Was the Carroll Country Resource Council behind Smoke-Free Soccer?
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If I smoke, it gives the other 
team an advantage. I don't want
them to win. So, I can't smoke!
That was the message of young peer presenters and role models in Arkansas Smoke-Free Soccer, which was authored and led by the Resource Council.

Today, our commitment to local youth soccer continues. For 2020-2022, we secured a two-year relationship with the Good Sports Foundation, which so far has donated more than $35,000 in player equipment. Last year, a grant from the Carroll County Community Foundation paid for our new youth-size goals and nets. Annually, we benefit from a Tyson Foods gift allowing all their team members' kids to play for $10 instead of the usual $35 per season. But it all started with Smoke-Free Soccer.

Initially funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Smoke-Free Soccer was the brainchild of a former assistant to the U.S. surgeon general, Ripley Forbes. It was funded nationwide by the CDC but tweaked in Arkansas to feature youth peer-presenters. After CDC funding ended, Arkansas Smoke-Free Soccer continued with grants from the EPA and the Arkansas state tobacco settlement. 

Our program steered away from hiring out-of-state presenters and motivational speakers for kids' rallies. Instead, we believed teenage leaders leading participants in hands-on soccer skills clinics -- with games 
We could not be more proud of Henry Pineda, who just graduated from Williams Baptist College on a soccer scholarship -- and was a peer presenter in our Smoke-Free Soccer outreaches funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
that had a message -- would be far more effective. 

Independent evaluators agreed with us. Our athletes, primarily Berryville and Green Forest soccer players, led younger kids statewide in games that instilled anti-smoking messages and taught peer-pressure resistance skills. Pre- and post-tests showed that our teens were very effective in changing attitudes.

Using teens as peer presenters, we have offered anti-drug, anti-violence, anti-smoking and anti-obesity programs featuring local kids as role models. We've found soccer to be an effective medium -- since it bridges so many cultural divides. 

We have offered a variety of prevention messages using soccer during phys-ed classes, in after-school programs and during teen-led skills clinics at venues statewide -- and at annual Red Ribbon Rallies at the University of Arkansas for northwest Arkansas fifth graders. We continue to have close ties with our local youth soccer program.  

Our young instructors gained leadership skills and earned small stipends that empowered them to attend soccer summer camps, play on Arkansas State Select Teams in the Olympic Development Program and compete on Arkansas Comets premier soccer teams in Fayetteville. 

Our kids made instructional videos presented at anti-tobacco national conferences in New Orleans, San Francisco and Boston, at CDC meetings in Portland, Maine, and Mesa, Arizona. We showed the videos, then our youngsters demonstrated how to use soccer to teach prevention messages during sessions at National Soccer Coaches Association of America conventions in Kansas City and Providence, R.I. 
We're helping Green Forest broadcast local news.

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