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Registration for free swim lessons with Huron-Clinton Metroparks opens May 17

Posted at 6:38 AM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 06:38:23-04

Registration opens Friday for free swin lessons with the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, which has worked to address the drowning disparity across metro Detroit.

May is National Water Safety Month and statistics show that drowning his low-income families and children of color the hardest. Black children between the ages of 5-19 are 5 1/2 times as likely to die from drowning.

The Metorparks organization has worked to increase access to free swim lessons and they have given them to more than 4,000 kids across southwest Michigan since 2021.

“Metroparks and our community partners have made incredible progress in recent years to provide more families in Southeast Michigan with swim lessons and water skills so they can safely enjoy spending time in pools and bodies of water, but the reality is, while we’ve done so much, there is still so much more that we all can do,” said Metroparks Director Amy McMillan. “By partnering with community organizations to provide free lessons and expanding lifeguard training programs, we as a community can help prevent families in Michigan from experiencing the often-preventable devastation and tragedy of drowning.”

Last year, advanced registration for the 2023 lessons filled up within 24 hours of opening, and winter 2024 lessons filled up within an hour.

Now, they are expanding the "Everyone in the Pool" initiative with a goal of supporting at least 6,000 swim lessons by 2028.

Lessons start as early as June and participants will receive a free swimsuit, goggles, towel, bag and swim cap.

“Next year we hope the swim program is bigger than this year’s, and bigger the year after that,” said McMillan. “Our biggest hope is that every single child who lives in southeast Michigan learns how to swim and will be safe in the water for their entire lives, but we can’t do it alone. We are asking other partners and organizations to step up and help solve this issue regionally.”

Locations for the swim lessons this year include:

Those partners for summer 2024 lessons include:

  • Howell Highlander Aquatic Center (Livingston County)
  • Macomb Family YMCA (Macomb County)
  • Oakland County Parks- Waterford Oaks (Oakland County)
    • With additional supporting partners Oakland County Sherrif PAL, CENTRO Multicultural La Familia and Pontiac Parks and Recreation to reach underserved populations particularly in the Pontiac area.
  • Ann Arbor YMCA- Birkett Lake (Washtenaw County)
  • Friends of Rutherford Pool (Washtenaw County)
    • Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation is also a contributing partner
  • City of Detroit Parks and Recreation (Wayne County)
    • Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is also a contributing partner
  • Wayne County Parks- Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Park (Wayne County)
  • Adult swim lessons through Metropolitan YMCA (Wayne, Macomb, Oakland Counties)
  • Adult swim lessons through Whitmore Lake Public Schools (Livingston/Washtenaw Counties)

Registration for these lessons opens on May 17 at 10am on the Metroparks website