Youth Coalition Against Smoking
YCAS is a youth movement for 11-17 year-olds, both smokers and non-smokers, who want to prevent and reduce tobacco use in their school, youth centre or society in general.
To achieve these goals, thousands of teens in Québec use the YCAS program to influence the opinions of the general public, business leaders and even political decision-makers.
So who exactly are these young people who come together to make a difference? Why not take a look?
Sept-Îles youth centre
Collège Charlemagne, Montreal
École secondaire Des Chutes, Dolbeau-Mistassini
Would you like to become one of them? Here’s what you need to do.
1) Join an existing YCAS
There may already be a group of teens in your region who are actively involved in the fight against tobacco.
Ask your friends or the adults working in your school, youth centre, leisure centre or other youth organization.
You could also contact your Youth Coalition Against Smoking Advisory Network representative, who could either use your support directly or refer you to a facilitator in your own school or centre, who will help you transform your ideas into action.
If you’ve already identified a YCAS ...
Contact it to see what it plans to do.
And if you like what you hear ...
Ask to join! The bigger the group, the easier it will be to make your voices heard!
But if its plans are too far along, or if you’re not interested ...
Move to step 2!
2) Form your own YCAS
- Identify other teens who want to become involved in the fight against tobacco.
- Identify at least one adult at your school or youth centre who’s willing to become involved and support your activities. Consult the List of Adult Facilitators to see whether there’s already someone who’s committed to the cause.
3) Work with your YCAS to create a project that will change your world
Combine your passions with the elements of tobacco use that you most dislike by devising an action that will help change things.
To make sure you focus on the real problems:
- Listen to and observe what the people around you are saying and doing (informal discussions, questionnaires, surveys, etc.)
- Use current events as your inspiration (tobacco-related events in Québec, existing demands to the Government that you could support, etc.)
- Consult the Information section, along with the contents of the “In the Headlines” box, which are updated regularly. You’ll be able to identify all kinds of subjects for action. In addition, you might also find inspiration in the example videos.
4) Write down your project
Once you’ve structured your project, fill out the Participation Form. Why?
- It’s helpful in organizing your activities;
- It allows you to obtain different types of YCAS support, including money (the amount will vary according to the region and type of project), materials and suggestions from experts in the field. In other words, it’ll make your life easier.
5) Send your project to your regional agent
The regional agent, is the person who provides all the support listed above. He or she has a lot of experience in project production and the fight against tobacco, and can also help you to organize your activities!
6) When your project has been completed...
Once your YCAS activities have been completed, fill out the appraisal form and e-mail it to your regional agent. This will enable you to review your activities and add your achievements to those of other YCAS in Québec.
Some useful resources
The YCAS Intervention Guide
Although the Guide is intended mainly for facilitators, you and your YCAS may also find it useful, since it contains examples of projects and tips for carrying out your actions.
Really useful if you want to avoid reinventing the wheel!
The kit can be borrowed free of charge, and contains a host of tools such as quizzes, posters, improvisation cards and so on.
Contact your regional agent if you’d like to borrow a kit.
Wear these tuques, t-shirts and sling bags proudly, to show the world that you’re a YCAS member. They can also be used as raffle prizes during your activities, and you can buy them with your project subsidy.
Have a look at the In the Spotlight section. There may be a training session or event in your region to inspire your YCAS!