Swimming is the activity of choice to beat the summer heat, which is one of the reasons the Fort Hood Child and Youth Services offers swimming lessons from American Red Cross certified instructors.
“It’s a skill that every person needs,” Brenda Brown, instructional program specialist, CYS, explained. “It’s something everybody should know how to do for safety sake.”
Beginning this week and continuing throughout the summer, the two-week courses are held at the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Brigade Pool at the corner of 58th Street and Support Avenue. They offer parent and child swim lessons, for children 6-months-old to 4-year-old; preschool swim lessons, for children 3 to 4-years-old. From there, the lessons are separated by swim level.
Brown explained Level 1 teaches the little swimmers the basics of swimming, how to hold their breath and how to stay afloat. Level 2 teaches the children basic strokes. Level 3 refines the strokes previously learned. Level 4 teaches various strokes and Levels 5 and 6 are for more experienced swimmers.
“It’s a great opportunity for parents to get their kids to learn how to swim,” Brown said, adding that while the kids are learning, they’re also having a great time. “It’s so much fun for the kids. They really enjoy getting out in the water and splashing around.”
Brown explained they also provide private lessons, which are useful for several reasons. She said children who are very good at swimming, but very young, may benefit from private lessons. Children with special needs, who may become agitated around other kids, may also benefit from private lessons. Finally, teenagers who have never learned, but would feel embarrassed swimming with young children, may also benefit from private lessons.
Kimberly Marin signed her 13-year-old son, Jordan, up for private lessons in order to prepare him for Aquatic School through the Boys Scout program. Marin said her son was selected to attend the highly intensive course, so she wanted to make sure he goes to the course well-prepared.
“He gets the one-on-one attention and he gets help in the areas he needs,” Marin said, explaining why she signed her son up for private lessons.
The lessons focus on safety first, which Brown stressed is a big issue nationwide, with drowning as the leading cause of death among children ages 1-4 and the second leading among children ages 1-14.
“They know when they get in the water, they’re safe,” Brown said about children who partake in the swimming lessons. “They have that confidence knowing they can have fun and be safe.”
Nine-year-old Saaya Lujan said she enjoys swimming, but the best thing she has learned about the lessons is “not to panic.” As her instructor Charlotte Brown told the kids, “When you panic, you sink.”
More than 60 youth were signed up for the first round of lessons, and the next class begins on June 24. Parent and child swim lessons are $35, preschool to Level 6 swim lessons are $55 and private lessons are $75. Participants must be registered with CYS, which is free. Register at the Shoemaker Center, Bldg. 36000, Room 101 or online at https://go.usa.gov/xn4rd. For additional information about the registration process, call 254-287-4592.