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Cassville School District partners with the YMCA for a water safety course for first-graders

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 3:45 PM CDT
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CASSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - With swimming season in full swing, one Ozarks town is making sure kids know how to stay safe in the pool, lake or river.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages one to 14. YMCA Director Rick Ragsdale said many drownings are preventable with the right water training.

“We have kids that have never been to the pool before, they’ve never been in a body of water and so they’re really nervous getting down, for some of these first-graders and just getting up to their knees can be terrifying,” Rick Ragsdale said.

Ragsdale said that’s why they hope to build confidence in students through this program.

”So if you do fall in the water and you’re not expecting it, you don’t panic, you have the skills and you know you have the skills to be comfortable,” Ragsdale said.

Students will learn many things, like knowing to ask permission before getting in the water.

”We always have an adult who knows if we’re getting in the water whether that’s the pool, the lake, the creek,” Ragsdale said.

Students will also learn what’s called “jump, turn, push, grab.” It’s for children who might unexpectedly find themselves in the water.

”It’s how to exit the water safely, it’s how to swim, float, swim so it’s treading water, it’s swimming on your front or floating on your back, to get a breath if you’re tired and then how to get to an exit and get out,” Ragsdale said.

Parent Dan Vinson-Davis is grateful the school is providing the training for his child and other students.

”Just knowing they are comfortable around that and they’ve learned some skills, some important skills is amazing to have that right here in our hometown,” Dan Vinson- Davis said.

And his son Anderson is enjoying the program too.

”Yesterday he came home and he was so excited because he passed the red test, learned some new skills and talked about it all night,” Vinson-Davis said.

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