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YMCA, CB Schools Collaborate in Swim Initiative


IMG_8206Central Bucks Family YMCA is pleased to partner with Central Bucks School District to provide the 2nd Grade Initiative, a water safety program that tests children in basic water safety and provides free water safety lessons to those who qualify. The program is partially funded by Bucks County Orthodontics, Dr. Todd Welsh and Y donors.

In October and November, 2nd grade students from four Central Bucks School District elementary schools were transported to Central Bucks High School South for a half day program aimed at testing all students on their safety in and around water. The program also included a fitness activity and teacher-led classroom activity.

During the in-water testing, students were evaluated in alignment with the Y-USA Safety Around Water rubric. Youth qualified for the next phase of the program based on their ability to enter the pool and pull themselves into a float position, to use their arms for forward motion on their front and back and get themselves safely to the wall. So far, over 126 youth qualified through the initiative and will receive water safety lessons meant to provide them with basic techniques in floating and water safety practices.

“One of our goals is to promote positive relationships between our schools and the community and our partnership with the Y supports this goal,” said Stephen Cashman, Principal of Titus Elementary in Central Bucks School District. “Student safety, in and out of our schools, is important to all of us. We are fortunate to work alongside each other as we strive to address the needs of the whole child.”

IMG_8279The YMCA has a long history of aquatics development. In 1909, the Y began a campaign to “teach every man and boy in North America” to swim using new methods including group swim lessons and lessons on land to build confidence.

“We’re proud to work toward water safety for all youth and aim to reverse drowning statistics at this age,” said Ashley Coticchio, director of aquatics at Central Bucks Family YMCA, Doylestown.

The 7-and-8 year olds who qualify will receive water safety lessons with graduation goals to include treading water for 20 seconds, performing a safe, basic rescue from the edge, swimming 10 yards using their arms and getting into and holding a back float position for 20 seconds. During the classes, children will be taught how to be safety conscious around water and when to yell for help. The lessons are provided free to those who qualify.

The program is partially funded by Bucks County Orthodontics, who provided a $7,500 sponsorship to pay for in-pool evaluators, safety lessons instructors and a commemorative tote bag for each child. “As a parent of two young children, I was immediately moved to support the Y's 2nd Grade Swim Initiative as I believe firmly that the water safety skills that are taught in this program are vital for the continued health and safety of our youth,” says the program’s premier-level sponsor, Todd M. Welsh, DMD of Bucks County Orthodontics in Doylestown.  

The Y is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to improve the quality of life in the community where it is located. Safety lessons will begin at the Y in January for the four Central Bucks South elementary schools, while evaluations continue throughout January for the Central Bucks West elementary schools.

To find out more about the 2nd grade Initiative Program, contact Ashley Coticchio at 215.348.8131, x1409 or acoticchio@cbfymca.org.