Preparing for a Safe Summer

Valdosta YMCA swim programs offer a mix of fun, physical activity and safety to create a lifelong love of swimming!

Drowning Is Preventable.
As the season turns from spring to summer, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Family YMCA encourages children and parents in Valdosta to explore the many benefits of swimming while also keeping safety in mind. In Y 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 through the Safety Around Water program!

Through the Safety Around Water program, the Y helps prevent drowning. Two children die every day as a result of drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4. It is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5-14. As an organization dedicated to creating safe spaces for all, the Y has an opportunity to make a difference.

Research has shown that participation in formal swimming instruction can prevent drowning. The Y is the nation’s leading provider of community-based swim lessons. The Y is one of the few organizations in the country positioned to bridge the gap between the delivery of swim lessons and water safety education in the United States. We can help kids and families learn to be safe in and around water.

What Is Safety Around Water?
Safety Around Water is for all children, but it especially targets underserved populations that are at higher risk for drowning than other populations. The program teaches kids and their families water safety skills to prevent drowning. It is typically delivered in four lessons

In 2018, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Family YMCA began delivering this community-based drowning prevention program to second-graders from both the Lowndes County and Valdosta City school systems. Through this community partnership, more than 3,000 students have enrolled in the program and obtained invaluable water safety knowledge. Generous donations from several businesses and individuals along with volunteer support have made this vital water safety program available to second-grade students at no charge.

Student Outcomes
The program builds upon individual skills to create two core skill sequences to help children be safe in and around water: (1) swim, float, swim and (2) jump, push, turn, grab.

Swim, float, swim. In this skill sequence, children swim a short distance on their front, turn to their back to float, then turn to their front to continue swimming if they are able. Children may choose to stay in a back float. Rolling onto their back periodically allows them to rest and breathe. The sequence helps children stay afloat until someone arrives to help them or they are able to get to safety using the combined skills.

Jump, push, turn, grab. In this skill sequence, a child jumps into the water, pushes off the bottom, turns around to face the wall, grabs the wall, and safely exits the pool. The sequence simulates the experience children have if they are submerged in water unexpectedly. After learning the sequence, children have the skills to get back to the side of the pool or to safety

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y pioneered group swim lessons in 1907 at the Detroit YMCA. The Valdosta-Lowndes County Family 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. In addition to the Safety Around Water program, there are a variety of programs to choose from, including family swim, competitive swimming, swim lessons, water aerobics, and much more! To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available for those in need to help cover the costs.

To learn more about the Valdosta-Lowndes County Family YMCA’s swim programs, please contact the Y at 229-244-4646 or

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