The temperatures have finally arrived; it's summer, filled with treasured days of sleeping in and lazing around the house. Except at my home.
Five days a week, for up to two hours each morning, we pack up post-breakfast and head to the pool. Is there anything I'd rather do five days a week for up to two hours a day? Yes, several things. But I won't. For six weeks straight, we commit ourselves to the swim lesson schedule of the Enumclaw Aquatic Center because our kids are swimming.
Having grown up taking swim lessons in the summers, this was never not an option for my children. Swimming is fun, it's exercise and above all, it's a vital life skill -- especially given our close proximity to Lake Tapps and living on the West Coast where lakes, rivers and the ocean are part of our lifestyle.
We don't live on a lake, yet. And we don't have a boat, yet. But we'd be foolish to believe that this would deter our children from spending time around water. Considering the drowning statistics that pepper the news each year, why wouldn't we take advantage of the local programs designed to support water safety?
According to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA.org) American media reported 1,592 drownings between May 1, 2011 and August 26, 2011. Of that number, 416 were children under age 12. Washington media reported 35 drownings during this time with 30 being in open water. Unnecessary.
The cost of swim lessons can be high and only ratchets higher with each child. Spending nearly $400 each summer for lessons may seem like a lot for a family with two kids but it's nothing compared to the skill set gained, or the potential loss.
Having started our first child in the water at 6 months, and our second in the water at 3 years old, we've had our share of experience. We've taken lessons at two different pools before landing at the Enumclaw pool. We've bounced from morning to evening lessons, twice-weekly to daily. We've also had the joy of sitting and watching our youngest scream through a 30-minute class. But standing firm in our belief that swimming was important and reassured by the instructors - and throw in some gentle coaxing (possibly bribing) - we got the boy back in the water the following day without a tear and he's been a natural ever since.
We've watched our children go from hanging on the wall to swimming unassisted in six short weeks. And in our experience, daily classes have been key to their rapid development. That's money well spent as far as I'm concerned and they're only getting stronger each season. At 4 and 6, they're now learning new strokes and increasing their deep water confidence. Aside from the critical skill set learned, they're having a blast, beaming at the end of class, and also showing pride at their willingness to jump into the deep end and their ability to swim 100 meters at a time. I sit amazed and impressed and proud - I beam too.
I don't know if Kristin, Susie, Mary, Rachel and the entire staff at the Enumclaw Aquatic Center realize the positive effect they've had on our kids and our family, but we're forever grateful of their impact because I've heard the horror stories and I wouldn't trade our experience with anyone.
Water resources to take advantage of this summer:
- offers regular summer sessions as well as after hours play events and swim camps.
- Sumner Pool as well as Puyallup's Mel Korum YMCA have swim programs offered to kids of all ages.
- Pierce County Fire and Rescue provides loaner life jackets or discounted, personalized fit jackets to purchase for only $14. You can also download a coupon for a 25% discount on life jackets from Big 5 Sports.
- Read up on weather and water conditions for your area. Local residents and guests alike must stay mindful of the mountain water fed lakes and rivers in our area as being very cold and possibly dangerous concerning hypothermia.