Free Swimming Lessons for Your Kids at YMCA! Here’s the Scoop.
Summertime fun often includes time in the water, whether in the privacy of a backyard pool or at a bustling beach bathed in brilliant sunshine. Cooling off in water is a favorite summer activity but it also comes with its own risks: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that an average of 10 people die from drowning every day, two of them being children under the age of 15. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children, according to the National Safety Council.
The importance of swimming lessons is undeniable but the cost can be steep: up to $40 per lesson, and becoming a proficient swimmer usually requires multiple lessons. Lindsay Mondick, senior manager of aquatics at YMCA of the USA, says that seventy-nine percent of children in families with $50,000 or less in annual household income have little or no ability to swim.
Given that swimming lessons can be life saving, the YMCA is providing funding for 33,000 children to join Safety Around Water programs at no cost. The YMCA program instructs children on the importance of water safety skills while also offering basic swimming instruction. Typically consisting of eight 40-minute sessions, the program features instructors who work with children to increase their confidence in the water and enhance their ability to maneuver in water should they find themselves accidentally submerged. Techniques include propelling themselves from a pool bottom back to the surface, treading water, and floating on their backs. In addition, students learn what steps to take if they see someone in the water who is drowning or needs help.
Approximately 1,200 YMCA branches in the U.S. offer the Safety Around Water Program and classes are appropriate, on average, for beginning swimmers from ages three through 12. You can check your local YMCA branch to find out if this free program is offered in your area. Some YMCA locations offer free lessons to children living under a certain income level or those who reside in a specific school district or zip code; registration for lessons might be capped. For more advanced swimming instruction, the YMCA offers paid classes that address more than basic water survival skills. Although class prices vary by location, YMCA costs are generally lower than those associated with hiring a private swimming instructor or enrolling your child in a for-profit swim school.