by Donella Hosten
After 9 months of ups and downs, hard work and commitment, the first ever Sandals Community Swim Instructor Programme, which commenced in March 2017, came to an end, with a short graduation ceremony on Saturday, 13 January 2018.
Hotel Manager of Sandals LaSource, Supratik Guha, addressed the gathering and stated how pleased he is with the outcome of this programme, a necessary life-saving skill that’s also fun. “I can’t think of another life-saving skill that’s fun as well,” he said jokingly. Guha reminded the participants that they are the ones who are there to support learners and those who may have a fear of swimming.
Deleon Forrester, Sandals LaSource Public Relations Manager, said the programme is part of the Sandals Foundation Community Initiatives. “It’s something that we saw as necessary.” The foundation realised that swimming in Grenada needed assistance to be developed, and was more than happy to collaborate with Deb Eastwood, Director of Grenada Youth Adventures (GYA), who had indicated that there was a lack of instructors and volunteers. According to statistics, the average Grenadian unfortunately cannot swim.
Lead instructor for the programme, Natalie Regis, Senior Coach affiliated with the Ministry of Sports and by extension swimming in Grenada, expressed sincerest gratitude to Sandals for embracing the programme. According to her, when they initially planned the programme, they were hoping to get at least 10 participants, but were pleasantly surprised to receive 31 applications.
The programme was divided into 3 categories:
- Level 1 covered the basics on how to teach, and the methodological steps needed to be followed
- Level 2 covered introduction to coaching and understanding the athletes or students being taught
- Level 3 evaluation, practicals and theories.
20 persons completed Level 1, 14 completed Level 2, and 9 completed Level 3.
“It was a wonderful journey,” Regis added. “The instructors really proved that they were ready to embark on a journey of helping others to accomplish the goal that we have set up, which is to get Grenada aqua safe…”
A moment of silence acknowledged one of the participants who passed away late last year, Dennis Roberts.
Eastwood thanked and congratulated all who made the programme possible. “We cannot do it without you.” She revealed that the GYA’s goal is to teach 8,000 children between the ages of 5–14 to swim by 2021. In 2017, they taught 2,000, through school programmes and other initiatives. Eastwood also encouraged the participants to go out into their respective communities and continue teaching.