Safe Summer Kickoff comes to S’thorne |

Safe Summer Kickoff comes to S’thorne

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

SILVERTHORNE – As far as safety events go for local kids, the Safe Summer Kickoff in Silverthorne is the granddaddy of them all.It attracts booths from local police and fire departments, water rescue, the Forest Service, the Department of Wildlife, the ambulance service and the Red Cross, among many others.The Big Red Bus shows up with its inflatable climbing structures. Wal-Mart provides food for a free barbecue. The Big Animal Rescue Truck makes the trek from the Front Range. Police officers hand out bicycle helmets, bike locks, gun locks, dog collar flashers, Frisbees and about 50 kids will ride away on new bicycles.Last year, Silverthorne Sgt. Mark Hanschmidt estimates 1,200 to 1,500 people showed up to spend the afternoon at the Silverthorne Pavilion.

“This thing has turned into like a great big huge carnival,” said Hanschmidt, who heads up the event.This year, the Safe Summer Kickoff will be held on June 3, which is a little later than usual, but Memorial Day Weekend and County Clean Up Day pushed it back two weeks.The carnival-like venue encourages kids to explore a public works loader, climb in police cars and fire engines and learn how 911 works. Meanwhile, parents can get instruction on how to properly install car seats and get copies of their kids’ fingerprints for their records. The event began six years ago when Silverthorne police officers donated a dozen bikes that were stored in the evidence room to local kids in need, and gave away helmets and bike locks.Since then, not only have bike thefts and head injuries among kids dropped significantly, but the event has exploded in popularity, Hanschmidt said.

“I’ve got people calling me saying, ‘How do I get involved? How do I get a booth?'” Hanschmidt said.This year, the Pavilion area will be so packed with booths that the car seat-fitting station will be set up in the parking lot behind the Pavilion. That’s where certified car seat technicians will teach parents how to properly install child safety seats in their cars, which can decrease the chance of child injury or death by 70 percent, said Shelly Almroth, the trauma nurse coordinator for Summit Medical Center and coordinator for the Central Mountains Safe Kids Chapter.This is the fourth year for the car seat checkpoint at Safe Summer Kickoff, which provided instruction to nearly 100 parents last year. “We’ve just gotten horrendously busy,” Almroth said. “It’s one of the busiest (fitting stations) in the state.”

The Safe Summer Kickoff event is catching on outside the county as well.The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police recently gave the event an award for the most outstanding program in the state. The association later presented Safe Summer Kickoff at a national conference in Washington D.C. The program is now being used as a model for other towns around the country, Hanschmidt said.The Safe Summer Kickoff is sponsored by Wal-Mart, Jim Hudson Chevrolet, Silverthorne Auto Group, Colorado Mountain Express, Safe Kids Foundation, Summit Medical Center, Vail Resorts, Summit County Rotary and H & R Block.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at

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