Youth Swim Instruction



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71% of the World is Water. Children Are 100% Curious.

Teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. The YMCA’s Safety Around Water program can help you make sure they learn essential water safety skills, which can open up a world of possibilities for them to satisfy their curiosity safely.

What Is Safety Around Water (SAW)?

SAW is composed of eight 40-minute sessions to reduce the risk of drowning by giving your child confidence in and around water. It is a program we are able to offer for free based on children/schools eligibility in the free/reduced lunch programs. Children ages 6-12 are eligible. Five-year-olds are eligible if they are enrolled in elementary school. This program is funded through grants, partnerships and our Annual Fundraising Campaign. It is geared for unintended entries into the water and safety. Our goal is that if a child falls in, they can swim, float swim, tread, and exit the water. The levels build on skill sequences to enable a child to help save themselves or tread/float long enough for help to arrive.

A typical Safety Around Water session includes:

  • Exercises to help kids adjust to being in water
  • Instruction in “Jump, Push, Turn, Grab” and “Swim, Float, Swim,” two skill sets kids can use if they unexpectedly find themselves in the water
  • Specific safety topics like what to do if you see someone in the water who needs help
  • Fun activities that reinforce skills

Help us prevent drowning on the First Coast! According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida loses more children under age five to drowning that any other state.

With the help of generous donors, our goal is to provide Safety Around Water lessons to 5,000 at-risk children on the First Coast over the next three years – regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Please consider the following gift amounts:

  • $60 to sponsor one child
  • $600 to sponsor 10 children
  • $1,200 to sponsor an entire classroom

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For more information, or to find out if your child is eligible, contact your neighborhood Y or call 904.265.1775.



Designed to meet the needs of preschoolers and young children, swim stages build upon a foundation of water safety and drowning prevention by teaching water adjustment and skills for readiness to swim through fun and creative activities. After fundamentals are mastered, children begin to learn personal water safety, character development and build stroke technique with competitive strokes. Our program is divided by age and skill levels. Children learn at their own pace, and advancing to the next level is dependent on the child’s completion of required skills. Please keep in mind that the session length does not guarantee that all children will advance to the next level. All of our YMCA instructors are trained and certified, and lifeguards are always on staff.

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Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water. But, as a parent or caregiver, you can’t keep your children sidelined. You need to equip them with the tools they need to be confident in and around water so they don’t lose out on the health benefits of exercise, the opportunities to bond with family and friends and the sense of accomplishment when they learn new skills. The Y encourages parents to take an active role in their child’s safety by ensuring they learn how to swim and by practicing these safety tips when in and around the water:



Keeping Kids Safe Around Water: Water Safety Facts

News4Jax on Importance of Swim Lessons

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation, and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing.

Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.