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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Instructor Training

The Water Safety Program is going full swing here at J. Strom Thurmond COE.  Various ideas have been put forth on the best way to teach elementary and middle school age kids about how important it is to wear life jackets.

We had demonstrations by two of the park rangers on teaching techniques they have used with great success.  Both were fun and got the message out, one in a subtle way, the other with a  hilarious skit.

First up was Ranger Heather with her three oranges.


One orange was completely peeled, one loosely peeled and the third with its peel left intact.  Dropping the three oranges in a bowl of water represented what happens when people wear their life jacket properly, wear the life jacket improperly fastened and not wearing a life jacket at all.


The intact skinned orange floated, the orange with the loose peel fell out and sank and the orange with no peel sank like a stone.  Very to the point.

Then Ranger Dave gave his presentation.


He took four of our team and set them up as if they were on a boat outing.


He dressed them up with some funny items representing a fun day on the boat.


Lots of laughter came as the skit progressed.


Then with all this gear on, the volunteers were given 30 seconds to find their life jacket and don it properly. None of them were able to do it and it soberly got the point across.


Good training with a good message.  The schools we’ve contacted about bringing them the COE’s Water Safety Program have responded overwhelmingly.  Our team is going to be busy!

This isn’t something we expected to be involved with as workampers, but we’re glad to be a part of it.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. I think hamming it up and involving the kids will have the most lasting effect! I can just see you two getting into it and really having some fun.

  2. Sounds like a very necessary program to me. Even if one life is saved it all is worth the time and effort.

  3. The oranges in the glass is a very telling example. It would be fun to dump one in each glass and ask the kids which one has his life jacket on correctly? And then what's the matter with the other two. But they'll have more fun with the boating exhibit if they don't get so caught up in the fun of it that they miss the message. Can't wait to see reports of you actually doing this. Pretty cool assignment for work campers.

  4. Well, I have one of those mustang "jerk to pull" inflatables that I wear whenever I'm on the boat. Not that my fellow boaters are a bunch of jerks or anything...
    Half the time the water in Lake Ontario is cold enough to kill you without drowning, but I figure if I go in, at least I'll float long enough for someone to haul me out, even though I might be unconscious.

  5. Great project, hope you get the message to a lot of people.

  6. What a cool way to teach the kiddos water safety.

  7. That really sounds like a fun class that others will enjoy. It will also teach them the importance of keeping those jackets on and may even save a life or two. Good teachers and good techniques make a difference.

  8. Beautiful explained about the importance of life jacket in a easy way. This can be understood by all.

  9. Great way to get the life jacket message across to the kids. Might be good to share it with adults as well;o) Can you add wearing bike helmets as well?!?!

  10. That is a great demonstration and should stick with the kids. Glad to hear you are being welcomed to lots of schools.

  11. Your workamping duties are sure varied. These demonstrations look like they will be effective in getting the message across to kids and adults too. Having visited the S. T. Recreation area, I can see why they emphasize water safety. That is a surprisingly big body of water there.

  12. That demonstration looks great and would definitely get the attention of kids.

    I have to confess, we never wear our life preservers either in the kayaks or the boat. I cannot say that we will start wearing our preservers, but I will put them in a better area for quick access.

  13. An excellent safety training course sure will get the point across.

  14. Great ideas for getting through to the kiddos. And like others have said - if it saves one life it is worth all the time and effort.

  15. Thanks for the lesson. What I learned from it is that the next time I go out in a boat I will make sure I have unpeeled oranges in my pockets!

  16. Looks like some good training and some good ways to make it fun!

  17. Nice to see Ranger Dave in the picture :-) What a great program. I'm sure it was a good change from looking for pins!

  18. Now that sounds fun and informative.