Boys & Girls Club offers free water safety camp

Boys & Girls Club offers free water safety camp

CUMBERLAND - Children ages 5 to 9 are invited to register for a free four-day camp held at the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln during April vacation to learn about the basics of water safety.

ZAC Water Safety Camp, for children of all swimming abilities, consists of swim lessons, classroom time, and lessons with local first responders, as well as a lunch and snack each day from Monday, April 21, through Thursday, April 24.

"It's going to be fun," said Tamara Burman, the club's director of operations.

The camp is an extension of The ZAC Foundation, named for 6-year-old Zachary Archer Cohn of Connecticut, who drowned in a drain entrapment in 2007. The organization offers the camp through a national partnership initiative with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 10 of which were selected through an application process based on their commitment to advancing water safety.

Burman said as a swimmer and Red Cross instructor, the goal to have children feel safe around water is a cause near to her heart.

This program will focus less on stroke technique and more on safety, she said, specifically the ABC and D's of water safety - adult supervision, barriers around water, water safety classes and educating children about drain safety.

Lessons will focus on bodies of water in the area, like the Blackstone River and beaches, to teach kids about dangers like undercurrents. The in-water component involves floating, Burman said, and learning not to swim near a pool drain.

"We're really trying to apply it to everyday life," she said.

Organizers also hope to encourage families to talk about water safety, something Burman said is often not done if the parents themselves are uncomfortable around water.

Camp schedule is as follows:

* Monday, April 21, from 8:45 a.m. to noon - Opening ceremony, swim lesson, police first responder, classroom time, lunch.

* Tuesday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to noon - Swim lesson, EMS first responder, classroom time, lunch.

* Wednesday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to noon - Swim lesson, fire first responder, classroom time, lunch.

* Thursday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to noon - Swim lesson, Red Cross responder, classroom time, closing ceremony, lunch.

Additional child care is available until 5:30 p.m. each day and on Friday for a fee.

Registration is now open, and space is limited. For more information, call the club, located at 1 James McKee Way, at 401-333-4850.