YMCA Go for Green Program Participants Safety Around Water Initiative with Green Swim Bands


As summer unfolds, the pools beckon, offering cool relief and a hub of activity for kids and families. Yet, amidst the laughter and splashes, there lies an essential skill every child must embrace—swimming. Recognizing this, the Gateway Region YMCA has implemented an incredible initiative called "Go for Green," a program designed to ensure every child attending their YMCA Summer Day Camps can swim confidently and safely, especially in the deep end.


Ensuring Every Child Swims

Water safety is a critical skill that promises not only fun but also security and peace of mind. The Go for Green program is intricately woven into the fabric of YMCA’s summer offerings, aimed at transforming hesitant swimmers into confident ones.

Here’s how it works: every child participating in the YMCA’s Summer Day Camps must undergo a swim test. This isn’t just any test; it involves entering the pool without the aid of stairs or a ladder, swimming the length of the pool, treading water for a minute, and exiting the pool again without any assistance. This rigorous assessment ensures that each child's comfort and skill levels are accurately gauged.


Tailored Instruction for Success

For many, including my own niece last summer, passing this test on the first try can be daunting. She, like many others, was initially given an orange wristband. However, this did not mark an end but a beginning of a tailored, encouraging journey with the YMCA's skilled swim instructors.

Through the Go for Green program, children who don’t pass initially receive one-on-one attention to assess their needs and provide customized lessons. This individualized approach not only enhances their skills but also builds vigilance and awareness, key aspects of water safety.


YMCA Go for Green Water Safety Program Class Participants with Certificates of Achievement


A Family Approach to Water Safety

Water safety is not solely the responsibility of the individual swimmer; it requires a guardianship role from the entire family. The YMCA strongly advocates for a family-centered approach to water safety, encouraging parents to learn about and engage in safe water practices alongside their children.

Families are invited to explore water safety resources and tips, which highlights the precaution and preparedness needed to ensure a safe water environment for everyone. By embracing these principles together, families strengthen their protection against water-related accidents, making every swim session a lifesaving exercise.

A Green Band Achievement

YMCA Go for Green Participant who Passed the Swim Test Receiving Their Green Band

The moment a child passes the swim test, they are awarded a green band. This symbolizes more than just the permission to swim in the deep end—it represents a milestone of achievement, courage, and the joy of swimming.

For my niece, the day she switched from an orange to a green band was filled with so much pride and joy. It wasn’t just a victory for her, but a testament to the YMCA’s commitment to nurturing each child’s potential.


Beyond the Pool

The Go for Green program doesn’t just teach children how to swim; it teaches them resilience and perseverance. Learning to overcome challenges in the pool can set a precedent for other areas of life, instilling a mindset that with determination and the right support, they can achieve anything. Moreover, parents can feel reassured knowing their children are safer around water—a crucial comfort when living in the St. Louis area, where summer days are often spent by lakes or pools.


Join the Water Safety Journey

Whether or not you’re part of a YMCA Summer Camp and the Go for Green program, children and adults can learn valuable water safety skills through YMCA Swim Lesson, which include water safety skills in the curriculum.