This year, during spring break (Monday to Friday, March 15-19), area YMCAs will offer free water safety and swimming lessons for children ages 3 to 12. Children can be beginners or nonswimmers. Membership in the YMCA is not required. However, due to limited space, preregistration is required.
Locally, the classes will be offered at the North Brandon Y, Campo Y, Spurlino Y and YMCA Camp Cristina.
During the four-day course, certified instructors teach children a set of skills that are designed to reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around water. Participants must be present on the first day of class and bring their own swimsuits and towels.
Amanda Walker, the Tampa YMCA aquatics executive director, said, “This program will work with beginners and nonswimmers. When they register, they register for all four days, and it will focus on basic water safety skills like learning to back float and learning to submerge comfortably.”
Walker added, “The focus of this program is really skills that could save a child’s life if they were to get into a situation in or around the water in which they needed to get to safety as easily as possible. Teaching them to back float and keep their face out of the water until help arrives or teaching them to swim, float, swim—which is rolling from back to front to swim, and then roll over on their back and take a break, and then go back on their bellies to swim until they can reach safety—are all really important life skills that our Safety Around Water program will focus on.”
The Safety Around Water program is a community outreach program that focuses on teaching children how to be safe in and around the water, particularly for youth from underserved communities who might not otherwise have access to swim lessons.
Walker said, “The goal is to take away any of the barriers for why parents may not be putting their children into swim lessons. We want to make it as easy as possible to register. We want to make plenty of times available to work around parents’ schedules. The program is free, so even the financial barrier is removed for that week. This way we can enroll as many children as possible and help teach them some really important life skills.”
For more information and to enroll, please visit www.tampaymca.org or call the Y nearest you or visit the Y in person.