YMCA of Douglas County to offer free youth water safety lessons

Douglas County YMCA in Roseburg (SBG photo)

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The YMCA of Douglas County is currently accepting registration for a free two-week Safety Around Water program for youth ages 5 – 16 who are non-swimmers or beginners.

This program, which begins June 18, is made possible by a grant from the YMCA of the USA. Spaces in this free program are limited, and pre-registration is required.

YMCA Safety Around Water is designed to engage and educate youth and their parents about the importance of water safety skills and provide more of America’s youth access to water safety lessons.

According to a 2017 national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation with the University of Memphis and University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 64 percent of African American children cannot swim, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of Caucasian children. Additionally, 79 percent of children in families with household income less than $50,000 have no or low swimming ability.

During the eight-day course, children will learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations—from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge—to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.

"The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons in 1909. Now, each year in more than 2,000 pools across the country, the Y teaches more than a million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills," organizers said. "Here in Roseburg, the Y teaches over 1100 children water safety and swimming each year. Through Safety Around Water, the Y hopes to further bridge cultural and access gaps that can prevent some children from learning important water safety skills."

Families interested in learning more about Safety Around Water and how to enroll their child in local Y swimming and water safety classes should visit the Y at 1151 NW Stewart Parkway, Roseburg, or by calling 541-440-YMCA.

Spaces in this free program are limited, but financial assistance is available for swim lessons year-round.

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