(Monday - March 01, 2021) - Northern Lights YMCA
Dickinson Center's annual third grade swim program has returned this
month, with a twist.
With the pandemic cancelling the program in
2020, the YMCA this year is teaching all area third and fourth graders
how to swim.
"Those in third grade in 2020 missed out on the
program, so we wanted to make sure those children still receive their
lessons," NLYMCA aquatics director Tanner Walsh said. "We’ve doubled our
programming, with the fourth graders swimming the rest of this month and
the third graders coming during the normal time we hold the lessons in
March and April."
Teaching area children how to swim has become
one of the most important programs the YMCA offers to the community. Now
in its fifth year, the combination of third and fourth graders means the
YMCA will provide free swim lessons to more than 500 kids during the
next few months.
A grant received from Dickinson County’s 100+
Women Who Care two years ago along with money from the YMCA Annual
Campaign help fund the program. The YMCA covers the cost of pool time,
staffing and transportation for program participants.
of students receive five 40-minute lessons as part of the YMCA program.
In addition to the swim lessons, the YMCA aquatics staff also introduces
the kids to boat safety, lifejacket fit, proper water attire as well as
sun and heat safety.
"This program is so important in our region
of lakes and rivers, where water safety is so crucial," Walsh said.
"Participation in swim lessons greatly reduces the risk of drowning, and
we feel like we are really making a difference for our community."
"And we're also introducing kids to another activity for which they
may develop a passion. Our program has been around long enough that we
now have graduates starting to reach high school and joining the swim
The children taking part in the program come from Woodland
Elementary School in Kingsford, North Elementary School in Iron
Mountain, Norway Elementary School, Bishop Baraga Catholic School in
Iron Mountain, Holy Spirit Catholic School in Norway, North Dickinson
Elementary School in Felch, Niagara Schools in Niagara and Florence
Elementary School in Florence.
With the cancellation in 2020,
this year's program is the first to occur in the YMCA's newly renovated
pool, which was completed in late 2019.
The YMCA's Annual
Campaign is currently underway. Supporters can stop by the Y or call
774-4076 for information on how to donate. Along with the third grade
swim program, YMCA Annual Campaign dollars provide programming and
membership assistance to hundreds in the community.
also be made online at: