Metroparks Teaches Free Boat, Life-saving Skills to Teens

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FAIRPORT HARBOR, Ohio – Lake County teens are getting their feet wet…literally.

This summer, Lake Metroparks’ “Spirit of America” program is teaching 120 teens different boat and life-saving skills – for free.

“They get to learn how to use 6 boats in the program, and so today, they go into different groups and they’re experiencing canoes, kayaks and john boats,” said Leigh Garam, outdoor education manager for Lake Metroparks.

Twice a week for a few weeks, the seventh-grade students will get to learn different maneuvers, from paddling to operating a motor.

“I learned how to go with the current and turn around faster. It’s a lot harder than you think,” said Aidan O’Hara, 13. “If I could, I’d live on the water. It’s pretty fun.”

Spirit of America was founded in Mentor in 1995. Lake Metroparks took over the program in 2001. Since then, several states from across the country have also grabbed their life jackets to teach thousands of teens water-survival skills.

“I love that I get to be in the water,” said Melissa Yoho, 13. “I get to do it with my best friend. I get to get experience with what I love to do.”

Click here for more information on Spirit of America.