During the 2014-2015 school year, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Boating Division rolled out its pilot “Student Ambassador” program to several high schools and middle schools in the state. The ambassador program was created so students could build a greater awareness of boating safety among their peers.
The students produced a boating safety display that was exhibited in their schools. The student projects were also placed on display at Connecticut’s Legislative Office Building in Hartford during National Safe Boating Week. In addition to heightening awareness of boating safety among fellow students and legislators, the efforts of the “Student Ambassadors” acted as a conduit for other safety initiatives, including the expansion of boating classes and the recruitment of volunteer boating instructors for the DEEP.
The 22 “Student Ambassadors” were honored at a ceremony hosted by CT DEEP. The student ambassadors received a certificate of appreciation from DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee, as well as recognition and credit for volunteer service, extra class credit, capstone project credit, or simply a notable resume builder for college and scholarship applications.
The pilot was a success and this year’s program has already expanded. DEEP is reaching out to over 100 schools to provide the same chance to participate in the “Student Ambassador” program. As this initiative expands, the collaboration with Connecticut schools and their students will provide opportunities to continue to mold a solid boating safety paradigm for a state where boating has always been part of the fabric of the community.