YMCA Make-a-Splash

Sponsored by:

Wood River Community YMCA

Project Champion:

Mike Wolter

What are the appropriate grade levels?

2nd and 3rd grade

Is there a limit to the number of participants?


Is there an opportunity for community service?


Estimated project cost:



The second leading cause of death in the United States for children between the ages of 2 and 14 is drowning, and Idaho was recently ranked 3rd in the country.

Make-a-Splash is a proactive approach to teaching basic water and safety skills and offers hands-on fun for 2nd and 3rd graders. Children receive six, 45-minute sessions taught by experienced instructors and volunteers to ensure that children learn important skills while receiving time and support necessary to be successful. Skill focus is on a safety stroke known as the elementary backstroke delivering efficient movement with minimal exertion. The children learn to overcome water-related fears and respond appropriately in an emergency, whether self-rescue, recovering from a submerged or tipped raft, or helping a friend who fell in a body of water.


We live in a community with swimming pools, fast moving rivers, cold lakes and irrigation ditches, all of which are a dangerous attraction to youth. The Y is locally unique in its effort to offer free swim lessons to elementary students in any of the Blaine County schools.

Goals of the program include:

  • Safety – Each student will know what a PFD (personal flotation device) is and how to properly use it, how to rescue a person using a throwing and reaching assist, how to swim out of a current, where and when it is appropriate to swim, how to contact emergency services, how to safely dive and how to prevent water borne illnesses through personal hygiene. Depending on the size of the group, the Y also has the option of utilizing a rubber raft in the pool to demonstrate boat safety (works only with smaller groups of students).

  • Values and Mission – Introduction to the Y values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.
  • Individual Skills Development – All curricula are based upon the Y and the American Red Cross swimming lessons with a focus on learning elementary backstroke and water safety.
  • Assessment – using pre- and post-tests to assess student progress in all of the above as well as breath control, treading water, and returning to wall/shore.

Project Images

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