Community Learn-to-Swim Program 2020 – $2,000
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley was honored to award this grant to Teton Valley Aquatics and welcomes the opportunity to support an endeavor to increase the number of people who want to learn how to swim. Swimming is a lifelong skill that can save lives and there are many barriers to not learning how to feel comfortable in the water, especially for our youth in Teton Valley. Teton Valley Aquatics is well-positioned to assure this program achieves its goals with their Learn-To-Swim Program.
Teton County, ID children face significant barriers to accessing water safety education and developing the essential life skill of swimming. Idaho has the second-highest rate of drownings for children aged 1-5 in the country, second only to Florida (Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, 2016). Additionally, over 33% of 2017 Teton Valley Aquatics survey respondents report one or more non-swimmers in their households. With no public aquatic facility or public community learn-to-swim program in Teton Valley, addressing high non-swimmer rates is a pressing and challenging public safety problem.
Early education and swimming skill development are essential interventions for reducing a child’s risk of drowning. Participating in swim lessons can reduce a child’s drowning risk by 88% (National Institute of Health, 2011). The learn-to-swim programs currently provided in Teton Valley are limited and offered at private, membership-based facilities including Tributary, Teton Springs, and Grand Targhee, and serve a specific target audience.
Teton Valley residents have expressed a desire for more learn-to-swim program opportunities. In a survey conducted by Teton Valley Aquatics in 2017, 84.5% of respondents with children indicated that they would enroll their child in a community learn-to-swim program if available in Teton Valley. Based on data collected from Teton Valley Swims participants in 2017 and 2018, 90% of parents are interested in expanded learn-to-swim offerings, especially toddler and American Red Cross Level 1 programs. These data points indicate that there is high community demand and a low supply of accessible and affordable learn-to-swim programs that serve a broad and diverse audience.
This grant, in addition to restricted private donations to Teton Valley Aquatics, will fund staff salaries, need-based scholarships and swim gear, advertisements, and equipment. The program will test and develop a model that can be replicated in future years and to inform future partnerships to expand year-round learn-to-swim opportunities in Teton Valley. In this second year, 75 children ages 4-8 will be served, with 20% of program slots reserved for households at or below ALICE threshold levels. As a result of participation in the program, participants will build their water safety and swimming skills, reduce their risk of drowning by 88% and empower them with skills to live full and healthy lives. An investment in learn-to-swim programs is an investment in the life-long health and well-being of a child and ultimately a driver of a healthier, more vibrant Teton Valley.
Teton Valley Aquatics will facilitate a 6-week learn-to-swim program following the American Red Cross curriculum; 30-minute lesson sessions will be offered 3 days a week. 70% of the lesson classes will be reserved for American Red Cross Level 1. Depending on the level, 6-8 children will be served in each lesson for a total of 75 children. Teton Valley Aquatics will charge a nominal participation fee of $10 for the 6-week session to encourage accountability and will provide need-based scholarships and swim gear to families who meet ALICE threshold criteria.
This grant will assure that Teton Valley Aquatics will host a summer learn-to-swim program this year for unrepresented children in the age range of 4-8 years of age, especially those that have barriers to access to swim lessons. The Community Foundation of Teton Valley is happy to see that the youth in our community will have the opportunity to learn how to swim and looks forward to seeing this program grow in the future.