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10/15/2018 - Mayor Ganim, Cardinal Shehan Center Kickoff Free Afterschool Swim Camp for Bridgeport Youth

Mayor Joseph P. Ganim
Bridgeport, CT

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2018

For More Information:
Dalmarys Matos (203) 576-7201

Press Release

Mayor Ganim, Cardinal Shehan Center Kickoff Free Afterschool Swim Camp for Bridgeport Youth
Water Safety Lessons Funded by $152K Pool Safely Grant Program

To sign up a child for the swim camp, please call (203) 336-4468

Bridgeport, CT—Mayor Ganim joined the Director of the Cardinal Shehan Center Terry O’Connor today to kickoff a free afterschool swim camp for 500 Bridgeport youth. The water safety and swim lessons are made possible through a $152,000 Pool Safely Grant Program (PSGP) awarded by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“The staff in the Grants Department for the city worked hard to secure these funds because receiving water safety lessons can be the difference between life and death,” said Mayor Ganim. “Our youth will learn not only how to swim, but gain valuable water safety practices to be prepared when they are in a pool or any body of water. We partnered with the Cardinal Shehan Center for their commitment to fostering children’s recreation and a safe swim environment in the pool at their facility.”

Cardinal Shehan Center Director Terry O’Connor said, “The Cardinal Shehan Center is thrilled to have received the Safely Grant Program awarded by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This grant will allow 500 Bridgeport youngsters an opportunity to learn firsthand about water safety over the next two years. Unfortunately too many youngsters are not taught how to swim or the dangers that water can present if you are not careful. We are grateful to the City of Bridgeport for selecting the Shehan Center to administer this grant.”

From now until September 2020, the Cardinal Shehan Center will be running three, week-long water safety camps. The first will be held late October, the second in April 2019, and the third in May 2020. The camps will run from 3:30pm-5:30pm. The afternoons will be broken up into three, 40-minute segments where the kids will rotate between swim lessons in the pool, water safety instruction in the classroom, and meeting with first responders.

The adult facilitators include first responders (Police Department, Fire Department, and EMT) and Cardinal Shehan Center staff members (program staff, after school counselors, pool director, and lifeguards). Along with the three camps, the Cardinal Shehan Center will be offering free private swim lessons for approximately 60 children. These private swim lessons will be offered in December 2018, November 2019, and in May 2020.

The swim camps will be provided to 150 children residing in Bridgeport, with ultimately 500 kids receiving instruction on water safety over the two-year period. The water safety programs will be open to Bridgeport youth, ages 5-11. The programs will be first come, first serve. Open enrollment for Bridgeport youth begins today.

Funding from PSGP will allow the City of Bridgeport to:

  • Ensure safety of public pools and compliance with state regulations by providing training and certification on Connecticut State swimming pool and spa safety laws, including enforcement of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act, to 200 Greater Bridgeport Region enforcement personnel. Funds for this purpose were allocated at $78,000 and will cover the cost of training provided by Blue Wave.
  • Raise water-safety awareness and improve swimming skills of traditionally underserved minority children by implementing a targeted water-safety campaign to include a large safety demonstration with first responders, increasing the number of free-to- the public swimming lessons, and implementing the ZAC Foundation’s ZAC Camp curriculum. Funds for this purpose were allocated at $74,420. The entire amount will be subcontracted to the Shehan Center to provide swimming lessons to 510 low-income and minority children aged 5-11.