Monday, September 16, 2019

Grant to Y Will Help Promote Water Safety


Photos by Quentin Roux | Aquatics Director Morgan Joseph displays the “Puddle Jumper,” a US Coast Guard-approved child flotation device that will be available for members and non-members (with a returnable deposit).

A welcome financial boost has enabled the Greater Marco Family YMCA’s 2019 “Safety Around Water” mission to benefit the entire community.

Lightweight children’s lifejackets are available free to members as well as non-members (with a refundable deposit), and at least 50 youngsters from lower income neighborhoods will enjoy free swimming lessons at the Y.

The money comes from the USA Swimming Foundation, which reviewed 240 applications from around the country before choosing 85 programs to receive grants.

These funds bolster money raised earlier this year to implement a broader, island-wide water safety awareness program, said Aquatics Director Morgan Joseph.

“We want to get the drowning rate down,” she said. There’s a canal or a pool in everyone’s back yard.”

To get the message out, Joseph has put together a safety checklist brochure that will be distributed at places like vacation rental offices, the Marco Island Civic Association and also the local Chamber of Commerce.

One tip, for example, suggests pool gate alarms.

“They might cost just $15, but they could save a life,” Joseph said.

Also in the mix is a foolproof, US Coast Guard-approved lifejacket call the Puddle Jumper. It buckles closed at the back, so cannot be loosened by a child.

“People who do seasonal or vacation rentals can pick them up here for (a returnable) deposit of $20, Joseph said.

These additional programs slot in with regular Y swim and safety programs. Group lessons are available for children (non-members pay a little more), while private adult lessons are also offered. Sign up at marcoymca.org.

The popular parent/child lessons for kids up to 2 are another alternative.

As an incentive, youngsters who register for group swim lessons by attending Healthy Kids Day on April 27 will pay only $10 per session for those lessons.

In addition, there’s an underwater Easter egg hunt scheduled for April 18. It’s free for both members and non-members.

“So basically, we offer lessons for everybody,” Joseph said.

In congratulating its 2019 grant recipients, the USA Swimming Foundation notes in a release that since 2007 it has awarded more than $6-million to help fund learn-to-swim programs across the country.

The well-used Y pool is one of the organization’s pivot points.

For more information on the Safety Around Water programs, contact Joseph at aquatics@marcoy.org, and to find out more about the Y’s wide variety of programs and activities for adults and children, visit marcoymca.org or call 394-YMCA (9622). Follow on Twitter at ymcamarco; on Facebook @marcoymca, and Instagram at ymcamarco.

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