YMCA Will Give Free Swim Lessons to NCSD 3rd Graders
The YMCA of Natrona County is offering free swim lessons to 3rd graders in the Natrona County School District.
That's according to a press release from the Y, who stated that they have partnered with the NCSD, and Journey Elementary School, to provide this free service.
- "Students from Journey have been visiting the YMCA twice a week to engage in Safety Around Water swim lessons," the release stated. "The students’ participation in the SPLASH! Program aligns with the P.E. curriculum, and students are transported to the Y along with school personnel."
The skills that are being taught to these kiddos include how to enter and exit the water, how to wear a life jacket, and even how to respond to a friend falling into the water.
YMCA Swim Instructors also teach students 'Benchmark Skills,' such as Jump-Push-Turn-Grab, which provides students with a guideline on how to exit a swimming pool by pushing off the bottom, grabbing the wall, and climbing out.
"As the Y prepared to open new swimming pools as part of the Phase II expansion, dozens of members and community residents came forward who had a story to tell about their time in the water," the release stated.
Those stories varied from person to person, but shared the same theme, which was how important the Y pool was to them when they were children. Some of these stories include:
- “Back in the 60’s I learned to swim in that pool.”
- “I remember shivering on the side of that pool with my brother, taking swim lessons.”
- “I learned to swim in the old pool, and I watched my kids learn to swim there too."
- "Now I’m watching my grandkids learn to swim in the new pool and it’s so neat to think that their children will learn to swim here too.”
Each one of these stories demonstrate the pivotal role the YMCA's swimming pool has played in the lives of countless people.
"60 years of teaching children to swim at the Casper Family YMCA has left quite a legacy on our community," the release noted. "YMCAs across the nation teach over 1,000,000 kids lifesaving swim lessons each year. Statistics show that drowning deaths are the 3rd leading cause of death for children under the age of 19."
In fact, the release stated, children are more likely to drown in open water the older they get, due to their curiosity and adventurous spirit when it comes to exploring ponds, rivers, lakes, and more.
"Wyoming is full of open water opportunities, and our children remain at high risk for deaths from accidental drownings," the release said.
Drowning deaths are preventable and the Y wrote that teaching children basic swimming skills at an early age can prevent drownings.
"As we planned for the future of our pools, our staff and board of directors pondered the question: What if we could teach every child in Natrona County to swim?" the release stated. "Over the past couple of years, we have been working to meet that goal by developing the SPLASH! program."
The SPLASH! program was designed to be a brief series of swim lessons, both in the class room and in the water, utilizing the YMCA Safety Around Water curriculum.
These lessons teach basic water safety and self-rescue skills but, and this may be the most important part, they also build self-esteem and help these kiddos gain independence.
“Water safety is one of the most important skills that we can teach our children," said Aquatics Director Stephanie Clark-Sleep. "After just 3 weeks of SPLASH! We are already seeing increased confidence in our participants.”
Following Journey's example, the YMCA currently has 5 additional schools lined up to participate in the SPLASH! program, with an estimated 300 students receiving the free lessons throughout the fall and spring.
Following their completion of the lessons, students will receive a certificate of completion. They will also be encouraged to continue developing their swimming schools through subsequent YMCA lessons, or via other avenues.
"The YMCA teaches all ages of kids to swim, from babies in a parent-child class to older children and even adults," the release stated. "Swimming lessons are offered year-round and at various times to accommodate families’ busy schedules. As with any program or membership, the YMCA offers financial assistance for swimming lessons and wants to ensure that all who need services can receive them."