News and Events

Gilchrist County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Members Have a Busy Autumn!
December 7, 2018

This has been a busy quarter for Gilchrist County SWAT.  At the beginning of November, two SWAT youth from Trenton and Bell participated in a regional training event that brought youth together from North East Florida to discuss many tobacco issues such as e-cigarettes and youth tobacco use, as well as learning important skills like public speaking.  SWAT youth also learned some of the key aspects of advocacy such as learning how to educate and speak with knowledge on tobacco topics that impact themselves and their peers in the community. The regional event was held to help SWAT youth connect with other SWAT clubs around the state and bring back the latest information and ideas to Gilchrist County. 

Bell SWAT club participated in Red Ribbon Week by promoting tobacco-free norms and promoting Not a Lab Rat Day. This is a new observance where SWAT youth advocate for themselves to not be used by e-cigarette companies as test subjects for the new products. Trenton SWAT worked on viral marketing by doing a SWAT rock painting activity to hide tobacco-free messages on rocks around Gilchrist County. Another way SWAT wants to reach the community is through projects like photovoice which allows youth to take pictures in the community to share their perspective with community leaders and other adults.

This year the SWAT clubs are focusing on taking photos that show how tobacco in the community personally impacts them daily. That might be seeing something as simple as discarded tobacco trash that lines a parking lot, or even a fishing ramp. One SWAT member, Hannah, who attended the regional meeting and was trained on photovoice said, “photovoice is important because we can use it to show people how things like tobacco trash are harming the environment so we can do something about it.” SWAT youth are already submitting pictures for the photovoice project, and it is hoped that the project will be shared with the community by the end of the school year.

If you have a child or know of a young person in grades 6-12, or ages 11-17, who would like to join one of our SWAT clubs, please contact or call 352-463-7006. Our clubs meet in school during club days, and monthly after school at the Trenton library. Our SWAT clubs are also Gilchrist County 4-H clubs, and anyone is welcome to join!