Valley of the Sun YMCA Offers Free Swim Lessons May 21–25

Start a new family tradition by learning how to keep kids safe in and around water during National Water Safety Month

Town of Carefree mayor Les Peterson declares May 21–25 Safety Around Water Week

As part of National Water Safety Month, the Valley of the Sun YMCA will offer free swim lessons to the first 1,600 registrants at 13 Valley of the Sun YMCA branches the week of May 21–25. Registration is open now and must be done in person at a local Y branch. Lessons are open to non-swimmers from six months of age to adults.

The free swim lessons are part of the Y’s Safety Around Water program, which is designed to engage and educate parents about the importance of water safety skills and provide more of America’s youth access to water safety lessons.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 to 4 years old and is the second leading cause of death for children from 5 to 14 years old. Arizona is among the states with the highest rate of drowning deaths in the country. However, research shows that participation in formal water safety and swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children 1 to 4 years of age by as much as 88 percent.

Through Safety Around Water, parents and caregivers are encouraged to help their children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills. During the five-day course, participants are taught how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations — from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge — to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.

“For generations, staying safe around water meant keeping kids away from water, but it’s time to start a new family tradition by learning basic water safety skills,” said Bryan Madden, president and CEO of Valley of the Sun YMCA. “Safety Around Water is a great starting point to not only get kids comfortable in the water but also teach their parents the importance of developing water safety skills.”

In addition to preventing drowning, water safety and swim lessons promote a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. They also encourage healthy living and the prevention of chronic diseases. Learning to enjoy activities in and around the water also nurtures social-emotional, cognitive and physical development.

The swim lessons offered through the Safety Around Water program teach children that water should be fun, not feared, if you know how to stay safe in and around water. They also serve as a good introduction to the Y’s progressive swim lessons, which accommodate students of varying abilities and allow swimmers to progress among levels at their own pace.

The YMCA is “America’s swim instructor” and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons in 1909.

Now, each year in more than 2,000 pools across the country, the Y teaches more than a million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills. Here in the Valley of the Sun, the Y provided swim lessons to more than 3,000 children and adults last year.

All non-swimmers are encouraged to sign up for this free swim lesson session as registration is first come, first serve.  Registrations are accepted in person at their local YMCA branch.  For more information, visit

Teaser photo by mayrpamintuan on / CC BY-NC-SA

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