Water Safety | West Suburban YMCA

WSYMCA Announces Safety Around Water Open House on August 11th

Jack Fucci

Jul 19, 2018

There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before crossing the street, washing your hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day. For too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something the Y wants to change by offering a FREE Safety Around Water Open House on Saturday, August 11 from 8-9:30 am.

“I almost drowned when I was 7 years old, but thankfully, my brother pulled me out of the water,” said Jack Fucci, West Suburban YMCA’s President & CEO. “I wish my parents had this resource when I was a child. I found out later, my parents did not know how to swim, so we were rarely around the water. Amazingly, if a parent does not know how to swim, there is only a 13% chance that their child will learn to swim. In addition, my family could not afford “extras” like swim lessons. Today, the Y and this free community event, can save lives, so please join us and invite your friends and families.”

Tragically, this summer 12 drownings have occurred in Massachusetts’ pools, lakes, rivers and beaches-the victims ranged in age from just 2 years old to 70. Across the country, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. The problem is particularly acute among minority and immigrant communities. Research conducted in 2017* is frightening: 64 percent of African American children cannot swim, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of Caucasian children. Additionally, 79 percent of children in families with household income less than $50,000 have no/low swimming ability.

Nationally, the Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, if you know how to stay safe in and around water. The Y's Safety Around Water Open House will include free swim lessons that focus on teaching children how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations—from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge—to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water. Parent discussions will occur and water safety resources will also be distributed. 

“It’s never too early or too late to get children involved in swimming—it’s important for safety reasons, but also a great way to keep active and healthy,” said Amanda Pierce, West Suburban YMCA’s Aquatics Director. “There are so many options for parents, but the best place to start is by learning basic water safety skills that helps get kids familiar with the water that often continues with swim lessons and competitive swim programs and can even lead to a career.”

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 100 years. The West Suburban 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. There are a variety of programs to choose. We offer group and private swim lessons, and we include swim lessons in our camps, preschool and after-school curriculum. We also offer competitive swimming, lifeguard training and aquatics exercise classes. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs.

The free Safety Around Water event on August 11th is supported by grants and individual donations to the West Suburban YMCA.

If you, someone in your family, or a neighbor can benefit from this FREE program, please visit www.wsymca.org/water-safety and RSVP to the event.  For more information, contact Amanda Pierce at amandap@wsymca.org or 617-244-6050 x3127.

* 2017 National Study: USA Swimming Foundation with the University of Memphis and University of Nevada-Las Vegas research