Thirty-six swimmers across St George are advancing to the level of swim instructor, expanding their teaching skills and earning potential, thanks to a generous donation from the Sandals Foundation.
The philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International has donated EC$15,000 to fund an 8-month swim instructor programme under the Get Grenada Swimming initiative, which is run by Grenada Youth Adventures and aims to strengthen the island’s swim culture.
Nataly Regis, Swim Coach at the Ministry of Sports and Programme Coordinator, stated that this has been a fantastic opportunity for the participants to learn and hone their teaching skills, ensuring the sustainability of swimming on the island. “Because the goal of this component of the programme is to certify each participant as a professional swim instructor, the sessions are very informative and can be a little intense. The group has been very receptive, and their eagerness to learn demonstrates their love of swimming as well as teaching, which is important.”
The programme began in December of last year, with swimmers participating for various reasons.
Ishen Grant, a participant, shared that the death of a family friend who drowned inspired him to become a swim instructor to teach children in his community. “When my son’s friend drowned, it hit home for me. I promised myself that I would go learn more about swimming, the different techniques and practices, so that I could come and teach the youngsters in my community how to swim. This way, they’ll all learn and be empowered to navigate the waters we love.”
With already 4 months into the programme, participants have been exposed to different aspects of swimming including water safety, various strokes, sports psychology, and business models for planning and marketing themselves as swim instructors.
Catherine John, a participant and Swim Site Supervisor at Grenada Marine for over 6 years, explained how her exposure to the business side of swimming is assisting her in developing structured programmes that will position her to attract clients. “While working at the marina and seeing the opportunity to teach adults to swim, I became interested in becoming a certified swim instructor. Being a part of this programme and being exposed to the business models has piqued my interest even more because I am learning how to make my instructor business more profitable, structured, and able to attract clients.”
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation, expressed her delight at the participants’ progress. “We are so thrilled to see the tremendous progress that participants have been making, and even more inspired by the stories informing their decisions to take part in the programme. Swimming is a lifelong and lifesaving skill that every Caribbean national should have and we are so happy to help make this possible.”
“We are even more pleased that we were able to work with the Get Grenada Swimming team to increase the number of certified instructors, which not only strengthens the swim legacy on the island, but also provides a source of income for new swim coaches. This level of sustainability will have a lasting effect for generations,” said Clarke.
Participants of the Get Grenada Swimming will be trained in levels 1 and 2 of the swim instructor programme so that they can spread these waves of change across the island, ushering children and adults alike into swimming.
Sandals Foundation encourages everyone to take part in the upcoming National Learn To Swim week being held at 16 locations around Grenada 19-23 April. Register at www.getgrenadaswimming.com or call (473) 404-5237.