On February 9, 2012, 28 members (from every province and territory) of Health Canada's Youth Action Committee (YAC)/Young Adult Leadership Team (YLT) on tobacco re-connected in Ottawa, Ontario to begin their annual meeting. Committee members provided feedback and heard from Health Canada on smartphone applications for tobacco cessation, health warning messages, social media/blogging strategies and tobacco bio-markers Throughout the weekend, committee members had a chance to plan out their two community action projects (YAC) focused on raising awareness on tobacco prevention and cessation. Members developed another ambitious plan to launch all of their projects by March 15, 2012.
While the YAC was busy planning out their community action projects, YLT members were spending time discussing how to continue raising awareness about www.bettertobreathe.com and how to build off of the existing platform. Coming into the conference, the blog was at 2653 hits. Members from both committees, the Students Commission and Health Canada worked feverishly to increase this through social media, text messaging and their connections in their communities; in the process-building constituency. By the end of the conference, the blog was well over 4000 hits.
On the last day of the conference, participants worked to develop public service announcements (PSA's) and developed a conference report to share with the community. Check out these YAC/YLT PSA's that was completed and the conference report. Altogether, an exciting weekend, stay tuned for a comprehensive evaluation report of this project available in the spring and remember to check out bettertobreathe.com for more updates on the work that we do!!!
What is the Youth Action Committee/Young Adult Leadership Team
The Students Commission of Canada facilitates Health Canada's Youth Action Committee (YAC) and Young Adult Leadership Team (YLT) on Tobacco. Both committees are represented by 15 members from each province/territory and various demographic groups (including First Nations, Metis, Inuit, Rural, Francophone and First Generation Canadians). The YAC is made up of members aged 13-18 while the YLT is made up of members aged 19-24.
What do the committees do?
Travel: Two conferences per year in Ottawa (March 17-20, 2011 and August 25-28 2011) Our next one is tentatively scheduled for mid-February 2012 and opportunities for further travel throughout the year to different parts of the country.
Consult: An opportunity to provide direct feedback to Health Canada on tobacco issues. Over the past few years, committee members have influenced decisions surrounding the new package warning labels, Health Canada's marketing strategy for cessation and prevention, Health Canada's website. Committee members are also provided with the latest updates on emerging tobacco issues concerning youth and young adults. For example, at our most recent conference, Health Canada shared its latest information on waterpipe tobacco.
Network: Committee members consistently cite the opportunity to connect with other young people from across the country as a highlight of the experience as well as their opportunity to connect with various staff members from Health Canada. Participants enjoy getting together every couple of weeks via conference call. There is a group of young adults who have stayed connected for the past five years because of this project.
Take Community Action: Committee members are supported throughout the year in the development and implementation of local action projects that raise awareness on tobacco issues amongst their peers and in their communities.
Skill-Building: Committee members are given an opportunity to build their skills. For example, participants have worked to improve their social media skills. Participants also have a chance to improve their media skills through video and audio work.
For more information
If you are interested in more information about the YAC/YLT or if you'd like to join, please contact Sharif Mahdy at 416-597-8297 or firstname.lastname@example.org