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Alaskan teens take leadership role in boating safety education

(Anchorage, AK) – Teens are helping shape a safer boating culture in Alaska through their leadership in the Kids Don’t Float Peer Educator Program. For their efforts during the 2012 school year, 10 high schools received awards from the Alaska Office of Boating Safety.

The Kids Don’t Float Peer Educator Program provides potentially life-saving information to high school students who, in turn, pass on lessons to younger children.  This fun, interactive approach focuses on prevention, survival in cold waters, the life-saving edge provided by life jackets, and other smart boating practices.

Naukati School on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska earned the Boating Safety Office’s Gold Award for 2012. The Naukati Peer Educators built a life jacket loaner board at the community dock, traveled to neighboring schools to teach the Kids Don’t Float curriculum, and served as boating safety ambassadors in Craig at the annual Kids Fishing Day event.  

“This program created young leaders out of my students,” said Kim Hoover, teacher at Naukati School. “They were empowered by leading activities for other young people from across the island and beyond. Kids Don’t Float is a keeper; I hope it continues to grow throughout the state.” 

The following high schools received the Silver Award:

·        Chugiak High School

·        Hogarth Kingeekuk Sr. Memorial School (Savoonga)

·        Barrow High School

The following schools received the Bronze Award:

·        Martin Luther King Jr. Career Center (Anchorage)

·        Ninilchick School

·        Nome Beltz Junior/Senior High School

·        Klukwan School

·        Susan B. English School (Seldovia)

·        Martin L.  Olson School (Golovin)

“The goal is to encourage teens to lead, make a positive change in their community, and positively influence the boating culture,” said Kelli Toth, education specialist with the Office of Boating Safety.  “By passing on the information, the teenagers reinforce it in their own minds, and they are successful at catching and holding the attention of the younger kids.”

For more information about the Kids Don’t Float Schools Program, go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/boating/kdfedupage.htm or contact Kelli Toth at 269-6042 or by e-mail at kelli.toth@alaska.gov.

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