As America’s most trusted swim instructor, the YMCA has been teaching kids how to swim for more than 100 years. Swim lessons at the YMCA help kids stay fit, healthy, and strong when they spend time in and around water. But, most importantly, they gain confidence and learn vital water safety skills that will last a lifetime.
The YMCA’s Swim Lesson Curriculum is based on a continuum that focuses on a skill-based progression that builds confidence and supports skill development for swimmers of all ages.
This summer, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA was once again proud to offer the “Go Blue” Water Safety Program as a part of summer day camp activities at camp sites throughout Will and Grundy Counties. Campers completed mandatory swim tests before entering the pool and, based on their swimming abilities, received a red, yellow, or blue wristband. To “Go Blue” meant that swimmers had enough strength, skill, and confidence to pass the blue swim test, which included jumping into the deep end of the pool, treading water, and swimming the length of the pool using a front crawl stroke without stopping.
To improve their swimming skills, all red and yellow wristband campers participated in 15-minute swim lessons each week with the goal of “Going Blue” by the end of summer.
This year’s program served 653 campers, with 4,242 swim lessons completed over the course of the summer. Here are the exciting results!
Start of Summer:
- Red Swimmers: 31.85%
- Yellow Swimmers: 27.41%
- Blue Swimmers: 40.74%
End of Summer:
- Red Swimmers: 19.30%
- Yellow Swimmers: 19.75%
- Blue Swimmers: 60.95%
Only 4 in 10 campers attained the highest swim level when tested at the start of summer. By the end of the final week of testing that figure improved to 6 in 10. Additionally, 82 campers that were previously required to wear life jackets when using YMCA pools as red level swimmers improved to a swim level where a life jacket was no longer needed.
Safety Around Water
Youth in Joliet and the surrounding communities were also given invaluable summer swim instruction through the Safety Around Water* program at the Galowich Family YMCA. The program provided a series of free 30-minute lessons to children from the Y’s Salvation Army Community Center Summer Day Camp site, the Harvey Brooks Institute, the Boys & Girls Club of Joliet, and the iLEAD Youth Center. In total, 153 children received Safety Around Water instruction with 918 lessons completed. Below are their amazing swim test results!
Start of Summer:
- Red Swimmers: 66.01%
- Yellow Swimmers: 15.04%
- Blue Swimmers: 18.95%
End of Summer:
- Red Swimmers: 40.52%
- Yellow Swimmers: 32.03%
- Blue Swimmers: 27.45%
At the start of summer an overwhelming majority of Safety Around Water participants required the use of a life jacket when entering the pool as a red swimmer. We were so proud to see that figure reduced by more than 25 percent, a total of 39 children. This summer’s activities also resulted in 13 children improving to become blue level swimmers.
We look forward to continuing Safety Around Water swim lessons this fall with students from Troy CCSD 30C and Fairmont School District 89!
*Safety Around Water is made possible through the generosity of local businesses and grantors, including the United Way of Will County. If you would like to help support Safety Around Water by donating to the YMCA Mission Strong Fund, you can do so below.
And if you are interested in becoming a volunteer swim instructor, click here.