In 2013, a young boy from El Dorado County lost his life with a family member 4 feet away. He was not wearing a life jacket, and in the blink of an eye the boy was gone. One of the Gold Rush members lived next door to the boy’s family, and at our meeting we were talking about what a tragedy it was. To prevent this from happening again, then Gold Rush member and Regional Director, Vanessa Norgauer decided to contact the local Boy Scouts Council to see if there were any Boy Scouts who were in the process of choosing their Eagle Scout project, to see if they might be willing to take on the building of a life jacket station as their project. Without luck, she worked on several different leads for about 8 months and just as she was beginning to lose hope, the club received a phone call from Kayla Grissom, a local Girl Scout. She was in the process of choosing her Gold Award project (the Girl Scout equivalent of the Eagle Scout project), and she wanted to partner with Gold Rush to do the life jacket station.
Kayla had some ideas and came to a club meeting with drawings and her plan on how she would move forward. She had spoken with some of the local high schools to see if any of the woodshop students would assist with the construction of the information station. She got donations from local businesses and Home Depot to pay for the supplies, and with the help of her mother approached EID (El Dorado Irrigation) Board with her ideas in hopes of obtaining their approval for the station. They agreed, and she was able to move forward. Our club committed to providing the actual life jackets (with the donations from our community attending our events), and EID committed to storing and checking out the life jackets.
On July 3rd 2014 our club followed through and delivered the life jackets to the Ranger Station at Sly Park Recreational Area, and they’ve been checked out by individuals and families since then. Anyone who needs a life jacket for their child rents the life jacket by filling out a form. There is no cost.
The goal of our donation to this program is to save as many lives as possible while bringing awareness of water safety to our community.