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Dive In To Swim

in Our Storybook
posted by: Tammy Bowman
Last Updated: 14 February 2019

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“We’re not just teaching you ‘How to swim,’ we’re teaching you ‘How NOT to drown.” The lifeguard’s introduction to new students at Brown Pool in Pendleton is a powerful reality check for children and their guardians, underscoring the importance of Dive In To Swim.

Dive In To Swim helps children ages 4-13 experience the joy of being in the water while learning tips and techniques to save themselves and others from tragedy. Techniques like how to turn on to your back to rest and how to safely reach for someone in the water when you’re trying to rescue them. Tips like not swimming alone or not jumping into a body of water unless you know how deep the water really is.

Parents who never learned to swim aren’t equipped to teach their children to swim and may not be able to save them from danger in the water. One participant’s mother shared her fears with pool staff before lessons began. A non-swimmer herself, she was concerned about a pond on their property that her child was curious about exploring. By the end of Dive In To Swim, the child was swimming the length of Brown Pool, and understands where and how to swim safely.

Dive In To Swim employs certified swim instructors who have mastered methods of teaching inexperienced children and testing each student’s new skills. Ten high school and college age instructors were teachers, but in some respects, they were students, too. Instructors learned how to gain and hold the attention of young students, how to plan lessons and make modifications for different abilities. Some plan careers in teaching, others in emergency medicine. All now have skills to use in their next job.

Most of the newly-proficient swimmers continued to visit the pool to enjoy the new experience of having fun and being confident around water. Parents could relax knowing that their children had the skills to be safe and enjoy a big part of what summer is all about.

With a mission to “provide financial resources to organizations for projects that improve the lives of individuals and families in our communities,” members of the Open Hearts, Open Purses women’s giving circle supported Dive In To Swim with a $10,000 grant. Recognizing water safety as a necessary life skill that everyone should have, the grant offset the costs of swim instruction in the 2017 and 2018 pool seasons for any children whose families were unable to pay standard rates.

Open Hearts, Open Purses awards a $10,000 grant each June to a worthwhile community cause. Memberships in Open Hearts, Open Purses are $100, and allow each member the opportunity to vote for the winner of that year’s $10,000 grant.

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