While living at the lake, a certain accountability comes with enjoying the water. Among the many responsibilities that a patron needs to follow, water safety and swimming knowledge sit right at the top.
While living at the lake, a certain accountability comes with enjoying the water. Among the many responsibilities that a patron needs to follow, water safety and swimming knowledge sit right at the top. With drowning incidents happening throughout the lake area monthly, Camdenton Parks and Recreation Director Larry Bennett is using his access to the community pool to help educate water safety.
Working alongside Recreation Specialist Travis Brock, Bennett has made it a priority in 2019 to expand on the city’s available swim lessons. Brock says the city now offers morning sessions, evening sessions and ever private lessons for all ages. He says that the amount of interest they’ve seen has quadrupled within the last year. At the focus of these lessons is not only the ability to maneuver in the water, but also general water safety.
“An excellent swimmer can drown,” Brock said. “Water safety is really a piece that we are trying to incorporate into our lessons.”
Brock says that when he was young and learning to swim, life jackets and floating devices were not a norm. Now, as a trainer of not only novices but also staffed life guards, he says safety is the first lesson.
Bennett has been with the Parks and Rec department for five years and lessons have been a part of their scheduling all five years. However, in past years, the pool only housed one instructor. Now, the staff have doubled instructors available during the warm months and Brock is moving to train new instructors and lifeguards in the winter.
Four to twelve-year-olds are among the leading ages Brock encounters at his regular lessons. Even so, he says adults have reached out about learning to swim and the main reason why is to feel more secure while on the lake. Brock says he encounters many lake patrons who want to learn the best safety measures not only for themselves, but for their toddlers.
Because of this common interest, the Camdenton Aquatic Center is now opening up lessons to parents and tots of ages from ages 1-3. Bennett says that, over time, he has learned that getting kids into the water as soon as possible and to feel comfort is a great benefit later in life.
“It becomes easier to teach how to swim and how to be safe because the kids will grow without fear of the water,” Bennett said. “It helps them relax, which can be one of the biggest hurdles to cross.”
Once the pool staff decided to announce these plans, Brock says they received a great interest almost immediately.
“We sat down and looked at the numbers and I said ‘Larry, look’”, Brock said.
Now, whether it be providing an early feel for the water or instructing on better water safety for adults, Bennett says he feels the pool is fully utilizing the weather throughout the whole summer with a greater purpose.
Parent and Tot classes begin Aug. 14-16 and Aug 21-23 from 11:00 to 11:30. The three-day classes are $30 and are open for enrollment now at camdenton.recdesk.com.