Yesterday, on the sun-splashed and sandy shores of Delta Lake, New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid announced the start of the state’s 7th Annual Free Learn-to-Swim Program — which will be offered at the popular local attraction.
The program, the commissioner said, “teaches children a valuable, life-long skill that helps keep them safe, promotes a healthy lifestyle and gives them a connection to the outdoors.” Moreover, Kulleseid said, “we are taking steps that can save lives.”
We couldn’t agree more. Swimming is a potentially life-saving skill — for people of all ages. If you have children, get them into a learn-to-swim program as soon as possible.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, most children are ready — physically and developmentally — for swim lessons by around 4 years of age. At this age, children can learn basic survival skills such as floating and treading water. By age 5 or 6, most children can master rudimentary swimming strokes, such as the front crawl. The research shows that children are often more amenable to swim instruction than adults — but that adults too, even those afraid of the water, can learn how to swim and other key elements of water safety.
Each year, there are about 3,500 unintentional drowning deaths across the U.S., with about 700 of those children aged 14 or less, the Centers for Disease Control also reports — and for every child who dies, another five require hospital emergency care after a near-fatal incident.
We applaud the state for bringing its learn to swim program to the area and appreciate their investment in our youth; likewise, we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize that the City of Rome Department of Parks and Recreation as well as the Rome Family YMCA each offer top quality learn to swim programs.
For generations, these organizations have provided children, and adults, with swimming and water safety instruction, helping instill a healthy respect for water and the basic and advanced swim skills necessary for proper personal safety and enjoyment.
Additionally, along with the local chapter of the American Red Cross and Rome Free Academy swim coach and physical education teacher Michelle Browne, they have helped to educate the young men and women who serve as lifeguards and swim instructors at our local pools and beaches.
We wish them, and everyone, a safe, and happy, summer.