Detroit/ Community & Society
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Published on May 23, 2024
Free Swimming Safety Classes for Kids Launch in Ann Arbor, Pinckney, and YpsilantiSource: Brisbane City Council, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summer is nearly here, and with it comes a wave of opportunities for youngsters to stay cool and learn essential skills. The Ann Arbor YMCA is offering free Safety Around Water (SAW) classes for kids aged 3 to 12, a program that aims to teach babes and young'uns alike the ability to swim properly and to understand water safety, whether at the beach, pool, or water park. This series of classes includes boating safety and different swimming strokes and is set to take place across Ann Arbor, Pinckney, and Ypsilanti locations.

Parents can currently sign up their children for these life-saving classes. The YMCA Camp Birkett in Pinckney is slated to cover classes focusing specifically on lakefront swimming and boating safety. According to ClickOnDetroit, Ann Arbor YMCA President and CEO James Highsmith expressed that the initiative's goal is to "eliminate barriers and offer free water-safety skills that allow for parents and children to feel more confident and comfortable around water."

Meanwhile, as reported by MLive, the Safety Around Water Program is supported by McKinley Properties and the Dick Beedon Memorial Fund. The program partners with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess the impact of the free lessons, offering parents a financially viable way to equip their children with key life skills.

In a related effort to tackle the high drowning rates that disproportionately affect low-income families and children of color, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks has launched registration for its free swim lesson initiative. As WXYZ reports, statistics indicate a stark drowning disparity, with Black children between the ages of 5-19 being 5 1/2 times more likely to die from drowning compared to their counterparts. The free swim lessons are part of the Metroparks' "Everyone in the Pool" initiative, aiming to easily provide at least 6,000 swim lessons by 2028 to children in Southeast Michigan.

These community-driven programs not only emphasize the importance of water competency but also work to inclusively extend these critical services to all families, regardless of socioeconomic barriers. For interested participants, registration details for the SAW classes and Metroparks lessons can be found on their respective websites, with classes set to begin as early as June. With summer on the horizon, these programs are poised to make a splash in the lives of many, offering more than just a reprieve from the heat but a chance at life-saving education.