YMCA swim lessons lead to safer summers

By Leslie C. Ferguson

There is no doubt in our minds that summer is here!  It came in with a bang and has not let up.  The temps in and around Trenton have been as high a 100 degrees, and that was just June.

With the lazy days of summer, comes the desire and necessity of trying to stay cool.  People seek out watering holes, swimming pools, and cool creeks to lower body temperatures and have a little fun.

Sometimes, more often than not, safety isn’t on the forefront when looking for a place to swim, relax or escape the heat. Drowning is the second leading cause of death among children ages 5-14 years old with children from minority communities at the greatest risk.  Eighty-eight percent of drowning does occur while children are under adult supervision, and 60 percent of children who drown do so within 10 feet of safety.

The Northwest Gibson County YMCA wants to make sure no one in our community or others are a statistic.  They are working diligently to lower those percentages.

The Y is “America’s Swim Instructor” and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. They introduced the country to the concept of group swim lessons more than 100 years ago, (1909), and each year, the Y teaches more than a million children invaluable water safety and swimming skills.

They offer swimming lessons for their summer camp kids during camp and regular swim lessons are offered for non-members of all ages and skill levels.  The cost for camp kids is $15 (in addition to camp cost) and for non-members, it is $55.

According to NW Gibson Co. YMCA Director Melissa White, they also teach Safety Around Water to each one of their summer camp kids at no charge.  During Safety Around Water, children learn to be confident in the water and how to be safe in and around the water.  They learn what to do if they accidentally fall in the water.  They are also taught to never jump in if a friend is drowning. Instead, they are taught to “Reach, Throw, Don’t Go.”

Formal swim lessons such as those offered at the YMCA reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent For more information on swimming lessons and water safety please contact your local YMCA at (731) 470-4277 or visit www.ymcamemphis.org

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