Thousand Oaks Rotary Donates $10,000 to Southeast Ventura County YMCA’s “Safety Around Water” Program

Thousand Oaks, Calif.—The Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks has donated $10,000 to the Southeast Ventura County YMCA’s Safety Around Water (SAW) program, designed to teach children water safety and basic swimming skills. The one-week classes will be held at the Conejo Valley YMCA indoor pool. All classes are offered at no cost to the participants and are open to the public.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 3,500 people drown each year in the U.S. One in five of those who drown are children age 14 and under. For every child that drowns, another five are treated for near-drowning-related injuries. “The YMCA wants to do its part in ensuring that every child in the Conejo Valley has the skills to be safe around water,” says Megan Glynn, the Y’s senior director of advancement. “SAW does not take the place of swim classes. SAW is a water survival program.”

Conejo Valley Rotary President Tim Weaver spearheaded the effort to provide the funds for SAW. He was a Red Cross water safety instructor for more than 10 years. “I have a grandson and we put a fence around our pool, but that’s not enough,” says Weaver. “In California, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under five. It only takes one second of distraction for a child to drown. SAW is a project Rotary knew we needed to be involved with.”

During SAW classes, children learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations including how to float on their backs, reach the water’s surface if they become submerged and safely reach a pool’s edge.  

Classes will be scheduled around spring break next year and again around Memorial Day. The five, 30-minute classes are designed for those with little or no swimming experience. Participants are grouped by age: preschool (3 to 5 year olds) and youth (6 to 10 year olds). Morning, afternoon and early evening classes are available. Kids who complete the class receive a free program t-shirt. Adult classes will also be scheduled.

“We expect to have between 150 and 200 participants,” says Glynn. “This year, the Simi Valley Family YMCA’s SAW classes drew more than 125 participants.”

Families interested in learning more about SAW and who want to be notified when registration opens, can contact Annie Dyess, Conejo Y executive director,, or call the Conejo Y at 805-523-7613.

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