If you’re in Lake Wylie and you spot an otter, look a little closer, it just may be Josh the Baby Otter and he’s here helping local children learn about water safety.
In the last week, the Rotary Club of Lake Wylie once again brought the Josh the Baby Otter water safety and literacy program to the Kindergarten classes at three area schools -Oakridge Elementary, Crowders Creek Elementary, and Bethel Elementary.
The Rotarians talked to the children about what water safety means and
read the book Josh the Baby Otter. The book delivers the message of the importance of learning how to float and never going near the water without an adult in a fun and age-appropriate way.
Then a special guest stopped by, Josh the Otter, to dance with the Kindergarteners to the song “Learn to Float.” Josh gave all the children hugs and high fives before each child received their own copy of Josh the Baby Otter, a coloring book, and sticker.
Ten Rotarians participated in the programs, but the entire club raised funds and put the book packets together. Matt McGarity, who wore the Josh costume, said, “I’m happy to be part of a program that teaches kids about an important and life-saving topic in an engaging and exciting way.”
Janet Gaglione, expressed at a Club meeting that, “this is one of the most rewarding things we get to do as Rotarians.”
Josh the Baby Otter was created by Blake and Kathy Collingsworth in memory of their son Joshua who passed away in a pool drowning incident in June 2008. Their goal is to prevent future drowning tragedies through early childhood education and water safety courses.
According to the CDC, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4. And the second leading cause of accidental
death for children ages 1-14. The month of May is National Water Safety Month.
For more information on the Josh the Otter program visit joshtheotter.org.