Marion County SWAT Coordinator, this was my first experience at any type of SWAT training; so, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Additionally, this was a first for the two youth who attended with me. Anxiously, we waited to see what was in store for us; let me tell you, we were not disappointed!

The keynote speaker was Mr. Sam Allen.  It was interesting to learn his history with the SWAT program and to see how he has taken all that he has learned and gained from participating in this enriching program to make his career out of it.  His message was clearly very inspirational to the youth.  The theme of his address was “The Seven Things I’d Tell My 15 Year-Old Self” and it was not only youth engaged, but the adults in attendance were as well.

  After a brief intermission, the attendees were divided into two groups for a team building exercise called the GridWalk.  The youth had so much fun trying to figure out how to get their entire team out of the grid, without any mistakes.  If one person made a misstep, the whole team had to start over.  The youth came up with some creative and ingenious ways of marking the path out of the grid. Next, the Youth Advisory Board members gave an informative interactive presentation on ENDS which included youth receiving two answer cards, and asked multiple questions throughout the power point.  THE YAB did such a great job not only with the ENDS presentation, but the entire meeting.  They were so well organized and well spoken!  

To finish out he day, the youth competed in an extreme rock-paper-scissors elimination game.  The winner was rewarded with a fun poster, and of course, bragging rights!  Throughout the day the SWAT members were encouraged to participate in a photo contest using the hashtag “What’s Your Why R2”.  In the end, favorite activity of the day was the photo booth.  Anytime they were allowed, the youth lined up for silly photos, using props provided.  It was so much fun, the adults got involved as well!  This event demonstrated leadership and dedication by the participating SWAT officers who, with enthusiasm and concern for the choices that they and their peers will be confronted with surrounding tobacco use, communicated Big Tobacco’s aim to target youth as replacement tobacco users. Furthermore, it reminds young people that the problem is not the smoker, but the smoke that is permitted in public places around those who have a right to breathe clean air.

To learn more about QuitDoc Foundation, or SWAT visit our website, or Like us on Facebook.
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or contact Marion County SWAT coordinator, Tammy Slaughter at
352.359.5383 or