This year 97 boys and girls, aged 6-15 years old enrolled in the program. They were split across 3 sessions of 45 mins. The program was held, as always, at the Aquatic Safety Training Academy (ASTA) in Seven Hills (our partners in this program) and ran for 10 week days from Jan 14 – Jan 25th, the last 2 weeks of the school holidays. The kids had a great deal of fun, progressed well and received certificates of accomplishment at the end of the program, allowing us to track progress.
The program also provided some water safety and CPR sessions for the parents while their offspring were in the pool, thus improving the communities water safety & first aid capacity, something these very disadvantaged communities seldom get access to. As well swimming lessons for some of the mothers are commencing in April.
The program ran very smoothly this year and a few of the parents who have been involved for a number of years helped out, which is very empowering for the community. The program was very successful, meeting all its aims and objectives.
The program had more demand than we could supply places as the community have come to rely on the program every summer holidays, not just to teach the kids swimming and water safety but also as a way of keeping them amused in a healthy activity over the long summer holidays and a nice venue to meet up with other parents and socalise.
Last year we were very excited because during our first ever advanced program a number of our regular participants achieved their bronze medallion, a nationally recognised lifesaver certification, a real achievement for them and for their communities. This year we continued to build this capacity with some of these bronze medallion holders now working towards their Instructors qualification. So these swimmers (who have come through our program over the years) attended this year’s program in a very different capacity – helping the teachers on a volunteer basis and learning how to teach swimming. So as part of this program the two who are old enough are now enrolled in the formal two day instructors course in April. All going well we will have two young people who started in our program be qualified to teach swimming in this financial year, achieving a long term end goal of ours. This not only increases capacity in the community but is a big boost to the individuals involved and equips them will a skill that can provide them employment. It is hard to state how proud we are of them to have come this far.
Due to the age requirements of the Instructors course (minimum age is 16) we plan to increase the eligibility age of our program next year. And so the program continues to evolve as we strive to learn from past years and continually improve. We were fortunate this year to get extra funding late in 2018 from Uncle Tobys, which along with the balance of the Sydney Motor Corporation (SMC) grant enabled HARDA to run the program. We are very grateful to both sponsors and ASTA and extend HARDA & the communities heartfelt thanks.