At a time when the industry works to expand its focus from just the nuts and bolts of business to also promoting and appreciating the benefits of water and aquatics, the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Step Into Swim (SIS) program allocates funds to various organizations that help children learn to swim. The program’s stated goal: Create 1 million new swimmers by 2022.
In time for the holiday season, NSPF has taken stock of this year’s SIS beneficiaries. More than $75,000 was donated to the program, which provides grants to selected clubs and organizations for their learn-to-swim instruction and water activities.
“We’ve gone around the world to help the industry fund local programs,” said NSPF CEO Thomas Lachocki, Ph.D. “An increasing number of leaders are experiencing the joy of giving locally and creating more swimmers who use and enjoy local pools.”
Here is a rundown of how recipients have used their funding this year:
• Local swim programs through Master Pools Guild: The pool-builder organization contributed to 14 programs located near its members, allowing thousands of children to learn to swim in Alabama, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and British Columbia, Canada, along with Australia and India.
• Angels of America’s Fallen: This organization partnered with NSPF to create Lessons From Lylah, which helps children of fallen military and first responders access swimming as a way to cope. This year, it provided 170 children with access to swimming activities. Most of these youngsters remain in water sports.
• YMCA: Nine locations throughout the U.S. used the funds for its Safety Around Water program. YMCA of Blue Ridge, Virginia, reported participation of more than 2,000 second graders. Palomar Family YMCA in Escondido, Calif., instructed 100 children in grades 1-5.
• Jewish Community Centers: Twenty JCCs taught swimming and water safety to children with autism spectrum disorder.
• New York State Parks: Funding was used at 27 locations to help grow its statewide learn-to-swim program. Through hundreds of classes, approximately 3,000 children benefited.
• SwimToday: The USA Swimming initiative encourages people to join a swim club. This year, Step Into Swim funds were allocated to a marketing initiative that spurred approximately 105,200 individuals to become year-round members.
To donate to SIS, go to stepintoswim.org. For those interested in grants, the next round of applications will be accepted from Jan. 1-March 2, 2018.