WHAT: CCSO Build-A-Boat Regatta
DATE: Friday, Aug. 20
TIME: 11:30 a.m.
LOCATION: The north side of Lake Avalon at Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, East Naples. (Go to the ski area near the bleachers).
SUMMARY: Young boat builders will be making waves on Lake Avalon on Friday.
Teens who participated in the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s Build-A-Boat program over the summer will take to the oars of their handmade rowboats for a final rendezvous on the water.
The event will be the grand finale to mark the end of the first Summerfest, the most ambitious summer youth program in Collier County Sheriff’s Office history. The event will also feature remarks from Collier County Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk as well as representatives of some of the hundreds of CCSO community partners who helped make Summerfest a huge success.
The focus of Summerfest was to provide a wide array of fun activities for all students in all grade levels in a safe environment. Thousands of kids and teens took part in fun and free activities ranging from fishing to open gyms and from movies to boat-building.
CCSO partnered with the Marine Industries Association of Collier County Foundation and Florida Community Bank to offer the Build-A-Boat program for a second year in a row.
Forty-eight teens, ages 13 to 17, got first-hand experience in woodworking, boat-building and job skills that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. The overall goal of the program is not just to build a boat. The program also teaches leadership skills and builds positive relationships between the teens and law enforcement.
“Not only does the program offer the kids an opportunity to see something built from start to finish, it fosters a sense of accomplishment for keeping focused on a goal,” said Cmdr. Beth Jones of CCSO’s Youth Relations Bureau.
In addition to building a boat, the teens learned about boating safety. Deputies from CCSO’s Marine Unit presented a safe boating course for the teens. At the end of the week the teens were eligible to take the test for a boating safety education card, which is required for anyone younger than 21 in order to operate a boat in Florida.
Four 12-foot, 450-pound Bevin’s Skiff rowboats were constructed from kits over the summer. Two were built in June at Palmetto Ridge High School in Golden Gate Estates, one was finished in July in Everglades City and one was crafted in August at the Immokalee I-Tech Center.
The rowboats, which the teens named Gator Bait, Get R Done, Summer Nights Dream and Mossy Oak, will be auctioned off at a later date by the Marine Industries Association. The proceeds from the auction will fund the boats for next year’s Build-A-Boat program.