The One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) in partnership with The Centre for Training and Innovation (CTI) has launched its second Annual “Learn to Swim” program. With over 70 keen participants it promises to be both a critical learning experience and a splashing success. Started on June 20th , 2022, the 6-week program housed at the CTI campus in Rock Sound is free of charge and has enrolled residents ranging in age from 5 to 60
years, with the goal of provisioning them with life-saving swimming and water safety skills.
Classes take place weekly from Monday to Thursday and are structured by age. Children’s
classes begin at 9 am and finish at 12 noon followed by the adult and family sessions from 6 pm
to 7 pm. The program is headed by an experienced team of new and returning local instructors
including, Allison Dean, Kevia Knowles, Ariel Aranha and, Jaden Carey.
This year the program also welcomed US-based volunteers, Alissa Magrum (Colin’s Hope), Ella
Magrum-Stanley, Kim Shults (Swim With Kim), Peri Kowal and Emily Mayer. The group assisted
with volunteer training and expanding the curriculum’s “Dry Land” water safety component.
Targeted to children and parents these poolside lessons revolve around drowning prevention
and water safety education. Delivered in fun and interactive ways the lessons reinforce the
fundamentals to a younger audience through engaging demonstrations, upbeat games, and
exciting team exercises.
Thanks to the partnership with “Colin’s Hope” and “Swim With Kim”, the program was gifted with
supplies and equipment for participants including, life vests, swim caps, goggles, caps, t-shirts,
sunblock, and swimming safety games and activity sheets.
“OEF’s Learn-to-Swim program is just one of the ways we’re utilizing our campus to meet a
critical need and strengthen our community,” says Keyron Smith, CTI’s COO. “It also comes not
a moment too soon because despite the Bahamas being surrounded by water and regularly
impacted by high intensity hurricanes and sea surges, more than three-quarters of the
population cannot swim and are unaware of water safety protocols.”
An exciting first for the program took place on June 23rd when the students and team made
waves by taking part in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™. This annual event raises
awareness worldwide surrounding drowning and drowning prevention. Team WLSL currently
holds the Guinness world record for the single largest simultaneous swimming lesson. The
record-achieving event was successfully held in 2014 with over 20 participating countries and
36,564 swimmers.
Drowning incidents are largely preventable and still, according to the World Health Organization
(WHO) are the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. Basic water safety and
swimming lessons such as those offered through OEF’s Learn-to-Swim program can save
precious lives every year, and help children and adults to safely enjoy our beautiful beaches and
natural aquatic resources.
“Water safety education is paramount to keeping children safe around sources of water.
Drowning is silent and can happen in as little as 30 seconds. It can happen on beaches, in
coastal waters, blue holes and pools, but just as readily in bathtubs, open wells, and even
household buckets,” explains Yolanda Pawar, Chief Communications Officer at OEF.
“Increasing access to water survival skills and drowning prevention education within our
community is an ongoing goal for us.”
OEF’s Learn to Swim sessions will wrap up on July 28th but organizers are already starting the
preliminary planning for next year’s program and the exciting new developments in the pipeline.
To find out how you can support this program, volunteer or donate resources email: