Swim 4 FUN-Swim 4 LIFE
In January of 2008 High Point Swim Club, High Point, North Carolina started a swim lesson program called Swim for Fun/Swim for Life. The purpose of Swim for Fun/Swim for Life is to provide basic swimming skills and confidence in order to have fun in the pool. Swim for Fun/Swim for Life is a swim lesson program for low-income and minority children. These lessons are available to all children referred to HPSC through existing community organizations that deal with low-income and minority children.
The Swim for Fun/Swim for Life program is designed to expose children to the benefits that swimming provides for a healthy lifestyle. The children have the option to come for one eight week session or multiple sessions. When a child completes all levels of the lessons program, they may choose to join HPSC’s competitive teams. HPSC has need-based scholarship opportunities already in place for competitive swimmers. Therefore, if a student decides this is a sport they want to continue, there is support to continue at HPSC.
The children are provided with a swimsuit and towel. All of these items have been donated by TYR, Swim Gear of NC and the Marriot Courtyard in High Point respectively. Children are also given a healthy snack after their lesson to reinforce positive eating habits.
The goals for Swim for Fun/Swim for Life are to help combat childhood obesity, teach water safety and help build a positive self-image. Childhood obesity is a growing concern among our youth and low-income and minority children tend to be hit the hardest. Swimming is a life long sport which combines strength training, flexibility, balance and increasing cardiovascular health. Many low-income and minority children never receive basic water safety instruction, therefore the incidence of drowning is disproportionately high in these groups. Our goal is to teach basic water safety that could someday save their lives. While the main emphasis of this program is the actual swim lesson, other life skills are taught, such as goal setting, positive reinforcement and team interaction. Everyone can participate in swimming, no matter what their coordination level, weight, height or other issues that may cause self-esteem issues.
Our début session ran for eight weeks in January and February with 5 children from the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in High Point. It was a success and we have been working with the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, the Sudanese community, and The Hispanic Group from St. Mary’s Church in High Point.
We also have now expanded this program to include 3rd graders from High Point based Guilford County Schools. We bring all 3rd graders (with parent permission) to our facility for the Swim4Fun/Swim4Life program. We have expanded this program to other GCS elementary schools that meet our program demographics. Schools that we currently partner with are Northwood, Oak Hill, and Triangle Lake, and we plan to add to the program as funds become available to do so.
Doug Witcher, insurance agent, owner of SmartChoice served us well as he provided the majority of the funds to get the program up and running. Some of our recent contributers include Friend of HPSC Donation ,Molly Millis-Hedgecock Foundation, TYR (suits and equipment) ,Swim Gear of NC (suits and equipment), Courtyard Marriott (towel service) and many HPSC parent volunteers.
The High Point community has high hopes for this program and its future, as the program continues to grow; we hope to include more local, regional and national sponsorships.