Apr 29, 2014 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterOnly car accidents cause more child-age deaths than drowning. That's why it's so important to take advantage of Riverton's learn-to-swim programs offered during the summer at the Riverton Aquatic Center.
After taking the first two weeks in June off for annual pool maintenance, registration for summer swim classes will begin June 16 at the RAC. The Monday-Thursday classes start one week later.
Each session of classes lasts two weeks, and additional sessions will follow later in the summer.
There are classes for kids as young as six months (in the parent-tot program) as well as instruction for older kids and adults.
Classes, especially the sessions for younger kids, will fill to capacity.
The lessons are about how to save yourself or someone else, says RAC director Diana Cooper. It is important to have basic water safety skills.
In Fremont County, we enjoy our water sports. We spend time at the lakes, at Popo Agie Falls, canoeing, fishing, and with our families on vacations to other destinations with water.
We need to be ready to assist ourselves or others if we find ourselves unexpectedly involved in a water emergency.
Although very important, it is not enough, the statistics show, to depend on life jackets (if we wear them at all).
If there is something to work on, it may be the $35-per-class participant fee that the RAC charges for classes. That can be pretty steep for a family with multiple kids.
Staff has discussed, but has yet to find a way to implement, a scholarship or reduced-fee structure that possibly could be tied to the school's free- and reduced-lunch programs.
If it's is found that cost for some families is a detractor, perhaps a way can be discovered to provide some support for swim lessons, because the service the RAC provides the community is so important. In fact, it is life-saving.
Supporting the Riverton Learn to Swim program may be a good project for local service clubs.
Approximately 500 kids per summer from all around Fremont County will take the classes, but a limited number of instructors prevents the RAC from serving more, according to Cooper.
Many of us learned to swim from Mrs. Gamble and Mrs. Tonkin at the old Riverton High School swimming pool in their summer Red Cross Learn to Swim programs.
The tradition of kids learning to swim that they establish is a good one and needs to continue.
Let's make sure that all kids can participate.
Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!
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