Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

July 21, 2011

Four local teens attend 2011 reACT Teen Summit

Jerry Wachal, Christian Reese, Cameron Reese of Polson High School and Eizabeth Morigeau of Arlee High School walked the red carpet with nearly 100 Teen activists from across Montana to the sixth annual react Teen Summit June 21-23 at Carroll College in Helena to learn how policy change can make a big difference in the fight against tobacco.

The 2011 Hollywood-themed Summit comes on the heels of a nationwide trend to get teens more involved in policy change. Smoking in movies, for example, has been linked to youth tobacco initiation. According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control, “Exposure to onscreen smoking in movies increases the probability that youths will start smoking.”

Teens at the Summit chose from several policy issues that interest them-other topics included tobacco-free parks, point of purchase advertising and tobacco and ad placement in magazines. With each topic, they spent time learning about the issue, planning, and implementing the first steps of that particular policy change.

Christian Reese, Polson stated that he is excited to bring react activities to the Polson area. “I hope to assist the community plan more Tobacco-Free events”. Christian was voted the most “Outstanding Reactor” at the Summit. He hopes to make positive changes in our environment!

Interactive sessions gave teens tools to support policy work: sessions focused on meeting with decision makers, collaborating with other groups, garnering earned media building support and training spokespersons.

Mike Leach, a naturalist and motivational speaker from Yellowstone County, coached teens about youth policy and activism. In addition, a team of trainers well-versed in tobacco policy traveled from all over the country to work with the reACT program.

reACT is Montana’s statewide teen-led movement that empowers teens to fight back against commercial tobacco use, react is funded by the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program. For more information on react and the 2011 Teen Summit, visit

Bev Machacek, Lake County Health(883-7480) and Cristen Morigeau, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes(745-3525) are the adult prevention specialists for the local react teens.

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