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Water Safety Camp at the Library

Saturday morning was a little different than most, for seven local elementary students who attended Colleton Counties first water safety class being offered by the local non-profit, Village Investment Project, (VIP) a grass roots organization that seeks to build a stronger community one child at a time through information, education and recreation. Zyonna Garden, Angel Garden, Jeffrey Hall, Samere Lee, Montoyia Chisolm, Earielle Ruth and Sumiya Hankerson became the first students in Colleton County to receive water safety instruction through “Swim Lessons University(R) ” at the Colleton County Memorial Library.
Swim Lesson University curriculum is the official Learn-to-Swim program for AAU swimming and the world Aquatic Babies and Children’s network. The program was created by Master swim coach and trainer Jim Reiser. The inspiration for the coarse came from S.C State Representative Wendall Gilliard who reached out to Mr. Reiser about creating a program that would help children learn about water safety and how to swim. A bill was proposed by Rep. Gilliard that requires one-hour of water safety instruction in the classroom in every elementary school in the State.
The VIP recognizes the need for such a program for local students and have made the connection and began the process of becoming a certified SLU Swim Instructor for the Lowcountry. The students were accompanied by their parent and guardians who kept the children under control and quiet as the class was being conducted. The entire class patiently watched the DVDs on water safety and the basics of swimming, starting with the flutter kick, breath control, and in-line kick. The instructor, Prince Anthony Rhone, discussed the better points of water safety, the lesson plan for the children and laid out the expectations for the day at the swimming pool in Beaufort scheduled for later in the month.
The class was approximately one hour and 20 minutes long. Every parent received VIP water safety tip sheet a welcome letter, Brochure and a lesson plan based on their child/children’s age. “The Next step is to get the children transportation to the Beaufort swimming pool, located next to the Beaufort High School.” Said Prince Anthony about pool accommodations. The Beaufort pool is a full size Olympic indoor swimming pool and the Beaufort County Parks and Leisure services has recognized the VIP as a water safety/swimming camp and have given us their support in helping our children learn how to swim and be water safe. In July the VIP will be offering swimming lessons for all ages. If you are interested in registering your child in the next water safety class or if you know someone who would like to take swimming lessons in July please call 843-562-7388 or send an email with your contact information to villageinvestmentproject@gmail.com.
Charleston County, as well as Beaufort County, makes swimming lessons available to all of their elementary students every year and in most cases the instruction is free to students who live in their school districts. The Village Investment Project is currently raising funds to purchase a “Portable Swimming Pool” so that the elementary students in Colleton County would not have to leave their community to learn about water safety and how to swim. We are submitting a proposal to the Colleton County Parks and Recreation Department that we hope can bring this opportunity to our community.
A swimming pool has been proposed for our community several times before in the past but we believe our plan will not only be cost effective and affordable but a very valuable asset as it relates to the lives of our children that would be saved. Death by drowning is the leading cause of death in children under five and the second leading cause of death in children under 12. Seven out of ten African-American children don’t know how to swim, six out of ten Hispanic and five out of ten Caucasian children do not know how to swim. The class was a small one, but it was a good start.
Thank you to the Parents and Guardians of the children, many of whom have admitted that they also do not know how to swim. These parents are making sure that their children will be able to have fun in the Water and be safe at the same time. If you would like to help us in our goal of bringing water safety and swim instruction to the youth of our community please send a check or money order to VIP P.O. Box 542 Walterboro S.C 29488 The VIP is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 organization. With your help, we look forward to bringing many other projects to improve opportunities for our youth in and around Colleton County.

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