Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.

Tobacco Prevention – Youth Encouraging Alaskans’ Health

2020 Online Conference! Moving Forward Together

Are you a Teen Between 12 and 18 interested in Tobacco Prevention and Leadership? Join us for the 2020 YEAH Summit online! This year’s youth-led summit airs its first of seven interactive episodes on April 28. Episodes will run every Tuesday through June 9. We’ve got prizes and other goodies as giveaways, but best of all we’ve got Shaun Derik, motivational youth speaker, entertainer, and producer of his hit series The Hard Part streaming to us live from New York.


Complete your 2020 Online Youth Conference Registration Here!


This year’s theme is “Moving Forward Together!”  The YEAH Conference is hosted by our Teen Ambassadors, who are high school students from around Alaska.  This year’s summit has been designed by teens to keep teens engaged as they discover their inner strengths and a whole lot more.  We have Shaun Derik onboard, and he’ll broadcast live from his home studio in New York.  Shaun is a writer, motivational speaker and the producer of his hit series The Hard Part.  He’s revved up crowds of youth—and adults—worldwide, with his strategies in positive youth development.

The Summit will air on Zoom and other platforms in seven half-hour sessions that begin with affirmations that youth have great contributions to share with a focus on who they are, and not what they’ll become. The progression of episodes will teach youth how to cultivate positivity, creativity, self-esteem and other skills that will empower them for the rest of their lives.  Other youth-led episodes will focus on tobacco addiction, vaping, chewing and other trends that can get in the way of developing your fullest potential.  Participating youth will have an opportunity to build on their advocacy, leadership, public speaking skills and positive messaging through social media.  The Summit culminates with youth creating their own short videos that encourage living tobacco free.


YEAH Teen Ambassador Program 

In an effort to build a tobacco-free Alaska, RurAL CAP staff supports Youth Encouraging Alaskans’ Health (YEAH) Teen Ambassadors a statewide youth advocacy coalition from across the state. YEAH Teen Ambassadors meet regularly using webinars, teleconferences, emails and social media to develop educational projects focused on tobacco prevention and advocacy at local and statewide levels.  Research shows that engaging young people in 

Teen Ambassadors 2019-20

Your 2019-20 Teen Ambassadors! From Left to Right Front to Back: Zoey, Sonja, Mia, Luther, Justin, Celeste, Iota, Leena, Caylin

tobacco education has been an effective approach in changing social norms and preventing the initiation of tobacco use. The YEAH Teen Ambassadors strive to educate communities about the impacts of tobacco and advocate for tobacco free areas. Teen Ambassadors plan and participate in two in-depth training conferences during the school year and organize and deliver content in the statewide YEAH Summit each year. At RurAL CAP, we empower youth to make a difference in their communities.

Why Become a Teen Ambassador? 

In the United States, nearly 2,500 youth under the age of 18 try their first cigarette each day. More than 400 of those will become daily smokers. According to the American Lung Association, half of those who try cigarettes will die from tobacco-related illnesses.

In Alaska, an estimated 697 residents die each year from smoking-related illnesses. That’s more than the deaths caused by suicide, motor vehicle crashes, liver disease, homicide HIV/AIDS combined.

Though we’ve made progress in reducing the number of youth who smoke since 1996,the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products has been sharply on the rise. Between 2011 and 2014, use of vaping products increased from 3.5 percent to more than 20 percent. According to most recent data with CDC, 5,700 youth try vaping for their first time every day. Most recent development of small pods containing “nic” salts deliver nicotine dosages that approximate the potency of cigarettes but with flavorings that make them highly addictive to youth.

Teen Ambassadors and Tobacco Advocates At KYUK in Bethel, October 2019

Teen Ambassadors and Tobacco Advocates At KYUK in Bethel, October 2019

To counteract marketing strategies used by tobacco and vaping product companies, the Teen Ambassador program trains middle and high school youth in the technical aspects of products, public speaking and advocacy. Teen Ambassadors work with supportive adults to educate their peers locally and statewide in an effort to keep Alaska youth tobacco and vape free.