More than 100 kids aged 6-16 y.o. attended this year to learn water safety and improve their swimming skills or in many cases to learn to swim for the first time. They made great improvements in their swimming abilities and really enjoyed the program, which ran from 13th – 24th of January 2020 at the Aquatic Safety Training Academy in Seven Hills.
The most advanced youth undertook a program to work towards their Bronze Medallion, a recognised lifesaving award. 9 students obtained their bronze star, the intermediate step towards their medallion, which we hope they will obtain at the next program. The step after the medallion is an instructor’s course and certification which is a qualification to teach swimming in a paid capacity. We had two youth who undertook the course last year through the HARDA program. They helped the instructors in the program as part of the practical hours they required to get their qualification. We are hoping that they will be teaching later in the year. As well as a good source of employment it provides role models for our current students and the community and builds the capacity within the communities. They were a great help in the program this year and the kids loved having them teaching them. This year one student will undertake the instructors course. This is part of HARDA’s long term objective of increasing community capacity and self-sufficiency.
The program provided a great relief from this year’s heat out west. The kids were delighted to get out of the house, many of whom had been kept indoors because of the poor air quality this year; they got to meet their friends, make new friends and have an activity – all important for their mental & physical wellbeing. It also provided a much needed break for parents who had kids at home from the start of the holidays. The parents enjoyed their time socialising with old friends and meeting new friends while the kids swam. Most parents also undertook a CPR & water safety course that we arranged for them at the pool, thus increasing community skills, safety capacity and awareness. The community & HARDA were very grateful to Dooleys Catholic Club for funding the program.