Urban Lifeguard Academy


Because we care about children’s safety and because we have over 100 years of experience teaching people how to swim, the YMCA developed a process to teach minority children some basic water safety skills and help them have fun around water at the same time.

Our pre-test and post-test results compel us to try to grow this initiative and reach even more children and families. Only if we’re successful in helping parents understand how critical these skills are to the safety and well-being of their children will we be satisfied that we are making progress.

Ten swim skills are tested on the first and last day of the lessons. Ten points were awarded for each skill completed. Results were measured by how many more points were received on the post-test compared to the pre-test results.


92% of students reported they swam often in the summer
5% could swim 20 yards - a measure for kids swimming without a parent
0% of students could perform all ten skills that were tested


82% could swim 20 yards


At the YMCA, we believe inability to pay the full fee should never be a barrier for safety. The YMCA Urban Swim initiative removes this economic barrier by offering swim lessons at a reduced price or no cost.


The YMCA Urban Swim Academy is designed to increase the number of minority youth that are certified as lifeguards and trained to save lives in pools, lakes and waterfronts.


Through a partnership with local schools , students receive swim lessons during their school day. This program increases water safety awareness and swimming skills. Upon completion of 8 lessons, participants receive a certificate and a family membership to the YMCA.