In 2008, our members planned a forum for kids and parents alike to receive information on water safety that emphasizes that the whole community shares a stake in the welfare of children around the water. We started close to home, focusing on the Carver Community Center in Jacksonville Beach. Here, we found very independent children living just blocks from the beach with little or no water confidence or swimming ability. With our resources, we purchased an inflatable pool and hosted a total of three free cookouts where we gave brief safety talks to over 100 children before providing a fun, safe water experience under the supervision of several ARCVLSC members. To entice the kids and parents to come out, we had a skateboard donated by Sunrise Surf Shop and Recruit Surfman Monica Ruggerio painted the deck with a beach scene and water safety tips. We then gave it away in a drawing along with passes to Adventure Landing, Salt Life t-shirts, and lots of other goodies. The City of Jax Beach helped design and purchase 500 drink coozies adorned with water safety tips and a picture of the station drawn by one of the children at the Carver Center.
Special thanks to Dan Brooks at Sunrise Surf Shop for donating food and prizes, Mitch and the Wavemasters Society for their $500 donation to the program, Steve Park Sr., and Cindy Van Zandt for their tireless advocacy and dedication. We would not be able to save these lives without their hard work.