News and Events

SWAT 2023 – Another Successful Year in the Books!
December 15, 2023

Gilchrist County has hosted student SWAT clubs for the previous 6 years within the Gilchrist County School District. For those who may not know SWAT, Students Working Against Tobacco, Clubs give a platform and an opportunity to our local youth to take part in local reform and education to the danger’s tobacco can bring to an individual’s life after the first use of these products. 2023 may have been the best year yet in our small community for these clubs and as a community we should be proud to see our young leaders taking the initiative to change the narrative for a healthier stronger future.

Historically Gilchrist County has been host to only two high school clubs with about 20-30 student’s county wide. Throughout 2023 though we have seen a huge number of our local youth showing interest in wanting to support a tobacco free lifestyle for themselves as well as their peers. By the end of this year, we have now increased our Gilchrist SWAT chapter from two to four clubs, now encompassing two high school clubs as well as our two new middle school clubs. Growing from that 20-30 average to having close to 100 school aged youth signed up for the cause countywide.

With the rapid growth and growing popularity of these clubs in schools we have been able to gain more support for local tobacco reform with the help of our students. Allowing our club leaders opportunities to discuss key concerns with school decision making officials and hopefully county decision-making officials soon at county commission meetings. Our SWAT cubs encourage our members to take what they learn in club and educate others in the community who may not know the dangers new tobacco products pose or are under the impression newer products are "healthier” alternatives to classic ways of using tobacco. With a growing support of our students pushing for a healthier lifestyle, it can make one hopeful for the betterment for the future of Gilchrist County Residents. We hope to continue building this trend and gaining more and more support in the coming years, giving our students and future leaders a platform to build a better tomorrow.