Community Learn-to-Swim Program – $2,000
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley appreciated the strategic nature of this grant to invest in swim education and empower families with the access and knowledge to swim. Teton Valley Aquatics’ Pilot Community Learn-to-Swim program to address limited accessib
In 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 unintentional drownings for children aged 1-5 in the country, second only to Florida. Additionally, over 33% of 2017 Teton Valley Aquatics (TVA) 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 to reducing a child’s risk of drowning. Participating in swim lessons can reduce a child’s drowning risk by 88%. The learn-to-swim programs currently provided in Teton Valley are limited and offered at private, membership-based facilitiesserving a target audience. TVA estimates that less than 15% of households with children who would like their child to participate in swim lessons are served by these private programs. The closest public aquatic facilities that are community focused and serve a broader audience are Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation (Jackson, WY) and Rexburg Rapids (Rexburg, ID), a 45-55 minute drive for a centrally located Teton Valley resident. Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation reported in 2018 that their lessons consistently fill within 10-30 minutes of registration opening.
In addition to limited available programs and competition for enrollment, the cost of swim lessons is also a barrier. The pricing structure of learn-to-swim programs within and proximal to our community ranges from $62-175 per session, roughly 34-400% more expensive than the national average of a standard swim lesson program. The opportunity to access learn-to-swim programs is even more acute for the 31% of Driggs City and 29% of Victor City residents who are beneath ALICE thresholds, the minimum income necessary based on household survival budgets. These residents may face challenges to finance their child’s participation in swim lessons.
Teton Valley residents have expressed a desire for more learn-to-swim program opportunities. In a survey conducted by TVA 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 and indicated that would be their primary use of a future aquatic facility. 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 low supply of accessible and affordable learn-to-swim programs that serve a broad and diverse audience.
Through a unique partnership with Teton Valley Resort, Teton Valley Aquatics will facilitate a 6-week learn-to-swim program following the American Red Cross curriculum. In its pilot year, 75 children, ages 5-8 will be served, with 20% of the program slots reserved for households at or below ALICE thresholds. There will be a nominal participation fee of $10 for the 6-week program and need-based scholarships available to cover fees or swim gear.