YMCA’s Detroit Swims program offers free lessons on Belle Isle

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Detroit Swims, a program taught by the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, is a free water safety education program open to youth ages 8-13 at Belle Isle Park

DETROIT, MI – The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit encourages children and parents within Detroit and the surrounding area to explore the many benefits of swimming, while keeping safety top of mind.

Detroit Swims, created by Boll Family YMCA in 2010, focuses on teaching basic swimming skills and water safety education. This free program takes children that are fearful of water to accomplished swimmers in a a matter of weeks through instruction of safety skills and basic swim strokes. Since 2010, more than 5,500 children have graduated from the program. For the second year in a row, the free swim program will take place at Belle Isle Park at the beach.

The expansion of Detroit Swims to Belle Isle is a partnership between the YMCA, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the GM Foundation, the Born and Raised Detroit Foundation and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Belle Isle Park, a 985-acre island park located in the Detroit River near downtown Detroit, is rich with natural beauty and historical and cultural resources. The park is home to the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, walking trails, bicycle paths, a golf course, the James Scott Memorial Fountain and many more cultural and natural attractions popular with all ages and interests.

“Swimming is an important life safety skill that also provides hours of fun and numerous health benefits,” said Elena Crowley, director of community outreach at the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. “All children deserve access to water safety education, which provide an outlet for exercise and leisure throughout a person’s life.”

Detroit Swims swim lessons are free, and open only to Detroit residents ages 8-13 years. The Y provides swim suits, caps and goggles. Classes take place Wednesdays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon and Saturdays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon beginning Saturday, July 16. Parents or guardians must register in person at the Boll Family YMCA at 1401 Broadway in Detroit. Registration will be limited and is first-come, first-served.

“Working with the Detroit YMCA to bring water safety days and swim classes to Belle Isle is another great example of community partnerships on the island,” said Karis Floyd, park manager of Belle Isle Park and Milliken State Park and Harbor. “This swimming program not only provides water safety instruction, but outdoor recreational experiences for youth.”

For more information, please contact Elena Crowley (YMCA) at 313-309-9622.

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