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Young girl practicing swimming underwater

The Y delivers vital, life-saving water safety programs to Omaha youth.

As summer fast approaches, thoughts turn from the long & dark winter behind to the bright & sunny days ahead filled with baseball, bbq’s, and backyard pools. Kids leave the classroom and hit the fields, as parents embrace the opportunity for their kids to earn their independence for a few months. But while we all enjoy a little summer freedom, there are some important and obvious lessons first: wear a helmet, look both ways, stranger danger and more. But an incredibly important, often overlooked lesson in summer safety is all around us, and the Y is here to provide the lessons every kid needs to know.

Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of accidental death in kids age 1-4, and 10-14 years old. For kids under age 1, it is the 3rd leading cause of death.  Most drownings occur in pools, and the vast majority occur in the summer months. Boys are twice as likely to drown than girls, and African-American kids age 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than white children of this same age. 23% of youth drownings occur at a family event, and due to the silent nature of drowning, goes unnoticed till it’s too late. It takes as little as 20 seconds for a drowning to occur. 

Alarming statistics, to be sure. However, learning to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%.

The YMCA strives to strengthen the foundations of community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, and the Y takes seriously the responsibility to ensure our youth develop a healthy respect for recreating in water. Water safety is defined as the procedures, precautions and policies associated with safety in, on and around bodies of water, where there is risk of injury or drowning.  Your kids can learn these procedures, precautions and policies from certified YMCA instructors, so summertime fun around our community lakes and pools remains a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

In terms of social responsibility, the Y also geo-targets and subsidizes water safety programs in areas of greater need to ensure the concerning drowning statistics among African-American youth are not only addressed, but solved. Thanks in large part to local grants targeting this very need, the Y serves water safety lessons to ALL in need, REGARDLESS of means.

For some, the idea of learning to swim and/or safety around water can be daunting. But consider this: the first and most important lesson learned in water safety is simply learning to ask for permission to get in the water. Sounds pretty simple right? That’s because it is, and YMCA’s certified instructors ensure it’s not only easy and accommodating, but also fun. And that’s what summer’s all about, right?

To learn more about the YMCA of Greater Omaha’s swim and water safety programs click the button below!


  Learn More about Y Swim Lessons

Category: Health & Wellness
Image of a Y employee, John M

John Monson serves as Chief Advancement Officer for the YMCA of Greater Omaha, leading sales, marketing and funding development efforts for the organization. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, John spent the majority of his career in the mountains of Colorado and Northern California serving in various ski resort management and ski town parks & recreation roles, before returning to his native Omaha in 2019.