YMCA Success Story

YMCA swim lessons help combat drowning

The best part of the second-graders’ school day is when they get to go to the Richard Kane YMCA for swim lessons. They cannot wait to jump in the water and have some fun while learning crucial skills and water safety lessons.

“I finally learned how to float on my back,” one young student said. “. . . I loved to swim with the swimming noodle. It was the best.”

The YMCA recognizes that the students come with all different skill levels, so each student is tested, then placed in a class according to their ability. Second graders who do not own a swim suit are provided one at no charge.

“The partnership with the schools allows the YMCA to fill a gap in the school’s physical activity program,” BRUW Marketing Manager Abigail Singrey said.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death of young children, and the lack of opportunity for children in lower income families to learn water safety skills results in a disproportionate amount of deaths and injuries each year. The Richard Kane YMCA continues to work to address this important issues by offering youth swim lessons designed for beginner to advanced skilled swimmers. This past year, 465 kids had swimming lessons through the partnership with BPSD and another 427 kids took public swim lessons.

The YMCA, a United Way partner agency, launched the swim lessons partnership with the schools with the help of United Way funding during the 2014-2015 school year. The swimming lessons at the YMCA were offered free of charge to all second-graders at Osage Hills Elementary, Richard Kane Elementary School, Jane Phillips Elementary School, Wilson Elementary School, Wayside Elementary School, Hoover Elementary School and Ranch Heights Elementary School.

The Richard Kane YMCA receives critical United Way funding to allow them to provide swim lessons and football and cheerleading scholarships to low income youth. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community, and 38 percent of allocated dollars are devoted to health.

“Research shows the importance of an active lifestyle from an early age,” Singrey said. “By participating in the swimming lessons, children will have more possibilities open to them and may discover a love of water sports they didn’t know they had. They will also be able to safely participate in fun water recreational opportunities around our community. We are proud to partner with the Richard Kane YMCA on these lessons.”