Water Safety Week offers a good model
More than 400 Sussex County children filled the Sussex Family YMCA pool this week with the sounds of laughter, splashing and young voices interacting with older voices.
Outside the pool area and looking on through big interior windows were dozens of parents, friends and grandparents who brought children to the eighth annual Water Safety Week organized by the Y. They watched intently, their smiles of a deeper, more reflective variety. How often do we take the time to watch our children and grandchildren learning, and having such a good time doing it?
In an area where water-oriented recreation is so readily available, everyone understands the need for water-safety instruction. And by taking the fear out of swimming, we encourage children to spend more time playing outside, in the water and surf.
Kids outside are naturally more active. More active children are healthier and happier children and do better in school. Water Safety Week is one piece in the long-term formula that will make our society healthier and which should improve the outlook of our healthcare system.
The program also demonstrates a sustainable approach to improving our community that doesn’t rely on government resources.
The YMCA has constructed the program with professional staff and Y-member volunteers and has partnered with several private organizations that see the value and provide funding to make the program work. Beebe Medical Center, for example, is committed to wellness in the community.
Lewes Yacht Club Foundation’s mission is to help children who live within a few miles of Delaware Bay develop a love and understanding of the water. Helping those children learn to swim is a direct hit.
The foundation’s $5,000 donation this year provided transportation to dozens of children who wouldn’t have been able to participate otherwise.
Private partnerships are critical at a time when our federal government is finally taking steps to bring our national fiscal house in order and avoid burdening future generations with restrictive debt.
At the local level, we can accomplish a lot, efficiently and effectively, by supporting private initiatives like Water Safety Week.