Summer at the Y: Time to Do More, Learn More, Be More

Splash Bash

With summer officially underway, the Y is at our busiest and best as thousands of kids families walking through the doors of our 27 family centers serving nearly 100 neighborhoods.

From swim lessons and reading classes to team sports and summer camp, it’s a season for learning, growing and developing new skills and values that last a lifetime.

Here’s a quick look at what’s happened so far – and we’re just getting started:


Splashing Into Water Safety

More than 1,000 at-risk kids recently took part in free swim lessons to keep them safe, confident and secure around water this summer.

Included were 750 youth who participated in our Splash Bash Celebration held at four of our 11 Outreach Ys: Wayne Densch YMCA, South Orlando YMCA, Blanchard Park YMCA and the Osceola YMCA. Intermixed with a lot of fun were important lessons about water safety and survival techniques. 

Another 350 kids from Fern Creek Elementary received free swim lessons and bathing suites thanks to the Downtown and Winter Park YMCA Family Centers, Fern Creek Elementary School and the Fern Creek Boosters.

Rowdy Gaines, Olympic Gold Medalist and YMCA Aquatic Director, was there to cheer them on. It’s all part of the Y’s mission-driven commitment to prevent childhood drowning, especially among kids who might not otherwise have access to lessons.

Safe Start

We’ve also proudly registered nearly 500 babies and toddlers for Safe Start lessons so far this year.

Sponsored by Dr. Phillips Charities, Safe Start is the Y’s groundbreaking infant water survival program that’s kept more than 13,400 children safe around water since 1999.

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And our Loreleis, a competitive synchronized swim team which trains at the YMCA Aquatic Center, will soon be competing at the USA National Synchronized Swimming Competition in Seattle, Wash. It’s the first time our team has qualified at this level and it’s a big thrill for all of us.

Healthy Bodies. Healthy Minds

Not long ago, we partnered with NBA FIT, Florida Hospital for Children and the American College of Sports Medicine to host a basketball fitness and nutrition clinic at the South Orlando YMCA.

Instructors led more than 150 kids through fitness drills and obstacles, while representatives from Florida Hospital’s Healthy 100 Kids program provided information about the importance of nutrition and family fitness.

Y Summer Camp: Where the Learning Lives On

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With word spreading fast about the Y’s educationally based summer camp, registration is already 20% ahead of last year.

In 2013, we had 22,000 camp registrations – our biggest year ever – and we expect to top 30,000 this year.

It’s a great opportunity to reach even more kids with our academically based curriculum focused on Values, Reading, Wellness and Strengthening Families. In addition to providing 6.5 million minutes of reading time, kids also benefitted from 3.7 million minutes of values based-lessons and 9.2 million minutes of physical activity.