YMCA Encourages Water Safety Through Swim Programs

The Greater Scranton YMCA wants to ensure that water safety doesn’t get lost in our community’s eagerness to return to a “normal” summer. As temperatures rise, kids want to cool off, whether that is in home pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, or oceans. And that means the risk of drowning is as prevalent as ever.  

 “As ‘America’s Swim Instructor,’ the Greater Scranton YMCA typically teaches 1,500 children invaluable water safety and swimming skills each year.

Last year, though due to COVID-19 precautions, we saw that number dip and want to remind parents and caregivers that it’s more important than ever to keep water safety top of mind as families start to return to their usual summer routines,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. 

The Greater Scranton YMCA is encouraging parents to play an active role in promoting water safety and providing five tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.

1. Never swim alone or without a water watcher. When children are swimming, make sure they are actively supervised at all times. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty, or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.

2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.

3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.

4. Wear a life jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

To learn more about the Greater Scranton YMCA’s swim programs, including the upcoming Annual Safe Around Water Campaign sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Scranton, please contact Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, at (570) 828-3112 or kbrewster@greaterscrantonymca.org. 

YMCA’s Harry P. McGrath Memorial Golf Tournament Set for May 21st

The Greater Scranton YMCA’s second Annual Harry P. McGrath Memorial Golf Tournament & Dinner Celebration will take place Friday, May 21 at Glen Oak Country Club.

While the golf portion of the day is sold out (interested golfers can be added to a waiting list), the evening portion of the event is open to everyone, not just golfers, and dinner tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Following the completion of the golf tournament, the evening celebration will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. and the dinner/program at 7:30. 

Harry McGrath was a proud member of the Greater Scranton YMCA. He specialized in education law, advocating for the rights of all students, particularly those with special needs. It became his passion to improve the quality of education for children living in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Proceeds from the tournament will support the Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program, a six-week program serving rising first and second grade students who are struggling with reading and are attending the Dunmore and Mid Valley School Districts.

“Our dad worked tirelessly so that children in this area had the necessary tools to succeed in school,” said Betsy McGrath Ardizoni, event coordinator and Greater Scranton YMCA board member. “The Summer Learning Loss Prevention program is consistent with his goal of using his legal career to positively impact the lives of the children he was privileged to represent, and our family is humbled and grateful to honor his legacy through a program he would undoubtedly support.”

Committed sponsors thus far include:

· Gold Sponsors: Highmark Health; Universal Printing Company LLC

· Silver Sponsors: Jen Ricci State Farm; Haggerty, McGrath, Collins, O’Rourke and James Families

· 19th Hole Sponsors: The Perry Law Firm; J. Conrad Bosley Appraisal Services; Alliance Wealth Advisors LLC; Fellerman & Ciarimboli 

·Backpack Sponsors: Vanston & James Funeral Home; Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates, PC; Topp Business Solutions; P&W/Washo, Inc.; DePietro’s Pharmacy; NET Credit Union

·Additional Sponsors: Frank O’Neill Law Office; The Wood Grille; Helbig Meditation and Arbitration; Malone and Rosetti Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Timothy and Janet Brier; Joanne Cantafio & Family in Memory of Anthony “Taps” Cantafio; Pat and Christine Philbin; PNC Bank; University of Scranton Athletics; Dick and Richard Conaboy; Maloney Law, P.C.; Northeastern Envelope Company, Inc.; Thomas Lyons and Mesko Glass and Mirror

For more information about the tournament, visit the Greater Scranton YMCA’s website or contact Betsy at (570) 768-6118.

QUEST and Summer Scholars Programs at YMCA

Kids from low-income families often start school unprepared. Despite progressing at the same rates during the school year, gaps widen each summer and students fall further behind their peers. The gap culminates in low high school graduation and college attainment rates, limited job prospects and negative economic impact. This gap is referred to as the Achievement Gap, or Summer Slide.

Now, perhaps more than ever before, providing children with learning opportunities over the summer months is crucial to their educational success. Through the Greater Scranton YMCA’s summer learning loss prevention programs, QUEST and Summer Scholars, the Y makes a profound impact in combating the achievement gap. These programs allow the Y to provide children with the tools and resources they need to succeed at the start of their next school year.

QUEST is a learning program integrated into our summer day camp. The program serves all campers in kindergarten through eighth grades and is offered at no additional cost. QUEST is held four days per week. Weeks one and two include pre-testing, weeks two through nine are program weeks and week ten includes post-testing. During each of the four days per week the program is held, children filter through different subjects, like math, literacy, geography and sign language.

Summer Scholars is a free research-based and research-proven six-week summer learning program with a goal to get elementary students on track to read at or above grade level by the start of their next school year. In some cases, participants will have the opportunity to exceed grade level expectations. In summer 2021, the program will serve rising first and second grade students attending the Mid Valley and Dunmore School Districts. Breakfast and lunch, as well as transportation at the Mid Valley School District, are provided. Since the program began in 2016, more than 125 students have been served.

Summer Scholars participants’ days consist of 2.5 hours of literacy in the morning followed by lunch and enrichment in the afternoon. Enrichment activities include field trips (dependent upon COVID-19 regulations), as well as trips to the Greater Scranton YMCA for use of the pools. The program is instructed by certified teachers, as well as Y staff. The program will be held from 8:00am – 3:00pm on Mondays through Thursdays beginning July 5th and running through August 12th. 

To learn more about summer learning loss prevention at the Greater Scranton YMCA, contact Trish at tfisher@greaterscrantonymca.org or (570) 828-3130.