Our Towns

YMCA, City Parks Partner for Free Swim Lessons

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The YMCA of Youngstown is expanding its collaboration with city’s Parks and Recreation Department and will provide free swim lessons this summer to children at Northside Pool.

The new outreach program is designed to promote safety around water and reduce water-related fatalities.

“Drowning is the second leading cause of death in kids ages five to 14 and inner-city children are three times more likely to drown. That is unacceptable to us,” says Mike Shaffer, executive director of the Central YMCA downtown.

The collaboration was announced Saturday at the start of the Central YMCA Annual Spin-A-Thon. This year’s them for the event was “Youngstown Spins for Youngstown Swims.”

All funds raised support the Central YMCA’s Youngstown Swims initiative that provides swim lessons to every second grader in the Youngstown City Schools, swim lessons to children with disabilities, and swim lessons to kids in the community at Northside Pool.

A teacher from the Youngstown City Schools said, “The Y has really benefitted my students. It has given them confidence in the water and in other aspects of their life. They’re having fun and learning how to swim. It’s truly a remarkable program.”

“The impact is significant,” says Dawn Turnage, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation department. “The children are learning the necessary skills of water survival while having fun. For those children who have no access to swim lessons, water danger is in plain sight; especially those in minority communities. Through the collaboration with the YMCA and the city of Youngstown Parks and Recreation, our campers, along with children in the community, will have the opportunity to learn to swim and to be safe around the water.”

The YMCA of Youngstown has served the community since the 1800s. Today, it has more than 17,000 members and includes three facilities that provide programming to develop its mission: the Central YMCA, the D.D. & Velma Davis Family YMCA in Boardman, and the Camp Fitch YMCA on Lake Erie.

Pictured at top: YMCA Aquatics Director Chris Hughes will children who learned water safety last summer at the Northside Pool.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.