Valley of the Sun YMCA will provide 1,000 free swim lessons the week of May 17-21. Registration opened today on a first-come, first-served basis. You must register in-person at a local YMCA branch.
The free swim lessons, offered in partnership with Salt River Project, are part of the Y’s Safety Around Water program, which is designed to teach non-swimmers survival skills and engage and educate parents about the importance of water safety skills. May is National Water Safety Month.
Lessons are open to non-swimmers ages 6 months to adult.
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children 0 to 4 years old and is the second leading cause of accidental death for children from 5 to 14 years old. Over the last three years in Maricopa and Pinal counties alone, 36 children under the age of 5 were involved in a fatal water-related incident. Research shows that participation in formal water safety and swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children by as much as 88 percent.
In addition to offering free swim lessons, the YMCA will be distributing 13,000 Water Watcher tags (in English and Spanish) at local schools, partner organizations and YMCA branches to increase water safety awareness .
“It’s up to each and every one of us to educate our families and friends on how to prevent drownings, before anyone even gets in the pool or around any body of water,” said Regina Lane Haycock, SRP senior Community Engagement strategist, in a statement. “It is our hope that responsible, designated adults will commit to maintain direct, visual contact with children or adults around water and make it a habit to use SRP’s free Water Watcher tags.”
Valley of the Sun YMCA is one of the largest human service nonprofit organizations in Arizona. It offers more than 250 programs and 26 social services at communities in Maricopa County, Yuma, Flagstaff and Prescott. To find a YMCA branch near you, visit valleyymca.org.