YMCA Makes Big Splash for Water Safety at Fern Creek Elementary


As part of the Y’s century-long commitment to keeping kids safe, confident and secure around water, more than 350 Fern Creek Elementary students recently participated in free swim lessons at Cady Way Pool in Winter Park.

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Provided through a partnership between the Downtown and Winter Park YMCA Family Centers, Fern Creek Elementary School and Fern Creek Boosters, the lessons are part of a combined effort to reduce childhood drowning.

“In Florida, drowning is a leading cause of death among young children,” said Curt Klausner, YMCA Aquatics Director. “For low-income children, the risk is even higher. It’s why the Y is proud to partner with Fern Creek Elementary, a Title 1 School, to provide lessons for kids whose families cannot always afford them.”


In addition to free swim lessons, kids also received new bathing suits, towels and lots of encouragement from Y staff, including Rowdy Gaines, Olympic Gold Medalist and YMCA Aquatics Director.

This is the second year for the program, which was established through Jody Alexander, YMCA District Vice President and Fern Creek Principal Dr. Patrick Galatowitsch.

“The Fern Creek Swim Program is a great example of how the Y strengthens kids and families in the communities we serve,” Jody said. “As part of our commitment to Social Responsibility, the  Downtown Y supports the school in many other ways, including food drives, after-school programs and scholarship assistance for families in need.”