Kids can learn to stay afloat

The Stay Afloat Safety Fair is a chance for children ages 8-13 to become familiar with safety on the Truckee River in Reno.

The Truckee River Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to provide environmental education, safety and athlete development programs in Northern Nevada, is hosting the free fair.

It is scheduled from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. In 45-minute workshops, instructors will provide information about the fit of equipment like personal flotation devices and helmets and about the safest ways to get about in currents and eddies.

The fair's focus is to teach children to be safe swimming in the water. It is not a kayak safety course. Children should wear bathing suits and shoes that will stay on in the water.

"It's so important to learn how to swim, no matter your age, and to know how to survive in a river, especially at the whitewater park where the currents are fun but can be dangerous," said 11-year-old Jason Craig, a local kayaker who hones his whitewater skills on the Truckee River.

On-site registration begins at 9 a.m. at the west side of Wingfield Park and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Parents can register kids at least 15 minutes prior to the workshop start time -11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Participants are required to have a parent or guardian sign a waiver and must know how to swim. Spanish language registration and instruction will be available.

"The popularity of the Truckee River Whitewater Park has surpassed even my estimation, and because of the increased use of the park, not a day goes by in the summer that kids aren't in the river, floating down the channels and playing in the currents," said Jim Litchfield, hydrologist with Wood Rodgers Inc., lead designer for the Truckee River Whitewater Park and TRF president. "But this is also a natural river, obstacles exist and it can easily become a dangerous situation for those that might not know proper river safety procedures."

After the workshop, participants will receive a goodie bag and a souvenir T-shirt from Lotus Designs. For more information call Litchfield at 329-1549 or go to the Foundation's Web site at


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