As Pools and Parks Open, the YMCA of Metro North Wants Children to Know How to Stay Safe Around Water

YMCA Website to Provide Virtual Swim and Water Safety Tips as Spring Swim Classes Were Canceled Due to Coronavirus

With Memorial Day fast approaching, pools and swim areas will begin to open and the YMCA of Metro North has launched a water safety campaign, Water Smart is Water Safe, on its Virtual YMCA website. The virtual swim lessons feature instructional videos, swim safety tips, and downloadable content for youth and guardians to use in preparation for summer water activities.

“Although our facilities are closed, the need for life-saving swim skills remains a major public safety issue for youth and teens this summer,” says Rob Lowell, Executive Director, Torigian Family YMCA in Peabody, Mass. “We are offering this swim safety series free to everyone to hopefully fill the gap in swimming education due to the coronavirus lockdown this spring.”

The YMCA of Metro North provides swimming lessons to hundreds of young people each year as well as lifeguard training. While its pools have been closed, the Y has employed its swim instructors to develop a library of tools with video demonstrations and resources for young people, like how to identify a lifeguard, pool rules, swimming with life jackets, and more safety tips.

As part of the campaign, the Peabody Public Schools and the YMCA of Metro North will be hosting a region-wide water safety webinar on Friday, May 22nd at 5:00pm to introduce the Virtual YMCA to their students. The interactive webinar is designed to engage and educate both parents and children about the importance of water safety skills and provide local youth access to water safety best practices.

The YMCA of Metro North Safety Around Water partnership with the Peabody Public Schools began in 2019 with a grant which enabled them to provide every second-grade student a free, 7-week swim lesson. Transitioning the water safety curriculum to a digital format provides a valuable resource that seeks to prevent accidental drownings this summer.

“We know the risk of drowning or injury can be reduced by almost 90 percent if children participate in formal swim lessons by the age of 4,” says Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO of YMCA of Metro North. “We have to try everything we can to continue that public safety service.”

Last year the YMCA of Metro North provided life-saving swim lessons to over 4,000 children and adults at their pools in Lynn, Melrose, Saugus, and Peabody.  Generous scholarship and program support for our swimming programs are provided by the J.B. Thomas Lahey Fund, USA Swimming, and Autism Speaks.

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