Parkview Wabash Hospital and the Wabash County YMCA have a shared goal of helping children set up healthy lifestyles that will stay with them well into adulthood. With appropriate safety and skills training, swimming can be an exercise choice they make for a lifetime. Therefore, Parkview Wabash Hospital and the YMCA partnered to offer the Safety Around Water curriculum to local students.
The initiative focused primarily on 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders in Wabash County, but did include a few dozen students outside those grades. In total, some 523 children participated in 2017.
The program begins with an assessment of all the students’ comfort level in the water and ability to swim. The first skill assessed is the ability/willingness to submerge your face in water and builds up to jumping into the deep end of the water, pushing off the wall, turning around and grabbing a floatation device for safety and rescue swimming.
At the beginning of the program, 27 of the 523 students were not able to submerge their faces in the water. By the end of the four-week session, 100 percent of the students accomplished the skill.
Additionally, of those identified as stronger swimmers, 32 students successfully completed five of the six skills assessments. At program’s end, all but four of those 32 achieved the highest level of water safety skills.
“Every day at the Y, we provide opportunities for kids to learn teamwork and set up healthy habits for a lifelong interest in water sports,” Wabash County Y President Clint Kugler said. “We are grateful for funding form Parkview Wabash Hospital’s Community Health Improvement Program, and we appreciate the lasting impact we are able to have on the county’s youth.”