Number of Participants: 30
Hours Donated: 6
Value of Time Served: $1,521
Event Type: Children & Youth
Date: November 9, 2022
Triton Regional High School
Elm Street, Byfield
The expectation is that around 75-80% of the team will participate in this project.
Levels of participation vary. The captains have done a lot of work behind the scenes to plan and set up the classroom visits and the Water Safety Day, and they’ve also helped in recruiting their teammates to get involved, designing flyers, etc. The rest of the team meets to practice their classroom visits and then will help with our Water Safety Day at the Ipswich YMCA on Saturday, November 19th, where we’re partnering with the YMCA and New England Swimming to open the pool to the community from 2-4pm. They might be helping to teach attendees in the pool, demonstrating CPR, or helping direct people where they’re supposed to go when they arrive. We may also try to get a letter-writing campaign going to the legislature in support of a water safety unit being added to gym classes, etc.
Captains, have volunteered approximately 20 hours with this project and the Rest of the team had volunteered between 4-6 hours.
Here’s the pitch we originally sent to our Athletic Director and the other ADs from our Co-Op teams:
Towards the end of the school year, Tim had reached out to me and asked whether the swim team had been able to complete any service hours this year. Unfortunately, our in-season covid restrictions didn’t permit anything last year, but the captains and I have been talking about it over the summer, have an idea for this year that we’re actually pretty excited about, and we wanted to bring it to all of you early, as we’ll need a little (non-financial) support from all the co-op schools.
As you might be aware, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 14 (behind car crashes) and the leading overall cause for children under 4. According to the CDC, 80% of drowning victims are male. Communities of color are disproportionately affected due to generational lack of access to safe swimming areas and instruction. In May of 2021 alone, there were 18 drownings in Massachusetts, with the victims mostly children and teens. Even non-fatal drownings, which occur 8 times as frequently, can lead to permanent disability at a very young age.
Here’s the most important part (and where the swim team comes in): Nearly all drownings are preventable.
In discussing what a service project might look like, we came up with the following ideas/concepts
- Swimmers could team up in groups of 2-3 to visit elementary school classrooms at their home schools to give a talk about water safety. IMO 3rd grade is ideal for this, and a smaller individual classroom setting would probably be less intimidating for the swimmers (and more engaging) than a bigger assembly. With 35-40 team members, we feel we have the number we’d need to make this work.
- New England Swimming and the Red Cross both have free resources available that I think would be ideal starting points
- A number of our swimmers are certified lifeguards who could give a community CPR demonstration – the evidence is anecdotal, but there are numerous cases where kids have been able to save friends and relatives simply by having seen CPR performed in a movie. (There was one recent case in the Washington Post where a young father was saved by his ten-year-old sons because they did CPR on him after seeing it in The Sandlot. The real opportunity here is to include more important information, like how to help a friend in need SAFELY. It’s all too easy to have one tragedy turn into multiple otherwise.
- Having done similar things in the past, for little kids, having a high schooler come and spend their time talking with you is about the coolest thing ever – something like this can really have a lasting impact.
- The swimmers could distribute a flyer for the kids to take home to parents about water safety at home, and possibly info about where things like swimming lessons are available in their communities.
- Ideally, we’d like to see this expand beyond the co-op schools – we also talked about friends from other schools/teams who might be interested in getting involved, and/or reaching out to local and state reps about introducing a water safety unit into elementary education in Massachusetts.
Peyton Gibbs (Senior, Triton Regional High School): “The captains and I had been working with Rebecca since the end of last season to put together a service project for our team. With drownings being one of the leading causes of death for children, we decided that we wanted to give back to our communities by teaching local, young students about the importance of water safety. Being a swimmer, lifeguard, and swim instructor, I understand firsthand just how important water safety is for everyone, especially children.”
Henry Brien (Senior, Pentucket Regional High School): “I’ve been teaching swim lessons for a while, and one thing that I’ve always felt isn’t necessarily brought up enough in these lessons is water safety. So when the other captains and I first brainstormed this idea I thought it would be a very nice way to help children be as safe as they possibly can when in or near the water.”
Abriana Cronstrom (Junior, Newburyport High School): “Drowning is one of the top causes of death and after local drownings that happened, we decided we wanted to do something. As swimmers, we wanted to share our passion and we know that we can help kids learn how to be safe around the water.”