From The Director

Aquatics and Summer Safety

Spring is here! It’s time to start thinking about summer plans: swim lessons, summer camp, days swimming at the pool. With all that in mind it is important to also think about summer safety.

Water is everywhere- beaches, splash pads, backyard pools, even kiddie pools can pose a danger to children. One of the most important safety tips is to remind your children to always ask permission before going in the water. This serves as an opportunity for children to know they are being watched and also as a reminder for adults to turn their attention to the water.

Backyard pools can be dangerous due to lack of lifeguards. Some important safety instructions to give children include:

  • Don’t swim without permission or without adult supervision.
  • Ask an adult for help if you want something in or around the pool.
  • Keep your hands, fingers, feet, and toes out of any openings in the pool, such as grates.
  • Don’t swim or play in hot tubs or whirlpools
  • Lastly, reach or throw, don’t go! Why shouldn’t you jump in to save a friend who is struggling in the water? A panicked person in the water can grab you and pull you under. You can always use an object to reach out to your friend and pull him or her back to the shore, the bank, or the side of the pool. You can use anything long enough to extend your reach or help your friend float, such as a pool noodle.

Many parents look to swim lessons as a way to prepare for the summer season, with good reason. Research shows that participation in formal water safety and swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children 1 to 4 years of age. Also, participation in swimming helps teach children at a young age to strive for physical achievement. Did you know water safety and swim lessons often promote a lifelong enjoyment of swimming, encourages healthy living and the prevention of chronic diseases? Giving children the opportunity to learn to enjoy activities in and around water nurtures social-emotional, cognitive and physical development.

With the focus on aquatics this month, The YMCA of Northwest Florida would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Aquatic Director, Kristin Heath-Strickland. She is joining our association from Rome, GA bringing many years of aquatic experience and talent with her. We are excited to have her fresh eyes and enthusiasm to continue to build our aquatics programming! Kristin will be working at the Bear Levin Studer Family Y.

This summer the YMCA invites you to enjoy splashing and swimming at any of our three branches as well as Hunter pool and Roger Scott pool that the Y will be managing for the city of Pensacola. Regional members will have access to all three of our branch pools through their membership. Members who would like to visit the Roger Scott and/or Hunter Pools will be required to pay the same rates as other city and non-city residents.

The Bear Levin Studer pools are open year round; Pullum’s pool opens May 1; Northeast opens their pool May 28; and the city pools open May 25.

We look forward to seeing and serving you at any of our pools!

Some final tips:

Summer safety is not only about water safety. Remember:

-Hydration is crucial

-Sun protection means reapplying sunblock frequently

-Wear proper life jackets when in boats, kayaks or paddles boards.

Our Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.