News and Events

Gilchrist County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Chapter Wraps Up Another Successful Year!
June 15, 2023

This has been a fantastic year for the Gilchrist County SWAT organization in our local middle-high schools. For those who do not know, SWAT is a local student club recognized for combatting tobacco use amongst their peers as well as educating our club members, and future county leaders, of the danger’s tobacco use brings to one’s life. SWAT stands for Students Working Against Tobacco, and for the first time in years we saw one of the biggest surges of students support and willingness to join the fight. Just this year we saw both our Trenton and Bell schools almost triple in student support compared to previous years. Which is not surprising our young people are starting to recognize the issues amongst their peers and want to stand up for themselves and do something about it.

Throughout the year Gilchrist SWAT has taken part of multiple nationally recognized tobacco free holidays, such as Not A Lab Rat Day, World No Tobacco Day, The Great American Smokeout, and many more. During these holidays our local students held poster campaigns and educated the student masses on the dangers of all types of tobacco products and their long-term repercussions. The main fight and concern amongst our local SWAT students though would have to be the vaping epidemic sweeping through the nation. Our students see firsthand how many of their peers are hooked on the newest tobacco products and recognize the addiction that comes with just one puff. Our SWAT has been integral in helping local coalitions by giving testimonies and sharing their concerns with local leaders to encourage adoption of more refined tobacco policies not only in the schools but other county owned properties.

As a county we should take the input of all our citizens when it comes to building a healthier community lifestyle, not just the adults. With the support from Gilchrist’s Tobacco Free Partnership, Gilchrist’s Drug Coalition, and other community support organizations we hope to create a platform where our youth’s and future leaders’ voices can be heard to share their concerns. Our youth are on the front lines when it comes to vaping, being a newer generation product. and they are chalk full of ideas that could help benefit Gilchrist through future generations if we just listen. Something we will be encouraging all our Gilchrist County SWAT leaders in the upcoming years.