As part of the YMCA’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from under-served communities in the Scranton & Wilkes-Barre regions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. Additionally nearly six out of 10 African American and Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts.
“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Diana Dempsey, Senior Aquatics Director, Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs. “The Y’s teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives it builds confidence.”
The Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 150 years. The Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs continue to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose, including swim lessons for all ages, family swim, competitive swimming, water aerobics and more.
In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing—skills that last a lifetime.