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Dive into this: Greater Scranton YMCA offers free swim lessons and more

Many things stopped last summer in the thick of COVID-19, and that included swim lessons. To help keep kids safe this summer, one YMCA is offering free lessons.

DUNMORE, Pa. — UPDATE: as of 10 a.m. Tuesday,  all free swim lesson spots have been filled. There are still a few remaining spots for the diverse abilities swim lessons. Learn more below. 

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It's fun to swim at the – Y-M-C-A! 

If your family can get on board with that tune, your kids might also be up for taking advantage of free swim lessons at the Greater Scranton YMCA.

The Y in Dunmore received a grant from YMCA USA to help fund free swim lessons for low-income families. 

The free lessons are geared toward children three to 14 years of age.

Participants do not have to be a member of the Y.

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey promoted the free swim lessons on Thursday morning. 

Ryan also touched on the YMCA's new program that's offering swim lessons to kids with special needs. These lessons do come with a fee. 

How to sign up

Free Swim Lessons:

100 free swim lessons are up for grabs. They are on a first-come, first-served basis. CLICK HERE to register.

YMCA Diverse Abilities Swim Lessons:

Head to this link to sign-up and learn more. CLICK HERE to register.

Contact information

Questions about the YMCA's free swim lessons, qualifications for financial assistance, or something else? Reach out to Ken Brewster at kbrewster@greaterscrantonymca.org or (570) 828-3112.

Other options in our area

Since the YMCA is a nonprofit organization, the group never wants to turn families away. 

If you don't live near the Y in Dunmore, but maybe your child or family could benefit from YMCA programs such as swim lessons, you're encouraged to contact a Y in your community.

YMCAs everywhere offer scholarships to families who meet the financial guidelines. 

Water safety program goals

Whether it's the free swim lessons or other water safety programs at the YMCA, organizers hold these types of activities to "reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water."

The following water safety facts and tidbits are courtesy of the Greater Scranton YMCA:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old. 
  • In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study.
  • Additionally, 64 percent of African-American children, 45 percent of Latino children, and 40 percent of Caucasian children have no or low swimming ability.

“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, Greater Scranton YMCA. “The Y teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives, it builds confidence.”

The Y believes this is especially true following 2020’s COVID-19 shutdowns. In a typical year, the Greater Scranton YMCA teaches 1,500 individuals in their swim programs—this decreased to 617 in 2020. “We know there are children in our community who are now more at risk due to the need to maintain social distancing in 2020, and we want to make every effort we can to reach those kids this year. In order to maintain a safe and healthy environment while COVID-19 is still present, the Y is offering smaller class sizes, requiring all staff and volunteers to wear masks, and is deploying hydrostatic foggers throughout the building for disinfection of areas and equipment.”

About the YMCA

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 YMCAs engage 22 million men, women, and children – regardless of age, income, or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the YMCA has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise but to deliver lasting personal and social change.

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