Valley of the Sun YMCA kicks off water safety program SanTan Sun News

Valley of the Sun YMCA kicks off water safety program

June 3rd, 2017 | by SanTan Sun News
Valley of the Sun YMCA kicks off water safety program
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By SanTan Sun News Staff

The Valley of the Sun YMCA in Chandler and around Maricopa County is boosting its efforts to keep children safe in and around water.

The organization, along with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix Fire Department and Salt River Project (SRP) announced at a special event on May 23 the start of Safety Around Water, a program that shows parents, caregivers and children the importance of water safety skills. The program, which officials talked about at the Maryvale Family YMCA in Phoenix, gives Arizona residents access to water safety lessons.

Announced as part of National Water Safety Month, which was in May, the program tries to teach youths the importance of being safe when they’re in or near water with an emphasis on reaching adults who don’t know how to swim as well as African-American and Hispanic/Latino communities. The risk of drowning among children is highest among such communities, a YMCA press release said.

The Y’s Safety Around Water program kicked off with the Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA and the other Valley YMCA branch swimming pools opening prior to Memorial Day. Besides the Chandler/Gilbert branch, the YMCA also has other East Valley branches; two are in Mesa and one is in Tempe.

“Nationally, the YMCA is known as ‘America’s Swim Instructor’ and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning,” Valley of the Sun YMCA CEO Bryan Madden said. “With the launch of our Safety Around Water program, the Valley of the Sun YMCA now has the ability to better teach Arizonans swimming as a survival skill.”

Parents and caregivers can use the program to help their kids learn important water safety and swimming skills. Children will know how to reach the water’s surface if they are submerged, safely get to the pool’s edge and exit any type of water, as well as react to unplanned water situations when they learn the lessons, the Y said.

Statistics show most drowning deaths take place between June and Labor Day.

The Valley of the Sun Y is also going to have two lifeguards on duty at all its pools during regular operating hours. Besides the new program, the Y has released its new National Swim Lesson Curriculum. The latest advancement of Valley YMCA swim lessons will better help people the Y serves and meet the needs of students of various abilities to develop a sense of achievement as they improve between levels. With this method, advanced swimmers can more easily move to higher levels, while swimmers who need more assistance can learn at their own pace.

The Valley of the Sun YMCA is one of the biggest human service nonprofit organizations in the state. The Y serves communities in Maricopa County, Pinal County, Flagstaff, Prescott and Yuma, providing more than 250 programs and 26 social services at its locations around the state.

The Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA is located at 1655 W. Frye Road in Chandler. To learn more about this branch, visit valleyymca.org/chandler-gilbert. To learn more about the Y’s Safety Around Water program, visit valleyymca.org.

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