Dream Big – Every Child a Swimmer

The goal – Every child safe, every child a swimmer

Yes, you  read that right: Every child in Tucson and Pima County a swimmer and safe in the water. The goal is high, but important, and the YMCA of Southern Arizona along with partners TMC for Children, Safe Kids Tucson, the Margaret E. Mooney Foundation, the Tucson Conquistadores, Wells Fargo, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona are off to a splashing good start.

Last year, YMCA piloted a program serving kids in the second grade.  This dove-tailed with Safe Kids Tucson and TMC’s Children’s Water Safety program, Water Safety is For You. Based on last year’s feedback and experience, the YMCA formulated a slightly revised and more ambitious program in 2012, All Kids Swim.

All Kids Swim expanded the age limits to attract and serve more children, reached out to more families, downsized the numbers of pool locations to control costs, and adapted the program for use in the summer day camp programs.

The All Kids Swim program has helped my child build confidence in the water.  His instructor has been patient and kind and I could not be more pleased with his progress.  Thanks again.

Kerry Dufour, Chief Development Officer for the YMCA of Southern Arizona, explains why this is so important to the YMCA.

The Y has been teaching children to swim for nearly 100 years.  It’s a big part of what we do.  The program is a perfect fit within the Y’s three focus areas:  Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.   Youth learn valuable water safety and swim skills that teach self confidence, even life-saving skills.   Swimming is a great way for anyone to enjoy exercise and build long-term habits for a healthy active life.  Finally, it’s simply just the right thing to do.   Every year ten or twelve families experience a drowning or near drowning.  The Y has a tremendous impact teaching kids to swim.

1,722 children took part in this year’s All Kid Swim.  YMCA of Southern Arizona’s President/CEO Dane Woll, is pleased with the 2012 outcomes, “If you combine the numbers of children served through All Kids Swim with the number of children the Y teaches to swim each year, this (5,000) is probably the most kids the Y has taught to swim in any given year!”

Kerry continues, “The big picture goal is that every child in Tucson and Pima County learn to swim.  The Y doesn’t have sufficient resources, but together with other partners—certainly TMC for Children, the Safe Kids Tucson Coalition, and the city and county—Pima County could be void of drownings and near drownings next summer.”

Swimming classes are paramount, but so also are basic safety measures around pools and hot tubs. Yomy Diaz, Safe Kids Tucson, shares a fabulous new resource available to those with backyard pools and spas.  Safe Kids Tucson volunteers will check your home’s pool and/or spa environment and provide safety improvement recommendations associated with supervision, barriers, entrapment devices and learning water safety skills – layers of protection that may help save a child’s life. Find more information regarding this residential pool safety resource here.

The feedback from this year’s All Kids Swim program has been overwhelmingly positive, evidenced by the parent evaluations.

Thank you so much for this program.  The very first day my daughter was so uncertain and scared that I had to sit the entire class next to the pool.  I honestly didn’t think she was going to make it through.  Each day she grew more and more confident.  By the end of the first week she didn’t even glance at me.  She was OK and comfortable.  By the end of the second week she was jumping off a diving board!    After only 2 weeks of those lessons she is diving under water to grab rings.  She is floating on her back; she is swimming.  This program DID make a difference.  I truly believe that it will save children’s lives.    Thank you, Sara

This program has been amazing in building my son’s confidence in the water.  He now loves to be in the water.  The instructors are awesome!

We are incredibly happy and impressed with the quality of instructors and instruction.

This program is AWESOME.  My son was terrified of water, and now he is much more confident and secure.  Thank you!

I am the grandmother from South Africa (visitor) and a former swimmer.  From day one I observed a well founded training method of instruction that works.  Congratulations!

Kerry shares, “Of course, we also hope the community will continue its very generous support to help the Y offer even more kids life-saving opportunities.   Our funding partners – TMC for Children, the Margaret E. Mooney Foundation, the Tucson Conquistadores, Wells Fargo, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona – have been absolutely great this year.”