by Deb Eastwood, Director GYA (Grenada Youth Adventurers)
For the 8th year in a row, Republic Bank has sponsored the National Learn to Swim Week each April.
“This is extraordinary consistency,” quotes Deb Eastwood, Director of the Get Grenada Swimming programmes. “Republic Bank has been a visionary with us since we launched National Learn to Swim Week in 2015. Over the years, their support and contributions have increased to more than half the costs of running the Easter swim week and, if totalled, their contributions over those years, equate to almost $100,000. We could not have consistently delivered these swim weeks (or even started the programme) without their support.”
Eastwood also noted the support of organisations like Budget Marine, Star Malt/Ting, Waggy-T and IAL who have been consistent supporters.
During the recent Republic Bank National Learn to Swim Week, held 19-23 April, 576 swimmers were taught by 137 swim instructors at 13 locations throughout Grenada. The overall numbers were down because there were 5 less locations, due mainly to sargassum along the east coast venues and several other issues, but overall, the week was considered a wonderful success.
There was a special emphasis on teaching more adults by extending the swim lessons until 6 pm to accommodate the working population.
Eastwood commented that the highlight was the number of new swimmers at Telescope Beach, an area where they have put a lot of focus in the last 6 months. “In December, we held a “Pop-Up Swim Week” and then we started a Saturday morning swim program in February. In March and April, we partnered with the Seventh Day Adventist Church and went up to Telescope on Sunday afternoons to teach volunteers from the church to be swim instructors. They did an amazing job teaching almost 70 new swimmers during the Republic Bank National Learn to Swim Week. Starting on 15 May, the Seventh Day Adventists are going to run Sunday morning programmes for free swim lessons to complement the Saturday morning lessons already in place.
Focus on certifying 100 Professional Swim Instructors
Get Grenada Swimming now has an initiative to certify 100 Professional Swim Instructors over the next 5 years (along with teaching 10,000 swimmers). Nataly Regis, facilitator for this initiative, has quoted, “We need to get more instructors hands-on. We need to save lives and empower others to learn to swim.” Regis has been working tirelessly giving her weekends up for the past 6 months in delivering multiple programmes towards these goals. For more info on the Certified Professional Swim Instructor Programmes, contact 404-5237.
For those who missed the week, or wish to continue their training, free lessons will continue Saturdays at Birchgrove, Cabier Beach, Grand Anse (Umbrellas), Grand Mal, Grenada Marine, Gouyave, Sauteurs Breakwater, Telescope and Petite Martinique. More info at www.getgrenadaswimming.com or call 404-5237.
The next National Learn to Swim Week is scheduled for 11-15 July. Register at www.getgrenadaswimming.com.