Flood waters from the July 24 rain storm forced a Nevada youth group on a camping trip to have to scramble for higher ground in the middle of the night.
Andrew Gonzales and Kaylee Harker, supervisors of the youth program in connection with the Nye Communities Coalition in Pahrump, said, “We were on our annual two-week educational fact-finding trip where we travel through Nevada to see all the colleges. We had been visiting colleges as well as tech and trade schools in southern Nevada and had visited Hoover Dam, which rolls in with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education.”
Harker said the group, including 12 teens, decided to camp at Willow Beach Marina, alongside the Colorado River, not far from Hoover Dam to do some leadership development and some kayaking.
“But Monday night we got evacuated out due to torrential rains and flash flooding. The alarms went off about 11:30 p.m. and we scrambled to get in the van with only what we had on our backs, left all of our belongings in the trailer and camp tents on the ground and drove to higher elevations. We would have been in serious trouble if we had not left immediately,” Harker said.
Later they drove to Kingman, Ariz. and found a hotel where they stayed the night and Tuesday.
Harker said she was very proud of all the teens, “because they responded exactly the way you need to respond in such emergencies, stay calm, collected and move quickly. The team worked really well. I couldn’t have asked for a better response.”
But the flood submerged all their belongings and camping equipment in the trailer which had been left behind and nearly buried by mud, landslides, silt and debris. Gonzales said the depth of water reached just about to the bottom of a road sign.
As the group was heading to UNR in Reno, they stopped in Alamo at Windmill Ridge and learned Alamo has a laundromat. They spent all day Friday washing and drying all their clothes at the Leavitt’s Laundromat and to air out their wet camp tents on the property behind the building.
Harker talked more about what her coalition does. “We work with what are often referred to as at-risk or low-income teens, help them build positive work ethics, resume building and interviewing skills, seek to find opportunities within post-secondary education and helping them know that there is more out there than just the basics. We want to help them find something higher than entry-levels jobs.”
Normally the group makes their college education fact-finding trip in May or June, but Harker said this year it was necessary to move the trip back to late July.
Gonzales said the youth program is known primarily “by word of mouth or school guidance counselors in southern Nevada, friends and family and networking among the students, plus a published newsletter available to the public.”
Both Gonzales and Harker said how much they enjoyed the Alamo area and the hospitality of the people. “Nice, friendly and not rushed.”