NORTHERN COLORADO, Colo. (KDVR) – YMCA centers across the northern part of the state will soon be arming hundreds of children and young adults with the skills required to potentially avoid becoming one of the 11 unintentional drowning victims that reportedly pass away every day in the United States.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2015 and 2019, the number of drowning deaths in Colorado per 100,000 people was 1.33. Now, a local community-focused organization is throwing an event to lower that figure across the state.

From May 30 to June 3, the YMCA of Northern Colorado will be offering the public free group swim lessons through the Safety Around Water program. Parents of children aged 3 to 12, as well as adults over 18, are encouraged to sign up for this introductory life-saving class.

“[This] is about empowering participants to develop skills that can save their lives or the lives of others,” YMCA of Northern Colorado Aquatics Director Amy Whitsell explained. According to Whitsell, learning taught in a formal swim lesson lowers the risk of drowning by 88%.

Skills taught in the YMCA’s Safety Around Water program

Here are the skills taught in the program that limits that risk through four 30-minute sessions:

  • Swim skills
    • Floating skills
    • Bubble blowing skills
    • Forward moving progress while in the water
  • Safety skills
    • CPR
    • Water rescue techniques
  • Survival skills
    • Pushing off the bottom to resurface
    • Rolling between the front and back – swim, float, swim- if exhausted while far from the pool’s edge.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to safely enjoy water,” Whitsell said.

YMCAs participating in the Safety Around Water program

  • The Johnstown Community YMCA in Johnstown
  • The Mapleton YMCA in Boulder
  • The Ed & Ruth Lehman YMCA in Longmont
  • The Arapahoe YMCA in Lafayette
  • The Cheyenne YMCA in Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Camp Santa Maria overnight camp in Bailey

Move quickly to reserve your spot as they are likely to be flooded with interested parties in the coming weeks.