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Column: Swim programs keep youth active and safe

10:51 AM, May 6, 2013  |  Comments
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Summertime means pool time for many children and adults, and as they venture to their favorite spots to swim, play and create lasting memories, the Marshfield Area YMCA reminds swimmers to practice safety when in or around the water.

This May, the Y is recognizing National Water Safety Month to raise awareness of this issue. As part of its commitment to strengthening community through youth development and healthy living, the Y offers a variety of swim programs that teach water safety skills and give children and adults the chance to explore the many health benefits of swimming.

Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity for children and adults alike, and it's an easy way to stay physically active and improve strength, flexibility and stamina. The Y encourages all children and adults to learn how to swim. It's never too late. Basic swimming skills and water safety practices save lives every day.

The Marshfield Area YMCA recommends children and adults practice the following safety tips when in and around the water:

? Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.

? Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.

? Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

? Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm's reach.

? Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, swimmers at the Y can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence and a positive mental attitude.

In addition, swimming is a great way to help more children be physically active. Only 19 percent of U.S. children get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, according to the latest findings of the YMCA's Family Health Snapshot - a survey that gauges children's activity levels during the school year.

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Marshfield Area YMCA has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 25 years. There are a variety of programs to choose, including a parent/child introduction to water enjoyment and safety skills, group or private swim lessons, competitive swimming, senior water exercise, an Arthritis Foundation aquatic program, swim lessons for children with special need, and a community swim, which is open to all Marshfield and surrounding area residents during specified times. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs.

To learn more about the Marshfield Area YMCA's swim programs, call the Y at 715-387-4900, email info@mfldymca.org or go to www.mfldymca.org for more information.

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