Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:25PM - 154 Views

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Special to the Daily News

During the summer of 2012 the Larry Joe Harless Community Center has focused on swim skills and water safety.

Through the generosity of local sponsors and funding assistance from the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Logan Healthcare Foundation, the center has provided swimming and water education to numerous area children.

This summer, area children have learned basic swim skills to prevent drowning. Swim Camps have been under the direction of Eric Hatfield and Dustin Lester, Starfish Aquatic Instructor/Trainers.

The Starfish Aquatic Program is a risk management system and competency-based training program complemented by exemplary service and cost-effective support. Starfish Swimming is a total learn-to-swim and water safety curriculum for all ages and stages of aquatic development—toddlers through competitive swimmers.

The center has completed two summer swim camps this year. All children were given survival skills to Survival float and tread water for 30 seconds. Campers were also taught to jump in, submerge, recover for air, roll on back for five seconds. These basic skills allow more response time in the event of an accidental submersion.

The Larry Joe Harless Community Center is a partner with the USA Swimming Foundation in the “make a Splash” campaign.

Make a Splash is the national, child-focused water safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation. Make a Splash partners with learn-to-swim providers across the country in an effort to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim.

This year’s Make A Splash spokesperson is Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones. He knows the importance of learning to swim at an early age. When he was five-years-old, he swam to a part of the pool he wasn’t supposed to – the deep end. That day he nearly drowned and lost his life. But instead of allowing the fear to engulf him, Jones went ahead and asked his parents to teach him how to swim.

“We believe that learning or improving one’s ability to swim is one of the most important and vital ‘life skills’ and should be given the highest priority by parents when organizing extra-curricular activities for their children.” said Cheryl Mitchem, Executive Director of the LJHCC. “Acquiring confidence in this essential skill could not only save your life one day, but quite possibly the lives of others around you. The ability to swim is a skill which can enhance your fitness, health and well – being throughout your life.”

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