The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is joining Lifesaving Society Canada and the Lifesaving Society Simcoe Muskoka Drowning Prevention Alliance in bringing awareness to the drowning problem during National Drowning Prevention Week, which is happening now from July 16-22, according to a TMCA press release.
During this week, the YMCA will educate the public on the issue of drowning and raise awareness about the importance of water safety through activities and programs.
Lifesaving Society Canada reports that more than 400 Canadians lose their lives to preventable water-related incidents each year, making drowning the second leading cause of unintentional death for children and the third leading cause of accidental death for adults.
According to the YMCA, the first line of defense against drowning is learning how to swim. “Learning to swim is a critical life skill that can be acquired at any age,” said Sylvia Pearson, Aquatics Manager at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, in the press release. “It is never too late or too early to start taking swim lessons. Research has shown that formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88 per cent.”
The YMCA offers aquatics scholarships for individuals pursuing advanced aquatics certifications to become a lifeguard or swim instructor. They also provide financial assistance programs to ensure everyone has equal access to these life-saving programs.
“At the YMCA, we strongly believe that learning how to swim is an essential life skill. That’s why we include children and adult swim lessons with every Y membership,” said Jill Tettmann, CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.
Throughout the week, the YMCA is inviting the public to visit one of their five Health, Fitness & Aquatics facilities in Collingwood, Gravenhurst, Innisfil, Midland, or Wasaga Beach to learn more about water safety and participate in activities and programs organized for National Drowning.
The YMCA’s program schedule for Prevention Week includes the following:
Colouring contest for ages 7 and under (all locations, July 16-22) – Colour a lifejacket colouring sheet and win a sticker. Artwork will be displayed on the walls of the YMCA.
Water Smart poster contest for ages 8-12 (all locations, July 16-22) – Create a poster that shows people how to be ‘Water Smart’. Whether that’s wearing a lifejacket, swimming with a buddy, or learning to swim, any poster that highlights water safety will be accepted. Each submission will receive a sticker, and the top 3 submissions will win a prize.
Swim with a Buddy (Innisfil YMCA, July 17, 7:30-8:30pm) – Learn how to be an excellent swimming buddy as our lifeguards show you some ways to save someone in an aquatic emergency, while keeping yourself safe.
Within Arm’s Reach (Innisfil YMCA, July 18, 7:30-8:30pm) – If you’re not within arms reach, you’ve gone too far. Join us in the leisure pool with your kids, and have them go through an aquatic obstacle course while you try to stay within arm’s reach (this will be set in shallow water so small children can touch safely).
Check the Ice (Innisfil YMCA, July 19, 7:30-8:30pm) – Cold water impairs you, so it’s vital you learn how to get out fast. Practice in the pool how to climb out after you have fallen through the ice, and learn about signs and symptoms of hypothermia, and how to treat it.
Lifejacket Use (Innisfil YMCA, July 20, 7:30-8:30pm) – Lifejackets don’t work if you don’t wear them. Come learn how to properly fit a lifejacket and find the right size for you! Once you find the perfect fit, you can learn the HELP and Huddle positions used to preserve heat and keep you safe while waiting to be rescued.
Boating Safety (Innisfil YMCA, July 21, 7:30-8:30pm) – 80% of victims in boating deaths were found not wearing a lifejacket. Join us to learn what to bring and what to leave behind in a boating trip.
Swim to Survive (Innisfil YMCA, July 22, 12:30-1:30pm) – Learn the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to Survive curriculum for free. Swim to Survive teaches the basics of what to do if you experience an unexpected fall into the water.