2012 – 2013 Learn to Swim

Sponsored by:

Wood River Community YMCA

Project Champion:

Mike Wolter

What are the appropriate grade levels:

3 to 12

Is there a limit to the number of participants:


Is there an opportunity for community service:

Yes – 1 to 10 hours

Is this a new or existing project:

This is an existing project.

Estimated project cost:




Idaho ranks 3rd in the nation for drowning rates; drowning is the second leading cause of death in the United States for children between the ages of 2 and 14. To combat this statistic, the Y is partnered with USA Swimming and local school’s physical education classes to create the 6-week Learn-to-Swim program with the 3rd graders of Blaine County. The goals are to teach water safety and develop individual skills among the children. In 2010, the first year of the program, initial assessments of the 74 kids participating showed that 25% had never been in a pool, 14% were beginner swimmers, 27% were intermediate, and 34% were advanced. Of the entire group, 32% were Hispanic. At the end of the weekly lessons, 22% had moved to intermediate, 23% to advanced, and 55% were considered ?swim team ready.?

Overall the Y offers programming to individuals of all ages focused on the Y’s three primary areas of focus: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Every program emphasizes the Y’s four core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.

Together, the Blaine County schools and the Wood River YMCA in partnership with USA Swimming/Y USA can make a commitment to teach all children to swim and be safe in and around the water. Learn-to-Swim is a proactive approach to teaching basic swimming and safety skills to our youth and will offer hands-on fun for all 3rd graders in Blaine County. Our hope is for all children attending local schools to receive six, forty-five minute swim lessons. These lessons will be taught by experienced and certified instructors, with no more than a 6 to 1 student to instructor ratio to ensure that the children will learn important skills while receiving time and support necessary to be successful.

Program Goals:

Safety Goals ? 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.

Values and Mission Goals ? All children will be introduced to the YMCA values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility through interactive games and activities.

Individual Skills Development ? All curricula are based upon the YMCA and the American Red Cross swimming lessons.

Assess Efficacy of Program ? using pre- and post-tests to assess student progress in all of the above as well as the following: overall swimming skills, breath control, treading water, float/kick, and returning to wall/shore.

Project Images

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Classrooms who have adopted this project

Hemingway Elementary
Tracy Atwell, Gina Cey, Rita Remington and Lydia Flynn
69 students