Two children swimming and smiling

Summer is coming and with it, warmer temperatures, which often means increased exposure to water.  Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 5-14 in the United States.  Because of that, Washington Local School District partnered with the YMCA to provide 8 swim skill instruction classes to all district 2nd graders this year. The result has been even better than imagined.

Almost 500 children will be safer this summer, thanks to incredible instruction by YMCA leaders, who taught our students not only how to kick and paddle, but also how to flip over to their backs and float, in the event of a water emergency.  Students learned NOT to jump in to help friends who might be struggling in water, what to do if they themselves fall in to a body of water and even how to remain calm and blow bubbles if they go underneath the surface.

"For us to see our students who have never encountered water, who are afraid of the water, to overcome that fear and to have such joy in playing and learning and being around all their friends and peers, has been a really wonderful experience for our whole district," Meadowvale Principal, Melissa Hall said.

Thomas, who is the son of 5th grade WLS teacher Colleen Aiken, said the class taught him how to get in and out of the water, as well as tread water in the event of an emergency.

This program has been life-saving in we may not know until the future, and WLS is so grateful for the opportunity to provide it!