April 01, 2016

With pools, lakes and beaches all around us, drowning is a leading cause of death among Florida kids, ages 1 – 14.  

To help kids stay safe in and around the water this summer, the YMCA of Central Florida is offering 10,000 complimentary swim lessons to children ages 4 to 12 during our Safety Around Water event, April 25-28. 

Introductory lessons will be provided by certified Y swim instructors, who will teach basic stroke development, personal safety water survival skills. Lessons will be offered at no charge to the public at 20 neighborhood YMCA Family Centers across Orange, Osceola, Brevard, Seminole, Lake and Marion counties.

Rowdy1“Each year, the number of Florida children who die from drowning is enough to fill three to four preschool classrooms,” said Rowdy Gaines, YMCA Vice President of Aquatics and a three-time Olympic gold medal swimmer. “Among African-American and Hispanic children, the risk of drowning is even higher and for every child who drowns, many more suffer a permanent disability. Yet the tragedy of drowning is largely preventable when children learn basic water safety techniques.”

Rounding out Safety Around Water will by YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day on Saturday April 30. That’s when Y family centers will be offering free, family-friendly games, activities and resources to keep kids safe, active and learning when the school year ends.

McDonald’s of Central Florida has stepped forward to co-sponsor the event, which supports the safety and well-being of local kids and families. “On behalf of McDonald’s of Central Florida, we are excited to participate in this amazing initiative that benefits our community’s children,” said Ania Nitzsche, Central Florida McDonald’s Owner/Operator. “With the summer season just around the corner, the timing for Safety Around Water week couldn’t be more ideal and we’re glad to partner with the YMCA on this important program.”

In addition to McDonald’s of Central Florida, other Safety Around Water sponsors include the Florida Swimming Pool Association (FSPA), Ron Jon Surf Shop and Melissa Mishoe.

To register for complimentary lessons, visit your local Y by April 20. To be contacted by a Y staff member, click here and complete the form.