Hey y’all! Welcome to my first blog! My name is Taylor, and this is my first year on the Youth Advisory Board. I’m sure you can tell by the previous blog posts, but I get to work with some of the coolest people ever! It’s been so great to be a part of something so fun. So, I would like to tell you a little about me and just how awesome our first LEAD Summit in Batesville went.
I’m a 16-year-old junior at South Panola High School in Batesville. I’m a competitive cheerleader at South Panola, and, not to brag or anything, but we were state champions last year. We’ll compete in November to be back-to-back state champions, and we’ll compete for national champs in February at Disney. So, wish us luck!
Other than cheerleading, I’ve got a few other things going on. I’m in BETA Club, National Honor Society, and Student Council. I’m also involved in the choir and guitar classes. This year, I’m a part of our smaller, after-school “vocal jazz” group, as well as the normal choir class. As for guitar, I taught myself how to play about a year before I took the class. Little did I know, I was taking classical guitar, which is much different than learning how to play a few chords from a YouTube video.
In between all of my activities and academics, free time is really hard to come by these days. If I do get free time, though, I prefer to just rest. Basically, I watch Netflix or TV, usually Riverdale, Chrisley Knows Best, Law and Order: SVU, or Grey’s Anatomy, or I just unwind and play my guitar or piano. There’s not a lot to do in Batesville, so every once in a while, I’ll go to Oxford to catch a movie or just grab something to eat with my friends.
I don’t think you really know me until you know about the little zoo we run at my house. We house a total of 8 animals, which include 5 dogs and 3 cats. Most of them were rescues, so if anyone ever sees a stray dog, we usually get a call. We actually have one more coming to live with us soon, hopefully.
That’s about it as far as getting to know me, so now I want to tell you how great our first ever LEAD Summit went! First off, let’s hit on what exactly a LEAD Summit is. LEAD Summits are a chance for our Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition advocacy teams to gather, learn, and brainstorm on how to take down Big Tobacco in their own backyards. (We love Summits, because it gives us a chance to connect with our state’s M.T.F.C. advocacy teams as well as network with other tobacco prevention teen advocates!) YAB members lead various sessions from Taking Down Tobacco by Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and ultimately- we have a blast while learning how to best serve our communities when it comes to tobacco prevention. #BetheFirst
When I got to the Boys & Girls Club of Batesville, of course I was a little nervous (I mean c’mon- this was my first event as a YAB member!), but I was also really excited to start the day. After figuring out how to set everything up and how the day was going to run, people started arriving. My job was to help at the registration table, so I got to meet everyone that was coming in, which was super cool! Everyone there was really nice and willing to play some ice breakers to get to know each other. Not only were they fun, but they also came up with awesome ideas that everyone was able to take back to their communities. The other YAB members that were there did an amazing job, too. Our speakers made the information super clear and definitely made me want to listen.
Overall, I think our first Summit was great and was full of helpful information to take down tobacco. The day was full of laughs and learning. I’m really glad I get to be a part of something as great as this little family. I hope to see you at one of our Summits, and thanks for reading!
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