Otter Spotter Day to raise awareness for May as Water Safety Month

  • Thursday, May 9, 2013

Because of B.R.A.Y.D.E.N and the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation (JCMF) with many volunteers will be blasting social media outlets with hundreds, possibly thousands, of pictures taken from around the world with the simple question, “Are you an Otter Spotter?” Over 100 volunteers in 53 cities around the United States and worldwide are participating in the 3rd Annual National/International Otter Spotter Day to promote water safety and drowning prevention in their communities and on the worldwide web. The majority of the photos will be shared on the foundation’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/joshtheotter and at the Twitter hashtag #otterspotterday.
Otter Spotter Day was created three years ago by JCMF to energize drowning prevention and water safety efforts across the country and around the world. It is a fun and simple way to get community members involved in spreading the message of water safety within their own local areas... on the same day. The grassroots, guerrilla marketing social media effort is based on the Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Project in honor of Joshua Collingsworth to help create awareness to adults and educate little children that “Water is Fun but Only With an Adult”.  Prior to and on May 6th, volunteers will be in their communities wearing Josh the Otter mascots, bright yellow Otter Spotter t-shirts, and holding up Josh the Otter hand fans while handing out stickers, coloring sheets, posters, and “Josh the Baby Otter” books. All in a collective effort to save lives from drowning.
Joshua, the foundation’s namesake, was 2 and a half years old when he died from a pool drowning incident. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 5 and second leading cause of unintentional death for all children under the age of 14. While the statistics are staggering, drowning has not gained the necessary public and media attention needed to help prevent these tragedies from occurring. Otter Spotter Day is helping to engage not only the media but also the global community... one Otter Spotter at a time.
JCMF earned the 2012 National Water Safety Congress Regional Award and the 2012 National Drowning Prevention Alliance Community Lifesaver Award for their ongoing efforts to promote water safety awareness throughout the United States. JCMF has signed partnership memorandums with the United States Coast Guard, National Water Safety Congress, US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District, and serves as a National Affiliate for the USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Initiative.
Did You Know?
•            A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child 4 and under (Orange County California Fire Authority).
•            20% of all drowning occur at private homes (International Life Saving Federation).
•            58% of parents don’t consider drowning a threat to their children (Safe Kids Coalition).
•            Minority children nationwide are almost three times more likely to drown than Caucasian children (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
•            In the United States the total cost of drowning-related deaths among children ages 14 and under is over $800 million a year (Safe Kids Coalition).
About the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation, Lincoln, Nebraska
Parents Blake and Kathy Collingsworth honor the memory of their two-year-old son Joshua, who died on June 4, 2008 after falling into the family pool three days earlier. They believed they had every safety precaution in place, but the reality is that a drowning can occur in mere moments. After losing Joshua, they felt compelled to help reduce the dramatic numbers of deaths by drowning that occur in our country and around the world. The Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation was created in July of 2008 to serve as a catalyst to strengthen water safety awareness and create an early childhood educational program. Their goal is to empower children to be safe in and around ALL bodies of water to prevent similar tragedies. The Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Project is dedicated to teaching young children about water safety through the use of Josh the Baby Otter a book written by Blake, which was recently translated into Spanish. Over 50,000 books have been distributed since the foundation began. The program has been presented in classrooms, community centers, zoos, pools, and childcare facilities around the world.
“Josh The Baby Otter” was written as a fun and educational book to teach children to “stay away from water unless with an adult and to always swim with a buddy.” The book includes a sing along CD and an optional coloring book. To date, they have distributed tens of thousands of copies of “Josh the Baby Otter” throughout the United States, Jamaica, Australia and Pakistan. www.joshtheotter.org The foundation also started the “Float 4 Life” program in Lincoln, NE that teaches and promotes Infant and Toddler Water training courses. It started with the partnership of their local YMCA of Lincoln, NE and now has expanded to 17 other Y’s and is currently in place in the Salvation Army KROC Center of Omaha, NE, teaching underprivileged children the importance of the life skills to float on their back and reach for the side of the pools edge. To date, they have taught over 2,000 infants and toddlers these life saving skills. They are now outreaching to several teaching facilities with the goal to expand, support, and promote these types of programs around the country. http://www.float4life.org
Local organization, Because of B.R.A.Y.D.E.N.  (www.becauseofbrayden.org) will be participating as well visiting sites around Charleston and Summerville with Josh the Otter and distributing water safety information.  Be on the look out… Will you be an Otter Spotter in Charleston or Summerville??
1.2 Million people around the world die by drowning every year, that is more than two persons per minute. (International Life Saving Federation, 2010)
Drowning is preventable. Let’s not make a tragedy necessary to alert people to consider water safety and awareness. www.joshuamemorial.org
Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation is a qualified IRS 501 (c)(3) orginization

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