News & Events

YWCA and Boys and Girls Club Team Up to Teach Kids to Swim


For Immediate Release:

YWCA Central Maine and the Lewiston/Auburn Boys and Girls club renewed their partnership to bring swim lessons to youth in the community. This was the second summer that the two local non-profits have partnered to teach introductory swimming skills to more than sixty youth from the Lewiston-Auburn community through twice weekly visits to the YWCA pool in Lewiston.

“Swim lessons can often be seen as a fun summer activity, but it is an invaluable lifesaving skill,” said Laurie Pearson, YWCA’s Health and Wellness Director. “Here in Maine, we have access to lakes, rivers, and the ocean, which can be both beautiful and dangerous without proper education and safety skills. We spent 7 weeks teaching children valuable skills such as how to float, what to do if you need help, and how to safely enjoy all the bodies of water Maine has to offer. I was honored to be a part of such an important partnership.”

The swimming instruction program uses funding and a curriculum from the Michael Phelps Foundation, teaching youth how to safely enter and exit the pool, front and back float, and an introduction to both breaststroke and freestyle. The sessions also highlighted basic water safety rules like always swimming near a lifeguard, identifying if/when it is safe to jump or swim, and what to do if you find yourself in an unsafe situation.

Both organizations were thrilled to see the progress each child made throughout the summer, as most of the participants had little to no swimming experience at the start of the program. “The second year running the Michael Phelps (Swim Program) at the YWCA was a great success,” said Gary Violette, the Lewiston/Auburn Area Director of the Boys and Girls Club. “We increased the number of kids from 53 to 64. Members swam twice a week for eight weeks. We could not have accomplished our program goals without the support and guidance from the YWCA.”

YWCA Central Maine and the Lewiston/Auburn Boys and Girls Club hope to continue this important work for years to come. For more information on YWCA’s work, visit For more information on the Boys and Girls Club’s work, visit