By Janet Cruz
Community members, agencies and many volunteers gathered at the annual Kids on the Colorado River event at Lake Havasu State Park Tuesday to educate local seventh-graders about boating safety and Lake Havasu’s local ecology.
The event is in it’s third year and the goal of the Kids On The Colorado River nonprofit program is to educate youth about water safety and at the same time, give them the opportunity to experience the river.
“I grew up living in the water here. Since I spent a lot of time in the water with my own parents who did a lot of water recreation, I know a lot about the water and safety,” said Dan Delasantos, of The Kids on The Colorado Program.
“It has not been the case for a few years now for other families who live here. They either sold their boat, do not own one or rarely particpate in water activities so their children don’t have that benefit or experience so we allow them to have that in this program.”
The program began in April 2022, when Delasantos and local resident Mike Peters conducted a survey at local schools and discovered that only three out 35 students in the classroom had been in the water or on the lake. They later approached Lake Havasu State Park Manager Dan Roddy and gathered local agencies and local businesses to create a program to make it possible.
“We knew we wanted to do something about getting a program,” Peters said. “Once we found sponsors, each year the program has had an opportunity to grow. It has just grown and people see value in it and allows us to continue to bring this program to even more students.”
Students from Thunderbolt Middle school learned about boat safety, and rotated from different educational pods, learned the history of the river, and the local ecology and employment opportunities the Lake Havasu State Park has to offer.
“I think it is really cool to learn about the lake’s history,” said Thunderbolt Middle School seventh-grader Gwen Collins.
A proclamation by Mayor Cal Sheehy was also presented to the kids, volunteers and organizations that gathered or took part in the program. Students were later treated to a ride aboard the Dixie Belle to experience a view of our local waterway.
“Seeing the living organisms in the water is also a game changer for learning. Our hands-on program is what makes this program also unique for our kids,” Delasantos said.
Sponsors included Food by La Vita Dolce, support from Printing Plus, K-12 Foundation, Havasu Pioneers Radio, Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce, Unisource Energy Services, Lake Havasu Area Sea Scouts, LHC Lighthouse Club, Arizona Game and Fish, Lake Havasu Museum Of History, ASU at Lake Havasu, Lake Havasu Police Department, Lake Havasu City Fire Department, Lake Havasu Marine Association, Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, The Dixie Belle, Foothills Bank, Shugrues, Allo Communications, Natural Tease, HavaSIS the Boat Brokers and many others.
To learn more about Kids On The Colorado River program and their upcoming Desert program taking place this spring, visit www.kidsonthecoloradoriver.org. or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.