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SAJ: Jacksonville District Partners with Girl Scouts for Train-the-Trainer Water Safety Education Programs

Girl Scouts learn the dangers of mixing alcohol and boating through a fun activity.
Girl Scouts work together to put on a PFD properly.

Lake: Jacksonville District Office

Partners: USACE; Girl Scouts of Gateway Council

Partnership Type: MOU

Corps POC: Heather Burke

Story: Jacksonville, Florida is an Atlantic coastal city rich in water recreation resources, including many beaches and lakes, pools, boat ramps, the St. John’s River, and the Intracoastal Waterway, all of which provide recreational opportunities to the nearly 1 million residents and thousands more visitors each year. In 2003, northeast Florida ranked third highest in number of drownings in the state. To help reduce drownings in our community, the Jacksonville District Corps of Engineers has joined up with the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council to increase our community water safety outreach through educational programs.

Utilizing the national water safety program 'Safe Passage' curriculum, the Corps has partnered with the Girl Scouts to facilitate water safety train-the-trainer workshops for senior Girl Scouts. Collaborating with the Council Director, the two agencies designed a program that would fit the needs of the scouts and help the Corps reach more children in the community through water safety education. By participating in this course, the senior level scouts earn a "Program Aide" pin. This class provides teen scouts the opportunity to gain leadership, public speaking, and education skills. Participants view the classroom version of the ‘Safe Passage’ video, learn how to facilitate discussion, and lead a variety of fun activities based on the principles in the video. They then use the skills taught in class to conduct water safety education programs for younger scouts before they engage in water recreational activities. In the process, the senior scouts earn a Leadership badge, gain confidence in public speaking and leading programs, and have a lot of fun!

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