GREENVILLE – Approximately 400 Darke County youth will be better prepared to be around the water this summer thanks to the Darke County YMCA’s Swim Safely with the Marvel Avengers. Sponsors for the event are The Daily Advocate, The Early Bird, Wayne HealthCare Foundation and the Versailles Policy.
According to YMCA of Darke County CEO Sam Casalano the Versailles branch had about 150 youth between the ages of three and sixth grade come through doors to learn water safety while the Greenville branch hosted approximately 250 kids.
Catering to each age group, instructors taught pool safety, backyard pool safety, boating safety, beach safety, basic swimming skills and basic rescue skills.
The Greenville branch ran into a few issues with their pool during the first couple days of the event and had to adjust how the lessons were taught. Instead of using the pool, Mitchell Bosse, aquatics director, and his crew of lifeguards and volunteers, Lyssa Middlestetter, Asia Sykes, Kyrie Unger and Lydia Knepshield, taught the lessons on blue mats that represented the water.
Speaking to a class of 3-5-year-olds on Thursday, Bosse shared important information with the pre-schoolers that will help them be better prepared when visiting a pool or heading out on the lake in a boat.
Lifeguards were front and center during the presentation as Middlestetter and Sykes demonstrated what lifeguards do and how to find them at the pool. In one demonstration, Sykes was dressed in the typical red clothing a lifeguard can be found in and the kids were asked to go out into the lobby to find her, which they did immediately. In the next demonstration, Sykes took off her red coat and hid in the lobby. The kids had a much harder time finding her. Bosse and Middlestetter stressed the way lifeguards dress is important so they can be found and help when they are needed.
Another demonstration taught kids how to jump in a pool. In the shallow end, they were told to jump feet first and to watch for others around them and in the pool before jumping. Each child climbed on a pedestal and jumped feet first onto the mat.
In the lesson-packed 45-minute class, the kids also learned how to wear a life preserver vest and the importance of making sure it is tight enough so it won’t slip off.
In the final lesson of the day, attendees learned how to get in a boat safely. A canoe was brought into the room and each child practiced entering at the bow and holding onto the sides as they moved about the boat.
The Swim Safely event has become an annual program at the YMCA of Darke County and is offered free each June.