Safety Around Water

Each year, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids teaches 100s of children life-saving swimming and water safety skills that build confidence, encourage physical activity, and increase safety for youth in and around water. The Y’s Safety Around Water program is held in partnership with local school districts and funded through donations and grant support. The curriculum is delivered by trained instructors who have exhibited both the technical skills required and the social and emotional skills necessary to create an engaging learning environment for all.

We can prevent accidental deaths

The YMCA teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, if you know how to stay safe in and around water. Learning water safety skills can serve kids for their whole lives. Whether on camping trips, pool parties or trips to the beach, when kids are prepared, the chance of accident decreases significantly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old. In low income and minority communities, the youth drowning rates are two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. Additionally, six out of 10 African American and Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their White counterparts.

As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around water, scholarships for swim instruction and water safety are provided to 1,000’s of vulnerable children from school groups in the Greater Grand Rapids area each year.

The Y is a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety in the Grand Rapids community. Thanks to volunteers, YMCA staff, and funding partners, thousands of youth build safety around water skills each year. The Y helps youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. In addition to Safety Around Water, aquatics programs at the Y include family swim, swim lessons, and pre-competitive swimming teams.


Together, we can make our community better, but we need your support. Your donations make programs like this possible. Your gift will give health, hope, and access to a healthier lifestyle by removing financial barriers to this important curriculum.

You can see our Safety Around Water program in action and watch our feature at