One of the most important goals of the Charlevoix Area Community Pool is to have all area children know how to swim and be safe in the water. “Being able to swim here in Northern Michigan is especially critical given that we are surrounded by so many lakes”, says Peggy DeNio, Facilities Manager.
In order to achieve this goal, the Pool began an initiative several years ago to provide school group swim lessons and water safety instruction for children enrolled in area schools such as Charlevoix, Petoskey, Beaver Island and more. The Pool caters the program to work for each school and age group. This year, the program has been officially named “iSwim Safe”.
As this program continues to develop, the Pool is excited to have been awarded a grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation to offer these lessons free of charge to 2nd and 5th Graders at Charlevoix Elementary, Saint Mary Catholic School and Charlevoix Montessori Academy for the Arts. During the month of March, 2nd Graders will be visiting the Pool for lessons every week, while 5th Graders will be visiting once for a 2-hour training on water safety and boater’s safety.
Through this grant opportunity, the Pool is also evaluating and tracking the swim competencies of these students. “It will be exciting to examine what skills the students come into the program with, and then the amount of impact the Pool has had on their progress,” says Carissa Mullaney, Coordinator of Marketing and Development. “We also hope to learn how we can improve this program and our regular group lessons through this assessment.”
The first week of lessons began this week. “After our first assessment of a 2nd Grade class, we believe over half of these students have never had formal swim lessons”, Peggy estimates. “It will be exciting to see their progress over the next four weeks.”
The Board and Staff at the Pool wish to extend a big thank you to the Charlevoix County Community Foundation for helping to support this program and other Pool initiatives over the years.