Press release from the YMCA of Western North Carolina:
When it comes to teaching kids to be safe around water, you can’t underestimate the fear factor. Take 5-year-old Waylon, who barely put one toe in the pool during his first swim lesson and didn’t speak until his third. As his YMCA Safety Around Water sessions continued, however, Waylon became more comfortable with the water, his classmates, and the instructor. His mother was so impressed with his progress she signed him up for more lessons.
Waylon now loves to swim and even stays after class to play with his new friends. Waylon’s story is important not only because he gained lifesaving skills in his Safety Around Water classes, but also because the class helped him face his fears. At the Y, he built a foundation of self-confidence that enabled him to be more outgoing.
During National Water Safety Month (and throughout the year), the YMCA of Western North Carolina offers Safety Around Water, a free program designed to engage and educate parents about the importance of water safety skills and provide more of America’s youth access to water safety lessons.
The program also encourages parents and caregivers to help their children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills. During the eight-day course, children learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations, from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.
“For generations staying safe around water meant keeping kids away from water, but it’s time to start a new family tradition by learning basic water safety skills,” said Jessica Hendrix, executive director of the Asheville Y. “Safety Around Water is a great starting point to not only get kids comfortable in the water, but also teach their parents the importance of developing water safety skills.”
The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons in 1909. Now, each year in more than 2,000 pools across the country, the Y teaches more than a million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills. Through Safety Around Water, the Y hopes to further bridge cultural and access gaps that can prevent some children from learning important water safety skills.
To learn more about Safety Around Water and how to enroll in local Y swimming and water safety classes, visit ymcawnc.org/programs/swimming.