Facility Profile - April 2008
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A Huge Splash

Beaumont Centre Family YMCA in Lexington, Ky.

By Shay Bapple

hen Beth Satterfield took over the Beaumont Centre Family YMCA's aquatics program in Lexington, Ky., nearly a year ago, it was sitting at the bottom of the deep end of the pool. Today, under her direction, Beaumont's program has newfound life that has piqued interest way beyond expectations.

"The program here didn't have much of a direction and a not-so-good reputation," Satterfield said. "For the first couple of months after coming here, enrollment was very low."

One of the glaring downfalls to the program, according to Satterfield, was that the instructional staff was untrained and unreliable. Many of the instructors in the past were only lifeguards and didn't have proper aquatics training. They also were not very reliable in showing up on time at all for the lessons.

Today, Satterfield trains all 16 of her instructors so they can work toward their teaching certification before allowing them to pass on their knowledge to young swimmers. Instructors must follow lesson plans and shadow a certified instructor before taking over their own class.

"Part of the problem for disinterest in the program was that kids just weren't getting a good swim lesson," Satterfield explained.

Now Beaumont, which is the largest YMCA branch in central Kentucky, boasting 16,000 members and three swimming pools, is home to 120 swim lessons and 20 water fitness classes. Interest in the aquatics program these days doesn't seem to slow either. There were 280 kids enrolled in swimming lessons for the winter session and 32 were on a waiting list to gain a spot in the classes, as opposed to the typical 60 to 70 swimmers per session at other YMCA branches in central Kentucky.

Satterfield said that if she had the space she would open more spots, but right now the facility is at the point where there could be up to seven lessons going on along with lap time and family swim in the facility's one indoor pool. Overall, Satterfield is pleased with what the Beaumont branch has accomplished in the past year. Members who have been at the branch over a year have complimented her program and how much it has improved.

Swimming lesson groups start with a parent-child swim program that involves teaching children ranging in age from 6 months to 3 years and a program for children from 3 to 5 years old. These classes are designed to help swimmers get comfortable in the water and learn basic water movements.

The next level of instruction features independent swim lessons, available for students from 3 to 5 years old and another program for 6- to 12-year-olds. In these independent swim programs, students learn different stroke skills and endurance. Each age group's program breaks down into lessons with varying degrees of difficulty based on the student's experience. Beaumont also offers lessons for older students starting at 13 years of age all the way up to senior citizens. All lessons meet either once a week, lasting for eight weeks, or meet twice a week and last for four weeks.