Kolton Johnson after 5 YMCA of Okanagan Swim Lessons

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When the weather heats up in the Okanagan, everyone wants to be in or around water. Whether it is spending time by the pool or taking a dip in the lake, being near water is a great way to beat the heat.

Unfortunately, water safety is not always top of mind. According to the 2018 Canadian Drowning Report—prepared by the Drowning Prevention Research Centre—67 per cent of drownings occurred from May to September, and 88 per cent of incidents of drowning in children were a result of absent or distracted supervision. 

Water safety became a top priority for one local mother when she realized surgery would leave her unable to assist her son if he was in distress in the water this summer.

Consequently, Amanda Johnson enrolled her son Kolton in private swim lessons at H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, proudly operated by the YMCA of Okanagan.

“We only had time for five lessons prior to my surgery,” said Amanda. “With such a short period, my only request was that Kolton could safely get to the side wall if he fell in.”

While being skeptical as to whether her request was achievable, Amanda’s expectations were surpassed. 

“Despite the limited number of lessons, Kolton can now confidently swim from one side of the pool to the other on his front and back, practice his breathing technique, and swim all the stokes he was taught by his YMCA swim instructor, Robert Goldberg,” Amanda explained. “I’m extremely grateful for the support and guidance my son received in YMCA swim lessons.”

Kolton’s swim instructor was also impressed by his confidence and ease in the water.

“Kolton was a quick learner and picked up the techniques in no time,” said Goldberg. “He is a really strong swimmer and is most confident swimming on his back. I was happy that Kolton is safe in the water, and Amanda doesn’t have to worry.”

It can be difficult to supervise your child at all times while they are in and around the water; however, equipping them with the tools to be water safe can make the world of difference in preventing an accidental drowning. 

When asked about water safety, Kolton offered this advice. “Do not go in the deep end unless an adult is with you,” explained Kolton. “It will keep you safe.”

For parents who are interested in swim lessons, or other children’s programs, the YMCA’s children and family program registration is now open to members and will open to the community on September 3. Swim lessons are included with every child membership, because the YMCA believes it is critical for 
everyone to learn about water safety and take preventative measures when near water.

This September, the Y is also holding a ‘first month free’ offer for anyone interested in joining one of their three centres of community — Kelowna Family Y, Downtown Y or the H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre. Please visit ymcaokangan.ca to view what programs are available this fall and contact 250-491-9622 or visit one of our three Y-operated facilities to register.