During a regularly scheduled visit to the Mount Rainier Pool, campers from the city’s Camp KHAOS were treated to a “Pool Safely Day” conducted by Andy Beal, fellow instructors Jackie and Kyle, and lifeguards Christine, Janice, Pat and Erika.
Andy selected this for his high school senior project because he noticed that most of the kids that come to the pool stay in the shallow end and wear life jackets.
“I thought if they could learn a few basic techniques for staying safe in the water, then they could worry less and have more fun while at the pool,” he said.
Cycling over 100 kids through these lessons proved tricky, but the Camp KHAOS counselors helped organize and keep things moving. Kids were given a quick dryland lesson on how to scull and tread water as ways to get themselves out of trouble. They were told how to recognize a potential drowning victim and, if they were in a similar situation, they should put their face in the water and kick. Groups were then moved to the pool to try out treading and floating. Before they left, they received bags with literature to reinforce what they learned, in addition to mini-beach balls provided by the Pool Safely organization.
Although there was not enough time to provide in-depth swimming lessons, Andy believed that what they taught had some value.
“The younger kids learned how to tread and float, while the older kids learned how to help someone struggling in the water without endangering themselves.” Additionally, “The materials we sent home with the kids will help their families become more aware of how to keep their kids safe around water and what to watch for when they’re at an unsupervised pool”.
Andy hopes that with a little tweaking, the Pool Safely program will be continued each year at Mount Rainier Pool. Those interested in obtaining the materials can contact Andy at [email protected].