With temperatures heating up, a successful community partnership is back in action to connect Idaho families to important water safety resources for the third year.
Thanks to a $5,000 donation from St. Luke’s Health System, Boise Parks and Recreation and Boise Fire are teaming up once again to get life jackets into the hands of Idaho kids who may not otherwise have access to one.
“We are proud to continue this important partnership to make sure children in our community have access to life jackets,” said Doug Holloway, Boise Parks and Recreation director. “We’re grateful for the support of St. Luke’s and the Boise Fire Department in this effort.”
Families in need of free life jackets can fill out a form with the Boise Parks and Recreation Department’s Fort Boise team, a process which will work much like the department’s youth scholarship program. Once need is determined, City of Boise residents under 18 years of age who qualify will receive a voucher to be fitted for a free life jacket at Idaho River Sports, a committed community partner in this effort.
Families can call Fort Boise at (208) 608-7680 or visit the Fort Boise Community Center (700 Robbins Rd.) to take part in the free life jacket program.
The need for this program is evident. Just last year, 32 children and adults had a water accident serious enough to end up at a St. Luke’s hospital. Six of those were children who were sick enough to have to be admitted to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.
“Water accidents are preventable,” said Dr. Kendra Bowman, the Pediatric Trauma Medical Director for St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. “We want our families to get outside and have fun, but it’s also critical that kids and parents take water, and water sports, seriously. We’re proud that our community recognizes the risks that come along with all the fun water-based recreation Idaho offers, and wants to partner with us to help keep more Idaho kids safe this summer.”
Boise Parks and Recreation, Boise Fire and representatives from St. Luke’s held an event today to give free life jackets to children involved in one of Boise Parks and Recreation’s Playcamps (see attached photos). Students from the Winstead Playcamp visited Idaho River Sports and were fitted by staff for new life jackets to take home.
The free life jacket voucher program will continue through the summer. In addition, Boise Parks and Recreation will stock free life jackets at stations located at Quinn’s Pond and the ponds at Esther Simplot Park for anyone who needs one. Our team asks that users return the jackets to the stations after use, so others can take advantage of this important resource.