The National Swimming Pool Foundation’s (NSPF’s) Step Into Swim™ campaign swam a great length this summer. More than $75,000 was donated in 2017 and the recipients are excited to report on how their clubs and organizations benefited from the funding they received.
“We’ve gone around the world to help the industry fund local programs,” said NSPF CEO, Thomas Lachocki, Ph. D. “An increasing number of leaders are experiencing the joy of giving locally and creating more swimmers who use and enjoy local pools.”
Angels of America’s Fallen (AOAF) partnered with NSPF to create Lesson’s from Lylah, a program to help children of fallen military and first responders recover from their loss of a parent through swimming. This group engaged 170 children in swimming activities, 100 of whom were waitlisted and would otherwise have continued suffering invisible wounds with no outlet. Most of the children choose to stay in water sports once they are fully enrolled.
Research shows that children with autism spectrum disorder and other special needs flourish in aquatic settings, and 20 Jewish Community Centers (JCC) swim academies used this funding to prove it.
The Master Pools Guild directed their contribution to programs in the local areas of 14 members around the world. Step Into Swim funding taught thousands of children to swim in Australia, India, Vancouver, B.C., Alabama, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.
“Drowning is a local issue, and learning to swim is the local solution,” said Master Pools Guild executive director, and Step Into Swim committee member Dick Covert. “We have gone to great lengths to fund children’s programs close to member communities.”
Twenty-seven New York State Parks used funding to continue growing their state-wide learn-to-swim program. Hundreds of classes were offered to 3000 children across the state.
USA Swimming allocated its funds to its SwimToday initiative, which looks to grow the sport of swimming. The program was key in this group’s acquisition of 105,200 new year-round members this year. Currently, the SwimToday program has 354,036 members.
Finally, nine YMCA’s across the U.S., used the money to teach hundreds of children Safety Around Water, a program designed to reduce children’s risk of drowning. One of the participating YMCA’s, Palomar Family YMCA in Escondido, Calif., had 100 children Grades 1-5 participate in the program. The children represent a fragile community with a population that is 96 per cent socioeconomically disadvantaged and do not have the ability to pay for swimming lessons. YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge reported more than 2000 second graders participated, 53 per cent of who were identified as non-swimmers and high risk for drowning. Step Into Swim funding provided the life-saving opportunity of learning to swim for children who would not otherwise have the opportunity.