The pool is perhaps one of the toughest areas of campus recreation to bring home. But, it shouldn’t be ignored, especially during National Water Safety Month.
Cheryl Richardson, the aquatics coordinator at Kennesaw State University, is finding ways to take the idea of water safety and bring it to students and the local community. One of the biggest ways is through continuing education.
Richardson shared prior to going 100% virtual, they were already using Red Cross’ Longfellow’s WHALE Tales program, a series of high-quality videos, to pair with in-person lessons for parents and children to learn water safety at an early age. And with many of the rivers and lakes open to the public in Georgia – and Kennesaw State’s pool closed — she said the lessons and education are still necessary. “We thought you don’t have to just be in the pool to be water safe,” said Richardson.
So, the department built simple PowerPoints with images, videos, activity page links and prompting questions for parents to deliver to their children as they went through this course on water safety at home. But, they didn’t stop there.
Richardson said students can use the framework of the lessons as well. For that reason, she went out and pulled videos from reputable sources, like Life Jackets Float. Do You? from the American Canoe Association. “We made an adult pairing where we’ll do the tips and have the video shown for the adults, so that way students can go through and get the same, but more relevant information,” she said.
The marketing team plans to push out these educational offerings along with a Water Tip of the Week during the next eight weeks, four of those in National Water Safety Month. “We are pushing that out to our students because we have an Outdoor Adventures department,” said Richardson. “They sponsor trips and stuff like that, so that’s a really good video for our students.”
Despite quarantine, Richardson said aquatics departments need to be pushing water safety tips and the importance of swim lessons when you reopen. It’s a life skill that is necessary to know. “Everyone should know the basics of swimming because so much of the surface area of the earth is covered with water,” she said. “It’s something you need to know to how to do because sooner or later you’re going to be in a situation where you’re near one of those.”
And you don’t have to do it alone. Richardson suggested partnering with your local lakefronts and parks, as well as various organizations, to promote water safety and future swim lessons together. Plus, look for dryland resources for swimmers. She suggested taking a look at Swimmer’s Edge Yoga that offers yoga for swimmers specifically.
All in all, in order to keep aquatics and water safety top of mind, you have to remind those around you. Swimming is a life skill, so aquatics cannot be left behind, even while at home. “The more we push, the less we’ll be forgotten,” she said.