Source: Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey announced the partnership between NYS Parks, American Red Cross, National Swimming Pool Foundation and the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA) Foundation continues for a second year and is bringing more free "Learn-to-Swim" programs to an increased number of kids at New York state parks this summer season.

 "Launched last year at two state parks in the New York City region, this program was widely successful. We are thrilled that this year, with the continued support of our partners, we are able to not only continue the program at those parks, but also expand it to three state parks in our upstate regions, now offering the opportunity to learn to swim in our lakes. With this expansion we expect to teach up to 1000 children to swim this summer, including many in rural areas with limited swimming lesson opportunities," said Harvey. 

Funding and support by all partners has allowed for the certification of nine additional Water Safety Instructors for a total of fourteen instructors who will conduct the classes twice daily during multiple weeks in July and August. 

“The Red Cross is proud to partner with New York State Parks and the National Swimming Pool Foundation to teach so many children about swimming and water safety this summer,” said Gary Striar, CEO of the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region. “The Learn-to-Swim program empowers kids with life-long skills, and we are happy to see its continued growth in New York State.”

Enrollment for the “Learn-to-Swim” program for children is open at all participating parks. Participants’ parents are asked to sign-up ahead of time in person at the desired Park as space is limited and expected to fill up quickly. Each swim program is 40 to 45 minutes in duration and participants will receive a free swim cap. Those who complete seven of the ten-day swim classes in one of the three swim sessions will also receive a State Parks Learn-to-Swim beach towel.

"We are so pleased to stand shoulder to shoulder with New York State Parks’ learn-to-swim programs,” said Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO, of non-profit National Swimming Pool Foundation who launched the Step Into SwimTM campaign to create a million more swimmers. “The Step Into Swim campaign is all about contributing to family, health, safety and fun. “Together, we are making a life-long difference in the lives of kids today and generations to come. Learning to swim is an important part of water safety; it’s a skill that gets passed to future generations protecting these kids’ grandkids, and is the best exercise you can have,” he added.

“Learning to swim can be a life saver and a life changer,” said NESPA Foundation president, Clive Ensher. “As a Foundation, we are committed to supporting programs that educate families about the value of learning to swim and how pools can provide families with an outlet for both fun and exercise. The Learn-to-Swim program is fantastic example of a program designed to meet those needs. We are proud to support its expansion this summer.”

The 2014 summer New York State Parks Free Learn-to-Swim program schedule is as follows:

Grafton Lakes (Saratoga/Capital Region)

Free learn-to-swim program in Grafton Lake for children age 5 years through 10 years.

Session 1 – Monday July 7th – Friday July 18th

Morning program: 10:00-10:40am

Evening program: 5:00-5:40pm

OR

Session 2 – Monday July 21st – Friday August 1st

Morning program: 10:00am-10:40am

Evening program: 5:00-5:40pm

Register – By July 18th for Session 2 by calling Melissa Miller or Laura Weir at 518-279-1155. 

Moreau Lake (Saratoga/Capital Region)

Free learn-to-swim program in Moreau Lake for children age 6 months through 5 years. (A guardian must be in the water with the 6 month to 3 year olds, and a guardian must be present for all children in lessons.) 

Session:

Monday – Friday, July 14 – 25, 2014

10:00am – 10:50am OR 5:00pm – 5:30pm

Taughannock Falls (Finger Lakes)

Free learn-to-swim program for ages 6 through 12. Participants will be divided into classes according to skill level. TCAT Bus transportation is available to participants.

Session 1: July 7 – 18

Times available: 11am-11:30am; 11:30am-12pm; 1pm-1:30pm; 1:30pm-2pm

Session 2: July 21 – August 1

Times available: 11am-11:30am; 11:30am-12pm; 1pm-1:30pm; 1:30pm-2pm

Roberto Clemente (New York City)

Free learn-to-swim program in Roberto Clemente State Park’s pool.

Session I     7/7-7/18 2 classes 9-9:45am or 6:15-7pm

Session II    7/21-8/1 2 classes 9-9:45am or 6:15-7pm

Session III   8/4-8/15 2 classes 9-9:45am or 6:15-7pm

Register at the park.

Riverbank (New York City)

Free learn-to-swim programs in Riverbank State Park’s pool. Registration full.

Session I     7/7-7/18 9-9:45am

Session II    7/21-8/1 9-9:45am

Session III   8/4-8/15 9-9:45am

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. From pristine lakes to Olympic-size swimming pools, New York State Parks abound with opportunities to stay cool in the summer months with 59 swimming beaches, 35 pools, and 2 spray parks. For tips on swimming safely this summer, please visit: http://www.nysparks.com/recreation/swimming/. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter. 

National Swimming Pool Foundation

Everything we do, we believe helps people live healthier lives. We believe we can make a difference by encouraging aquatic activity, making pools safer, and keeping them open. We do this by offering products and programs that are technically sound, convenient, and beautifully designed. Our products are designed to deliver excellence in education and cutting-edge research. NSPF certified instructors have trained over 350,000 professionals with the Certified Pool/Spa Operator® (CPO®) certification. Over $ 4 million in grants funded by NSPF since 2003 have impacted policies and practices around the world; and we attract hundreds of professionals from around the globe to the World Aquatic Health Conference each year to learn of the latest advances. To find ways to work together, go to www.nspf.org.

Step Into Swim Campaign

In 2012, the non-profit National Swimming Pool Foundation launched the Step Into SwimTM Campaign, a 10-year initiative to create 1 million more swimmers. Teaching people to swim is an investment in the future generations of healthier and safer people. The Campaign raises funds that are directly given to leading learn-to-swim organizations. Visit www.StepIntoSwim.org to learn more and to donate.

About the NESPA Foundation

Founded in 2009 by the Northeast Spa & Pool Association, the NESPA Foundation is a 501c3 philanthropic organization dedicated to enhancing the professionalism of the pool and spa industry through promotion, education and research, safety, and charitable endeavors. To learn more visit www.nespafoundation.org.