Over the past five months, about 135 Coast Tsimshian Academy students took part in a Learn to Swim Program at the Lax Kw’alaams Recreation Centre, gaining skills and knowledge they need to be safe in and around the water.
Many of the students had never participated in structured swim lessons before. So the learning curve was quite steep for some, but all gave it their best effort and the program was a BIG SUCCESS! We also started a Parent & Tot program for mothers and their infants as well as a Preschool program for children ages 36-months to five years.
The Learn to Swim Program teaches important skills to students, especially in a community like Lax Kw’alaams which is right on the ocean. Recreation Director Shawn Bourgoin explains, “We have community members who live, play and work in, around and on the water. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to swim safely, both young and old.”
For the last three weeks of the Learn to Swim Program we implemented a “Swim to Survive” challenge for the students. The challenge was a fun way of teaching children essential skills for water safety, including what to do if they fall out of a boat or off of a dock with or without a Lifejacket. It was a good reminder that Lifejackets and personal saving devices save lives. (Don’t forget to wear yours this summer when out on the boat!)
Jamey Morris, a certified Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer, and the Coast Tsimshian Academy’s PE Teacher Kristen Idiens, organized and taught the Learn to Swim program. Both agreed, “swimming is an important life skill and there’s no better way to reach the kids then to make it part of the school curriculum”. By the end of the 20 weeks, a number of students had overcome an extreme fear of water and gained valuable skills they needed to swim safely.
The program also created opportunities for staff members Dayna Tait and Hailey Wesley to shadow Jamey and learn how to teach swimming lessons. In future years, these staff will have the skills to lead swimming lessons and teach other Lax Kw’alaams members.
The Learn to Swim program will be a part of the Physical Education Curriculum again next year, providing an opportunity for students to expand upon their skills. In the mean time, everyone in the community is encouraged to come out and enjoy YOUR pool and practice your swimming skills.
If you are interested in learning more about the Lax Kw’alaams Learn to Swim Program or how you can help support the program please contact Shawn Bourgoin the Recreation Director (250-625-3352).