For the 4th consecutive year, Clean Air St. Joseph faction Smokebusters held their annual “Kick Butts Day” dodgeball tournament at Missouri Western’s Looney Complex last Wednesday.
The mission of the dodgeball tournament was to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking tobacco. More than 220 middle and high school students participated in the tournament.
Jamie Baker, community policy specialist, helped organize and promote the event. Baker said the organization put out flyers, sent registration forms to schools, used Facebook and took out ads on the radio to publicize the tournament.
“We want the youth to be aware of dangers of tobacco and how tobacco companies are targeting them,” Baker said. “Eighty percent of smokers start before the age of 18, which is the main reason why we focus on the middle and high school students.”
More than 600 people came out to show their support for the tournament and its purpose. Savannah High School senior Cody Wilson was among those in attendance for the tournament.
“A lot of kids at our school smoke cigarettes, and most of them are probably not even old enough,” Wilson said. “I think smoking is a gross habit.”
Students from Western’s Law Enforcement Academy volunteered their time to help out during the tournament. There were several of them signing kids in and passing out t-shirts. Matt Eiman was one of the law enforcement students volunteering, and he said he was glad to help out.
“I like serving the community,” Eiman said. “A good police officer is always willing to serve when needed.”
Dodgeball wasn’t the only thing going on. There was a humungous inflatable obstacle course on hand. Guest speakers were asking tobacco influenced trivia questions to students in exchange for prizes.
Phi Epsilon Kappa was running the concession stand at the event in order to raise some money for their upcoming Lift-A-Thon in April.
PEK Vice President Kellie Alexander was helping run the concession stand. Alexander said that all proceeds would go directly to their fraternity.
“I hope we can raise about $500,” Alexander said. “That seems like a pretty reasonable goal that I hope we can achieve tonight.”