The YMCA has agreed to continue a program known as FISHES in conjunction with the Southern York School District in May.
FISHES stands for Free Instructional Swim Helps Every Second-Grader. The program, paid for through the YMCA, started last year and offers free swim lessons for second-graders who live in the district.
Rebecca Carver, aquatic director of the YMCA, presented an overview of the program and the changes that will go into effect this year at Thursday's school board meeting.
Drowning is the second leading cause of childhood accidental death, so the YMCA is committed to teaching the children of the county how to swim, she said.
The program provides free 45-minute swimming lessons for second-graders in the district every Tuesday for 10 weeks. The program will run from March 19 to May. That's a change from the 12-week program last year. Start times are at 5, 6 and 7 p.m.
The children will learn indoor pool, outdoor pool and beach safety in addition to swimming at the YMCA's southern branch, 100 Constitution Ave., Shrewsbury.
The children do not have to be members of the YMCA to participate and swimming experience is not required. A letter was sent home with all district second graders which can be used to prove eligibility.
Swimmers will be split into three groups based on their swimming experience. The first group will be those kids who have no experience, the second group kids with basic experience, and the third group kids who simply need to enhance their skills.
Swimmers will be evaluated throughout the program, and parents will receive a progress report at the end of the program informing the parents on what skills the child knows and what skills need improvement. That is new for this year.
In 2012, 65 students participated. This year the maximum enrollment will be 125. Evaluation and registration will take place at the YMCA on Tuesday, March 12, from 4 to 7 p.m.