On January 19th, 2019, over 30 youth from counties across northern California gathered to attend the 4th annual North State Youth Advocacy Summit. This is the first year that the Colusa County Tobacco Education Program hosted the summit. The summit began its first year in 2015 as a collaborative event between Sutter and Colusa counties, and has expanded to include several other counties from the North State, including Glenn, Tehama, Trinity, Plumas, and Modoc. It was open to all high-school aged youth in northern California, and a majority of participants were from youth tobacco coalitions. This summit’s purpose was to make youth feel empowered, important, and confident that they have a voice to create change in their communities.
This year’s summit featured motivational speaker and skate boarder Mike Smith, as well as interactive workshops on advocacy, health equity, and leadership for youth to participate in. The summit wrapped up with a zombie themed apocalypse game to demonstrate the importance of equity and its impact on disadvantaged populations. Throughout the day, youth participated in a social media challenge with tobacco education props (including the infamous “Mr. Gross Mouth”) and props that displayed the summit’s winning hashtag “#DawnoftheYAS” (YAS = Youth Advocacy Summit). Next year’s summit will be hosted by the Sutter County Tobacco Control Program and information will be distributed as details are confirmed.