By: Lorrie Ward | Category: Education | Issue: April 2012
The Sapulpa Aquatics Center provides swimming lessons and water safety education for kids.
With summer only a couple months away, many people start thinking about being on the water. Whether it’s fishing, boating, water skiing, sailing, river rafting, tubing, water sports or just plain swimming, the summer’s heat makes the word “aquatic” sound extremely attractive. But since humans are naturally suited to the land, adventures on the water should always be considered with caution and approached with the proper education.
That’s why Sapulpa Parks wants to remind everyone that May has been designated as National Water Safety Month by the National Recreation and Park Association, and to encourage parents to sign their children up now for swim lessons to be held at the Sapulpa Aquatics Center this summer.
“In two years we have taught almost 600 children how to swim and to be comfortable and safe in the water,” says Jan Allen, Park Board chairwoman. “Our big mission is to teach a person to swim when they are children, which translates into safety for the rest of their lives.”
The Center for Disease Control reported that Oklahoma has led the nation in per capita drowning for many years. More than half a million people die from drowning each year. For children, drowning is the second highest cause of injury-related deaths.
John Waytula, director of Parks and Recreation, wants to let area residents know that the Sapulpa Aquatics Center goes beyond just teaching swimming. “The first day of each session is safety day. Each child is taught safety through swimming efficiency. We teach these principles starting with a float, adding propulsion, and finishing with coordination. When children are taught what to do in adverse water-related situations, they are less likely to panic. That’s one of our goals, to teach the non- swimmer of any age to remain calm and never panic when entering the water. Next, children are taught to tread water, float, and then be able to swim to safety.”
Our class sizes are small, only six children per class, so everyone gets plenty of individual attention. “We are offering a total of 98 learn-to-swim classes this summer in five two-week sessions. Parents can choose from four different skill levels, including our popular ‘Jumping Jellyfish’ class, which is a fun parent/tot program experience. We also offer four different time slots per session,” said Waytula.
The Sapulpa Aquatics Center shows its commitment to fun as well as safety. The Center is a beautiful state-of-the-art facility featuring a tot slide, two large flume rides, lap swim lanes, above-ground and flush mounted spray attractions.
“Our trained and certified lifeguards are always on duty. We are still in the process of recruiting lifeguards at this time,” Waytula said.
Sapulpa Parks has started a scholarship program for families who cannot afford the cost of lessons, and are encouraging anyone interested to sponsor a child by donating to its Sapulpa Swim For Life Scholarship Program.
This is the Sapulpa Aquatics Center’s third season, and Jan Allen is excited at the success the facility has had the first two seasons, reporting an attendance of 71,501 for the last two years.
In addition to swimming lessons and public swimming, the Sapulpa Aquatics Center is also available for private parties, birthday parties, family reunions, corporate events, and the like. For rental rates call Sapulpa Parks or visit their website, www.sapulpaparks.org.
Waytula is urging his community to get outside and play together this summer. “One of our Park Department’s main focus points is to get our youth, families, and our Sapulpa community outdoors and living more active lifestyles, which reduces chronic diseases and enhances the overall health and livability of our community. Swimming has been proven to be one of the healthiest forms of exercise for people of all ages. Our world needs play more today than ever before. And with the summer sun fast approaching, there’s no better way to do it that in the water. ”