May is National Water Safety Month, and the perfect time to get children involved in swim lessons. As America’s Swim Instructor, the Y is the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming—teaching more than one million kids a year swimming and water safety skills.

This year, the Dow Westside YMCA updated its lessons to increase the accessibility and enjoyment of swimming to all ages and skill levels. The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers progress between levels. Through this approach, advanced swimmers flow more easily to higher levels while swimmers who need more instruction can learn at their own pace. This results in more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a love for swimming that can last a lifetime.

“We want swim lessons to be a rite of passage for all children; helping kids stay safe in and around the water while developing a love of swimming,” said Kristen Hogan, Marketing Director, YMCA of the Capital Area. “Through our latest approach to swim lessons, kids of all ages can progress at their own pace while building the confidence needed to become a successful swimmer.

There are three general categories of Y Swim Lessons

Swim Starters develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children ages six months to three years. This category focuses on developing swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences. Parents also learn how to supervise children in the water, how to prevent accidents and how to plan for emergencies.

Swim Basics develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages. Swimmers develop a high level of comfort in the water by practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration, and learning how to swim to safety and exit if they fall into a body of water.

Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique in older students (school age, teens and adults). Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that prevent chronic disease, increase social-emotional and cognitive well-being and foster a lifetime of physical activity.

The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons in 1909. Now, each year in more than 2,000 pools across the country, the Y teaches more than a million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills. Here in Addis the Y teaches over 318 children water safety and swimming each year.

Families interested in learning more about Y swim lessons and water safety classes should visit ymcabr.org/aquatics.