Girl Scout Rachel Leath of Troop 40276 partnered with the city of Chattanooga Parks and Recreation by providing water safety classes for children 6–12 years of age for her Girl Scout gold project.
The water safety classes took place at Brainerd Recreation Complex for three weeks in the month of March. The children learned life saving skills to apply in different bodies of water. Each week there was a guest speaker at each class to discuss water safety tips.
On the first week, the Volunteer Water Rescue Squad came out and brought a rescue boat, and demonstrated how to use the equipment. On week two a registered nurse, Valerie Davis demonstrated to the children how to perform CPR. On the third week, a registered nurse Wendy McNabb talked to the children on how vital it is to protect their skin in the sun. She also taught them how to properly apply sunscreen products.
At the end of the water safety program there was a ceremony held for the participants. Each child received a medallion, certificate of completion, life preservers, as well as a gift basket filled with water safety items. All items were donated by local businesses.
Rachel also setup scholarships for children in the community to take swimming lessons. Dr. Robert Clark of Greater Brainerd Dentist, Mr. Michael Washington, the Association Black fire Fighters, National Black Police Association all donated scholarships for children to receive swimming lessons.
A special scholarship was set up in honor of Brandon Abernathy, a Chattanooga native. He drowned while on a school field trip in 2005. Avondale Seventh Day Adventist School and Orchard Park Seventh Day Adventist Church and several church members donated scholarships every year, through these scholarships children will receive swimming lessons.
The Choo Choo Diving and Aquatic Center will provide a scholarship for an adult to receive swimming lessons. Rachel has also referred some special needs children to Sunshine program at YMCA to take swimming lessons.
Rachel will receive her gold award in special ceremony later this summer.