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Be cool, enjoy the pool

Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 10:02 p.m. CDT

Summer’s here – almost! School’s out – almost! And Swanson Pool and Otter Cove Aquatic Park are ready to open – almost! Who can stop thinking ahead to long, lazy days spent soaking up the sun by the pool?

Part of the fun of going to the pool, however, is knowing your way around. And we’re not just talking directions to the concession stand or how to find the shadiest parking spot. One of the smartest ways to ensure you have the best possible time at the pool is to practice “safe soaks,” learning how to swim or improve your technique, and understanding how to play in and around the water responsibly.

“Swimming is fun, and it is a great leisure or fitness activity, but you have to respect it, just like driving a car,” said Kristi Brewer, aquatics and youth programs supervisor. 

Luckily, May is National Water Safety Month. What better time to learn about safe water practices? A joint effort between the American Red Cross, the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association, National Water Safety Month celebrates swimming as the most popular summertime activity by making sure that it is also one of the safest.

To kick off the month-long awareness program, the St. Charles Park District will be offering an Aquatics Open House from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 2, at Pottawatomie Community Center, 8 North Ave., St. Charles. Suitable for every member of the family, the program will showcase water safety tips and techniques, point out facility highlights, and share information about swim lessons and swim teams. It’s also the perfect time to purchase a season pass.

And because water safety is a skill best learned as early as possible, children will want to sign up for Longfellow’s WHALE Tales Water Safety program, which will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 3, also at the Pottawatomie Community Center. Kids ages 5 to 12 will follow Longfellow, an animated whale, as he tells the WHALE story – Water Habits Are Learned Early – through engaging activities, skill-reinforcing worksheets, and vibrant posters that make learning about water safety easy and fun.

But water safety awareness isn’t just limited to the merry month of May. Come summer, the park district will hold ILTP – or International Lifeguard Training Program – courses for teens ages 15 and older, along with a Junior Lifeguard Camp for those ages 9 to 14 and a Junior Swim Instructor Camp for those ages 10 to 15. Registration is going on now for classes starting mid-June.

For more information about how to have a summer of safe splishin’ and splashin’ fun, contact Kristi Brewer at 630-513-4334.

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