At each monthly meeting, the Parks & Recreation Commission recognizes those who have volunteered their time and talents to help with projects related to the Parks & Recreation Department. On Wednesday, November 20, the Commission recognized Friends of Los Baños del Mar Pool, Eye & Vision Care of Santa Barbara and Easy Lift Transportation for their funding and partnerships that made the 2013 Free Learn to Swim Program possible.
The Free Learn to Swim program received its first funding in 2012 when the Parks & Recreation Department Aquatics section proposed it to representatives of Friends of Los Baños del Mar Pool, a local nonprofit dedicated to protecting the landmark pool and its programs. Eighty youth were provided with one week of free swim lessons with its help. The first year was so successful, the Aquatics section approached Friends of Los Baños del Mar Pool for continued partnership in 2013 so the program could serve up to 192 participants. The new swimmers would also receive a free pass to recreation swim and a pair of goggles to improve their comfort in the water and progress in their swim lessons.
Additional participants and equipment required more partners. Eye and Vision Care of Santa Barbara teamed up with Friends of Los Baños del Mar Pool to fund their $2,340 contribution for the direct staffing costs. Easy Lift Transportation provided transportation so the new target of 192 participants could be achieved. That final challenge being met, 183 unduplicated participants were served. This was an increase of 140% from 2012, and 5% short of the maximum capacity.
The success of the Free Learn to Swim program was made possible through Parks & Recreation partnerships with Friends of Los Baños del Mar Pool, Eye and Vision Care of Santa Barbara and Easy Lift Transportation. It is demonstrated by 85% of the children who met or exceeded the required skills for a Level 2 swim class; they understood water safety, could swim five body lengths, bob to safety and float.
The Parks and Recreation Department recognizes these program partners for their generous support that ensured 183 youth received free swimming lessons in 2013.