The highest drowning rates occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend. Drowning remains the number one cause of accidental death for children ages one to five. Two local Girl Scouts took on the task of bringing water safety awareness to our youngest residents – and received honors from Santa Clarita City Council for their dedication to preventing tragic loss of life. WATCH VIDEO HERE
A tile reading, ‘Born in the heart of every child is the power to change the world,’ is where 12-year-olds, Robin Haggenmiller and Zoe Hughes began their classroom-to-classroom, school-to-school water safety campaign to preschoolers, kindergarten students, first graders, and special needs students. Armed with a large water safety storybook, “The Safer 3,” coloring books and tattoos for the kids – plus room posters and Pool Safely “Water Watcher” tags for the teachers, the Girls Scouts made a splash in several local Sunshine, KinderCare, Town & Country preschools, and local elementary schools averaging 20-32 youngsters. Little tikes aged two to seven years were wide-eyed enjoying the interactive storytime complete with song and dance, choreographed by the two creative go-getters.
“It is very important what the girls did here. I’m very proud of them. They know the rules and they shared it with them,” said Troop 7432 leader, Mary Farah.
Robin Haggenmiller began swimming at the age of three at Academy Swim Club. She mastered water safety techniques and competitive strokes such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. In March, the 12-year-old approached Academy Swim Club owner, Nikki Miller, with the idea of presenting a drowning prevention story time to earn community service hours toward the coveted Girl Scout Silver Award. Miller directed Robin and her mother to the local non-profit 501c(3) arm, Aquatic Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) while Robin recruited the help of her Girl Scout comrad, Zoe Hughes. From March to August, the 12-year-olds presented the “Safer 3” message of ‘Safer Water, Safer Kids, and Safer Response’ to hundreds of students and volunteered at safety expos, including the Santa Clarita Water Safety Expo hosted by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
“We are extremely proud of the girls for taking it upon themselves to choreograph a dance and memorize the entire ‘Safer 3’ storybook. We’ve watched Robin excel in swimming for nine years and we are so excited that she has a desire to reach out to our most vulnerable age group,” said Miller, who also serves as vice-president of the Aquatic Safety Awareness Program. Earlier this week, Robin found out she had qualified for COC’s Canyon Aquatics Swim Team. It was her first attempt in competitive swimming.
The ‘Safer 3’ message recommends:
Safer Water – Designate a vigilant parent water-watcher at all times when around bodies of water. Install proper pool fencing with locks on gates and pool alarms.
Safer Kids – Enroll children in swimming lessons
Safer Response – Enroll in CPR classes in case of an emergency
“You two young ladies are very fine examples and I know that this is going to make a difference in your lives. You’ve already made a difference in some others’ lives and maybe some lives that might not have been here without you,” stated Santa Clarita Mayor, Laurene Weste, during the City meeting.
Dedication and a heart for service have started two Girl Scouts toward becoming Santa Clarita’s next generation of leaders. The power to change the world appears to have been born in the hearts of two 12-year-olds accomplishing over 50 hours of community service to needed to receive the Girl Scout Silver Award, recognition from our mayor and council members, and perhaps a life spared preventable tragedy.
After the City recognition, Robin was asked if she could say one thing to other kids, what would it be? “Always swim with an adult, always.” Timely advice for this Labor Day weekend.
For water safety resources and more information, visit www.asapsocal.org.