News: YMCA, Corps teaches youth water safety
Story by Mark Rankin
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville district park ranger at Dale Hollow Lake joined forces with the Putnam County Family YMCA today to teach second-graders about water safety.
Park Ranger Sondra Carmen met with second-graders from the Cane Creek elementary school who were participating in the YMCA Learn-to-Swim Program. She spoke to them about the importance of knowing how to swim and educated them about water safety and recreating in a safe environment.
“I believe if youths and teens learn to swim early, they become better swimmers that have confidence and endurance," Carmen said.
Carmen spoke to a crowd of 52 energetic second grade students at their class graduation.
Before hitting the water one last time, Carmen taught the group fundamental songs and chants that can help them to remember safety practices and safety measures such as wearing a life jacket and wearing prescribed safety gear.
“This class is the start of a lifetime of swimming for some and our intention is to help them remember water safety when they go swimming with friends or recreating with family,” said Carmen.
She said when youth get used to being in and around the water they tend to learn the basic water safety principles that make them better swimmers and boaters.
"This is a great class for our students," said Andrea Bingham a second grade teacher at Cane Creek Elementary School.
In 2013 the YMCA has reached more than 15,000 youth in the Putnam County area that reaches out to 12 schools, both public and private.
“Our goal is to help every child learn to swim and practice water safety,” said Jeremy Govero, program director for youth sports at the YMCA.
The YMCA sponsors the program and provides weekly swim lessons to many of the county’s local schools.
“We have 15 volunteer instructors who love teaching and providing hands on training for each session,” said Govero.
Carmen attends the graduation classes, teaches the youth a variety of ways to remember safety techniques, boating safety and teaches the importance of choosing and properly fitting a life jacket.
“It is great that we get the opportunity to provide this type of training to the youth and I know they will be better swimmers, boaters and citizens because of the training,” said Carmen.
The Learn-to-Swim program is designed to help teachers guide children grades kindergarten through six grade water safety lessons in an entertaining way.
“This is an excellent program which helps our students gain confidence and courage to swim at an early age,” added Tammie Wright a second-grade Cane Creek Elementary School teacher. “Swimming is a tool they can use for the rest of their lives.”