The launch of Leon County’s Project LEAD was the start of a never-ending project for Leon County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT). SWAT is Florida’s statewide youth organization to mobilize, educate, and equip Florida’s youth to revolt against and de-glamorize Big Tobacco. Project LEAD was designed to provide SWAT members with the skills needed to advance their SWAT chapters, members, and themselves. On May 18, 2013, Leon County SWAT held its first Project LEAD event in downtown Tallahassee at the Challenger Learning Center. SWAT members from Leon and Wakulla counties were invited to learn the art of LEADing their peers.
The Project LEAD curriculum was created to train new SWAT leaders in the areas of meeting organization, membership teambuilding, and event creation. Attendees were taught a skill during each session. Then, prior to moving to the next topic, they practiced applying that skill. For example, having learned the importance of advertising their events in creative ways, the participants were able to create an advertisement for a hypothetical meeting. At the conclusion of each session, participants left feeling more confident, competent, and best of all, passionate about their role in the SWAT Movement.
A component of this Project LEAD event that made the largest impact was that it was all planned and executed by our county SWAT leaders. When other SWAT members witnessed these leaders creating and facilitating their own training, they were encouraged and motivated to apply such creativity and work ethic to several of their own ideas. Some of these ideas, which were suggested as mere hypothetical situations during the Project LEAD event, will become actual activities this summer.
Only a few months ago, Project LEAD was merely a passing thought of our SWAT Chair, Raekwon Williams. Now it has been deemed our never-ending project. This demonstration of passion and leadership by a few SWAT members will continue to influence all members to perpetuate the SWAT Movement. One participant commented, “This has literally been the best training I’ve ever attended. I learned so much and I’m greatly anticipating the many activities and involvement of our community.” That’s what I call a movement
For more great information on Leon County SWAT, visit www.tobaccofreeleon.org.