YMCA Water Safety Week

This post is sponsored by YMCA of Greenville.

The lazy days of summer are right around the corner. That means lots of time at the neighborhood pool, heading to the beach, or checking out local swimming holes. But as a parent, the fun times around water are a little more stressful because accidents in the water are more common than need to be.

The YMCA of Greenville is offering a week of free swimming and water safety classes over spring break to help kids learn to swim and be more comfortable in the water. Water Safety Week, which runs April 15-19, 2019, also teaches parents what to do to prevent drowning accidents and how to keep a careful eye on the little ones around water.

Spaces are limited for the free classes so be sure to register online. You don’t even have to be a member of the YMCA.

Kidding Around Greenville got the opportunity to speak to Tim Rhymer, Caine Halter Family YMCA Aquatics Director, on Water Safety Week and why it is so important. Tim knows the value of learning about water safety. When he was 18 years old, he had to be pulled from the ocean by a lifeguard. He went through YMCA training to become a certified lifeguard and then went on to teach water safety in order to give kids and parents the lifesaving skills he did not have on that trip to the ocean.

Kidding Around Greenville: Can you tell me a little bit about how Water Safety Week came about?

Tim Rhymer: Water Safety Week came about from a want and need to have a larger impact in the community. The YMCA of Greenville took its commitment to drowning prevention to Upstate Pool Management and together we created a free program to lower the drowning rates in Greenville County and offer water safety skills to everyone.

KAG: Why is water safety so important?

TR: Water is something that is enjoyed by people from diverse backgrounds, all around the world, but without proper safety education it can quickly change your life. Did you know it takes only 10 seconds or less to slip under the water surface out of a lifeguard’s view? This is why it is important to have a strong understanding of water safety and incorporate it into your household. Water safety is a set of skills that everyone should learn and understand as anyone, no matter their background in swimming, is at risk of drowning.

KAG: What age is appropriate to start teaching kids about water safety?

TR: Water safety should begin as early as 6 months old. However, it is never too late to start talking about water safety.

KAG: What is the YMCA offering during Water Safety Week that our readers can take advantage of?

TR: The YMCA of Greenville uses Y USA’s new Safety Around Water program that teaches benchmark skills to parents and children. The skills stress safety that prevents drowning emergencies from happening in all aquatic areas. We will be teaching other skills as well such as, boating safety, life jacket safety, CPR and basic swimming skills.

KAG: Will Water Safety Week also give parents tips on how to keep their kids safe around water and what to do/not to do?

TR: This year we will have a Parent/Caregiver education presentation given each day and it will discuss parental safety skills as well as how to continue the education. Part of the education for parents includes why children should ask permission before entering the water and what that means for the parent. Anytime anyone is in the water, especially a child, there should a “Designated Water Watcher” even when there is a lifeguard at the facility. Parents should never become distracted from watching their kids, especially by phones because anyone can enter a drowning situation no matter what their background is in swimming.

KAG: Who teaches classes for Water Safety Week at the Y?

TR: We have certified and experienced YMCA swim instructors in the water teaching the kids side by side with volunteers from the community. This is a great way to get involved and learn more about the program.

KAG: Will parents have the opportunity to register their kids for further swimming lessons at the Y after Water Safety Week?

TR: The YMCA of Greenville offers swimming lesson all year round for all ages (6 months-adults) and all swimming backgrounds (beginners-advanced). We also have an open doors policy, which means that we turn no one away for the inability to pay. Through the YMCA of Greenville’s scholarship program, we offer partial scholarships in membership which does allow scholarships for programming, such as swimming lessons and youth sports.

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