This year, The Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s People for Parks Fund offered grants to three Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) programs across the city. They feature free Swimming Lessons at Webber Pool and Theodore Wirth Beach, Outdoor Adventures at East Phillips Community Center, and Afro Yoga and Afro Cardio at North Commons Park. We will highlight each of these programs in a three-part series of posts. First, we’ll dive into Rec Plus Swimming Lessons!
Rec Plus Swimming Lessons
Rec Plus school age childcare youth from Harrison Rec Plus and Webber Rec Plus ages participated in free swimming lessons at Theodore Wirth Beach or Webber Swimming Pool. Lessons ran for one week and were open to kids ages 6-12. Here, they learned water safety, drowning recognition, swim skills and techniques. The youth were introduced to basic swimming skills and the fundamentals of core swimming techniques such as bilateral breathing/rotary breathing and submersion. They learned the float, kick, and stroke techniques in addition to elements of freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke.
“Children living in low income or minority neighborhoods have historically lacked easy access to swimming as compared to white or high-income neighborhoods, directly impacting their opportunity to learn to swim,” said Program Manager, Margaret Jaeger. “The biggest deterrent to drowning is learning how to swim.” By offering swimming lessons to lower income communities and communities of color, Rec Plus swimming programs give these kids the accessibility to develop life-saving water skills.
Margaret said that the kids thoroughly enjoyed the lessons this year. Not only did they provide life-saving skills and swimming techniques, but they offer a welcoming community with other kids their ages as well as an opportunity to connect with trained swim instructors and lifeguards. The youth stayed after the lessons for open swim time with Rec Plus staff to practice the skills they learned with their fellow swimmers. According to staff coordinators, the bonds they formed with this year’s lifeguards was a memorable take-away!
Images Courtesy of MPRB