YMCA swimming programs offer a mix of fun, physical activity and safety

Published 7:05 am Friday, May 24, 2013


Special to The Post-Searchlight

As the swimming season approaches, the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA encourages children and parents in Bainbridge and Decatur County to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind.

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In the Y’s swim programs, participants can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives.

“Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity for children and adults alike, and it’s an easy way to stay physically active and improve strength, flexibility and stamina,” said Kathy Bell, fitness director at the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. “The Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA is committed to providing as many opportunities as possible for everyone to swim and learn water safety practices.”

As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA recommends children and adults practice the following safety tips when in and around the water:

• Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.

• Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.

• Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

• Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.

• Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Only 19 percent of U.S. children get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, according to the latest findings of the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot — a survey that gauges children’s activity levels during the school year.

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.

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 26 years. The Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA continues 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 swimming lessons (starting at 6 months to adults), private swim lessons, and swim team. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need.

The Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA will be offering the following sessions during the summer months: June 3 through June 28, and July 8 through August 2.

The swim lesson fees range from $25 per session for YMCA members and $45 per session for non-members. The YMCA offers weekday morning and evening lessons and classes meet twice a week for four weeks.

If swimmers can’t attend any of the summer sessions, the YMCA offers swim lessons year around. To learn more about the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA’s swim programs, contact the YMCA at (229) 243-0508.