Earning their sea legs

Williams sees this program serving as a safety precaution because there are several families that have pools in their backyards. If a child were to fall into a pool, he hopes this program will provide the child the ability to know how to swim to the side of the pool for safety.

There is a curriculum that is involved in the program, which follows guidelines set by the American Red Cross. The day usually begins with a group activity, and then separates out into smaller groups and comes back into larger groups at the end of the session. Williams said the last activity is meant to be something that gives children the incentive to want to get into the water the next day.

It is a requirement for the 2-4-year-old age group that a parent is in the water with them. There are already three instructors in the water with them, Jen Dopp, assistant coordinator for the summer enrichment program, said, because some kids may not know how to react to the water. Having a parent there with them makes it a little more comfortable for the child.

Keri deRoziere is taking lessons with her son Jack, 4. She said she was pleased the town opened it up to the younger age group since her daughter Julia, 5, has been taking lessons in the older age group. She said it is great for the children to learn at such an early age.

"It's something I always thought was really important to learn," she said.

She said her son has, after two weeks, been willing to put his face in the water. She said it is good progress since before he refused to even let go of her. DeRoziere said this will also make the family's upcoming vacation more enjoyable because Jack will now be able to go in the water with them.

When asked whether he enjoyed swimming, Jack gave a nod of approval.

"Hopefully we can do something over the winter as well," she said. "It's a great workout for both of us. But next summer we'll definitely be back. That's for sure.""

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