September 7, 2011

Not One More Child Drowns ... Part 1

At this point I could be the proud mommy and show off the little Monkey's swimming and a super fun surprise we got, but first, I want to talk to you heart-to-heart for a minute ...
As my readers and IRL friends and family know, Jamie has been taking swim lessons for about 6 months (off and on) now with Infant Swim Resource (ISR). From the time I was pregnant I new this was something we wanted to do from as early as possible, especially being stationed in S. Florida, but had difficulties finding a program for infants and young toddlers. I was adament about finding a program that would work with us as parents, versus him orking with an instructor and just leaving us to "figure it out" from watching them work with him.
Just after his first birthday we got the opportunity when a fellow military spouse told me about ISR and her older daughter taking the classes. She was about to start her younger daughter in classes and sign-up for a refresher for the older one when we found out that ISR, working with CrossFit Kids, was going to provide free lessons for military children at our base.
When we first started working with Dr. Harvey Barnett, pediatric drowning prevention specialist and founder of Infant Swimming Resource, I was nervous to be honest. I mean I was just handing my precious baby over to a stranger and expecting him to teach us both the tools of basic water survival for my child (I mean, its not like it would be shark-infested waters, but I sure felt like it was that first week.)
But almost immediately I began to see results. Jamie was completely comfortable ... even adventurous, in water, which is what made it so important for us to signup for these lessons, but by day 2 he was floating on his back and by the end of the first week he was swimming short distances. Now, I know each child learns at a different rate and I know that I have the "my baby is AMAZING" syndrome, but I was really impressed with the methods and improvements Jamie was making.
Dr. Harvey and his staff walked us through each step, explained what they were doing and the desired results. They concluded each lesson with the child doing something correctly, so that there was praise and accomplishment from start to finish. After about 6-weeks, we took a break, and returned about 4 or 5 weeks later. I think that was the point that I was impressed with the most ... Jamie picked right back up where he'd left off. With a little refresher time, he was again, "swimming" full steam ahead, so to speak. There were times where we, the parents would get in the pool and we'd go through the whole process with the "swimmer" ... float, swim, swim-float-swim sequence.
Pretty soon Jamie wasn't just swimming to the wall or to another person, he was pushing himself off the wall and coming back to you. I was impressed, because 3-feet of water to an adult is scary to an 18-month-old. He'd swim to the steps, swim to the wall, and at one point swimming from the wall to the steps (he was trying to prove his independence, but Mommy wasn't so excited about his desire to "do it himself!")
Well, we are on break again, and George and I work with him in the pool on the weekends. I'm excited to start back up in a few weeks and see what's next. However, this program hasn't just been about "free swim lessons" for us. There is a large group of us moms at the base who spend a lot of time together, from play dates, to music group, meeting at the park or for lunch with the kiddos. Often, the topic of conversation turns to the driving force behind ISR, the goal of preparing children for the unexpected and the dream of "not one more child drowns."
The free lessons for us is just part of what they are doing to help get the word out about this preventable tragedy. Unlike childhood cancer, this is a problem that can be solved NOW, all it takes is getting the word out.
ISR/CrossFit Kids is currently working to get the word out and raise money to help families unable to afford lessons. A child's death shouldn't happen because their family couldn't afford to give them the tools needed. Knowledge really is power and every child deserves this chance.
You can participate in the Annual Fight Gone Bad™ Fundraiser on September 17, 2011 Raise money at your CrossFit box, set up your own FGB fundraiser, contribute online, or text “FGB6” to 57682. Text messages donate $10 to Fight Gone Bad. From outside the U.S. text "FGB6" to 4246751014. Last year this event raised over $1.5 million! Help us surpass this total by getting your friends involved. A large portion of the money raised from this event will directly fund the ISR-CrossFit Kids initiative.
In no way do I think that these lessons substitute for supervision when Jamie is in the water, but it does offer me the peace of mind that he has a fighting chance. If the thought of a family faced with saying goodbye isn't enough to make you want to step up, Sterling's Story is. Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the fun surprise we got ... Until our next cup of tea ...

3 Tea Party Guest:

jenicini said...

How old was he when he started his lessons?

molanoso said...

How awesome; amazing little monkey u have. But, also credits to his most loving mommy. Top of the hats to ya.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Now, you know how much I LOVE, love, love the A.Dor.A.ble photo of him floating! It truly is the most perfect photo for CrossFit Kids program to use! What an amazing program!

Blessings & Aloha!