Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

September 2018

Step Into Swim Continues to Create New Swimmers

By Dave Ramont

The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF), a nonprofit organization founded in 1965, works to encourage more aquatic activity, make pools safer and keep pools open—ultimately helping people to live happier and healthier lives. The organization's proceeds go to fund education, research and to help create swimmers. Their Step Into Swim (SIS) campaign is a 10-year initiative to create 1 million more swimmers.

Thomas Lachocki, CEO of NSPF, feels that the number one charitable outreach of the swimming industry should be teaching children to swim. "Not only is swimming a vital life skill that opens the door to a world of activities, but knowing how to swim reduces the likelihood that a child will drown by 88 percent."

In 2018, SIS raised more than $112,000, with every dollar going directly toward qualified learn-to-swim programs. "How often does one dollar do three great things: prevent drowning, create more swimmers and increase demand for water-based activity?" asked Lachocki. "When we open our wallet to fund swim lessons, we open the door to brighter futures."

Recently, SIS announced its 2018 grant recipients, including organizations, schools and individual learn-to-swim programs throughout the country.

"There is nothing more important to the short-term and long-term health of the pool industry than ensuring more people—especially the youngest among us—are comfortable and safe around water," said Lauren Stack, NSPF managing director, residential division. Stack added that donations to SIS are nearly double this year, showing that industry leaders are increasingly backing an effort to support learn-to-swim organizations nationwide.

Angels of America's Fallen (AoAF) is an organization supporting children of fallen military and first responders. They work to engage kids in healthy activities, and their Lessons from Lylah program allows all children within AoAF to receive swim lessons free of charge. For the fourth year, AoAF is receiving an SIS grant.

The New York State Parks Learn to Swim Program is another repeat recipient of SIS funding, and they've expanded their program from a single location to 28 over the past six years, now reaching more than 3,000 kids annually. The program is made possible through a partnership with the American Red Cross, the New York Department of Health, the National Heritage Trust and the Northeast Spa & Pools Association, as well as general industry donations to SIS, and SIS hopes other states might follow suit. "This is a great example of government, nonprofits and industry collaborating and changing thousands of people's lives for the better," said NSPF Board Chairman Bruce Dunn.

Other programs for lower-income populations receiving SIS grants include the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, S.C., as they work to teach swimming and water safety to children living in apartment complexes across the city. Cincinnati Public Schools is partnering with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati to pilot a program that would eventually give all first and second graders swimming lessons and water safety instruction.

Other companies and organizations supporting SIS include Pentair, the Master Pools Guild, the Bill Kent Family Foundation, the National Plasterers Council, Hayward, the American Chemistry Council and the Blake Stabler Fund.

To learn more or make a donation to the program, visit

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