Vermont Youth Summit – Planning for CounterBalance Action!

Vermont Youth Summit – Planning for CounterBalance Action!

On November 7th, over 120 middle-and-high school members of Our Voices Xposed (OVX) and Vermont Kids Against Tobacco (VKAT) gathered in Montpelier for the annual Youth Tobacco Prevention Summit. Every November, the OVX and VKAT youth summit inspires and educates the statewide network of anti-tobacco youth advocates and gives them tools to educate and engage their peers and communities throughout the school year. For the first time, the summit was statewide – attendees traveled to Montpelier from as far north as St. Albans and as far south as Brattleboro.

Magi Linscott, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Youth Advocate of the Year Award winner, was this year’s dynamic keynote speaker. Magi’s personal commitment to the anti-tobacco movement and inspiring work in her home state of Florida created an instant connection with OVX and VKAT members, who lined up to get their photo taken with Magi after her speech. Magi took media engagement at the summit to the next level with the social media hashtag #802XposesTobacco. OVX and VKAT lit up Twitter with positive messages about the summit.

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The summit also brought in two youth advocates and their advisor Kim Cummins from Reality Check NY in Plattsburgh. Reality Check led OVX and VKAT in guerilla marketing workshop on how to communicate their tobacco message using attention-grabbing tactics. In the afternoon, Magi worked with OVX youth one-on-one on how to be effective communicators, especially with decision makers. The entire summit energized Vermont youth and their advisors to recognize the power of their voice when they take on Big Tobacco in their schools and communities.

We can’t wait for our next event – the OVX Statehouse Rally on February 3! We’ll be focusing on educating decision makers about the impact of the point of sale through the CounterBalance campaign. Stay tuned.

Erica Olmstead
Erica Olmstead's journey with youth advocacy and tobacco control began as a youth advocate in New York with the Reality Check program. Over the past 12 years, she has continuously focused her efforts on empowering youth to advocate against corporate tobacco, first as a youth advocate, later as a Reality Check Program Coordinator and now as a member of the Youth Advocacy team at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington, DC.

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