No school bus? No problem. Colorado kid kayaks to school

Local News

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — As school districts across the nation deal with a shortage of bus drivers, a Summit County student is getting high grades for his creativity to get to class.

Jason Smith says because of the shortage, they weren’t sure if his 12-year-old son Josh would have a seat on the bus when the school year started, so Josh approached him with a plan. 

“One night he said ‘hey instead of waiting on the bus, why don’t I just kayak to school?'” says Smith.

The Smith’s live in Silverthorne, about a five mile drive from Summit Middle School. 

But the shortest route as the crow flies? Directly across Dillon Reservoir. 

“The easy answer would have been no, let me just drive you to school, if you can’t get on the bus, we’ll drive you to school, no problem,” says Smith. “But I have a 12-year-old who wants to be adventurous, wants to do something none of his buddies would do, and how can I say no to that?”

 So on a cool September morning, they loaded the kayak into the family car and drove the short distance down to the reservoir. 

Josh set off, and made it across the entire lake to school, arriving *almost* on time. 

“I was late to one of my classes, and everyone was like Josh where were you we were worried, and I was like oh, I was kayaking to school,” he says with a smile.

He says the adventure was exciting, and only a bit nerve-wracking.

“I was nervous when I started to go out a little more, and I realized how vast it was, and how far away I was from land,” he says. “When I got there, I felt like I was accomplished, but I also knew I was a little bit late to school, so I think I could have made a little bit better time.”

The 12-year-old Boy Scout hopes to reach Eagle Scout, and potentially enroll in the Air Force Academy.

In the more immediate future, he’s planning to try and ski to school across the lake once it freezes.

“Instead of taking a shortcut, I took a long cut,” jokes Josh. 

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