By Yvonne Dick
The Ponoka Aquaplex has been instrumental in helping kids learn the Swim to Survive program and this year the Lifesaving Society presented the Town of Ponoka with its Affiliate Recognition Award.
According to the Lifesaving Society, the Class 20C award recognizes individual affiliates having accumulated the highest point total for teaching the Swim to Survive program within an Alberta or Northwest Territory community of less than 7,500.
“Swim to Survive is a pretty basic, easy program for kids to learn. Most drowning incidents happen within 50 metres of the edge of the water, and this program teaches kids to swim two pool lengths, to tread water, how to enter the water and be able to wait there for help,” says Jackie Olson, pool operator/instructor for the Ponoka Aquaplex.
Swim to Survive is offered only through the schools, but Olson says that if there is enough community interest courses may be considered for other aquaplex patrons.
Offered through a bursary system that schools can apply for, students are brought to the pool for this three-day, three-session course.
“Many of the kids we’ve seen have never even been in a pool. They are able to learn this skill fairly easily,” Olson said. If they have no prior water knowledge, life-jackets can be used during the teaching.
“It isn’t as in depth as the Red Cross swimming programs, but it’s a great beginner course for kids who are scared of the water.”