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Not every child knows how to swim.

Many children locally do not have the opportunity to participate in structured swim lessons. There are many reasons for this including whether it is seen as a valued life-skill in a household, whether parents themselves know how to swim or not, or for financial reasons; many local families simply cannot afford to enroll their children in lessons.

According to the Lifesaving Society, drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death in kids under 10 years old. All children are at risk of drowning without the proper education and exposure to instruction. In the Okanagan, with lakes, creeks and backyard pools, preventable water incidents occur each summer.

Drown-proofing the Okanagan

The YMCA Okanagan Swims program, funded by the Across the Lake Swim Society, provides free access to emergency water safety lessons, including transportation to and from school, for all third-grade children in School District 23.

Using the YMCA Swimming Lesson model, the program is made up of three 1 hour sessions. During each session, children receive 30 minutes of individual instruction based on their knowledge of water safety and 30 minutes of free time to explore and play in the pool.

Measuring the Impact

At the end of the program children are provided a certificate of completion which includes an individual assessment of that child’s YMCA swim level for future registration in a typical structured swim lesson.

The learning outcome of the Okanagan Swims program is very specific: introduce children to water safety and teach them the skills required to survive an unexpected fall into deep water.

To learn more about this program or future funding opportunities for growth, contact:

Randall Wight
250-491-9622 ext. 405

A young hero

At the age of 9, Alexis was already equipped with the knowledge and training she needed to rescue a child who had fallen into a backyard pool.