Jordan Alsobrook never learned to swim.
“I’m not even sure why I never learned. Everybody in my family knows how to swim,” the 19-year-old University of Louisiana at Lafayette student said.
Alsobrook, a summer camp counselor at the YMCA’s C.B. Pennington Jr. branch, 15550 Old Hammond Highway, and other camp counselors like her caught the attention of YMCA management, said Kristen Hogan, director of marketing at the Capital Area YMCA.
The YMCA in Baton Rouge has made swimming lessons one of its priorities, Hogan said, as a community service to prevent drownings — a very preventable tragedy with a little training.
“I guess I had a fear of drowning,” Alsobrook said.
As part of its summer counselors’ training program, the Y offered swimming lessons for free to all camp counselors who wanted to learn, and Alsobrook and fellow UL-Lafayette student Raven Douglas, 20, decided to take advantage of the offer.
“By the end of the lessons, I felt really comfortable in the water,” she said, adding that part of their training was practicing some water rescue techniques that required a jump into water well over her head.
It’s not something she would have been OK with before the classes began.
It’s a good thing for her own safety, she said, but it also makes her a better counselor.
“I feel like I’d be able to get the kids out of the water if anything should happen,” Alsobrook said.
She works with 4- and 5-year-old girls at Pennington. “Some of my kids know how to swim, but not all of them do,” she said.
Douglas works with 4- and 5-year-olds and 6- and 7-year-olds at Pennington.
“I was always comfortable in the water, enough to get in and splash around, but I never knew how to swim properly,” Douglas said.
She’d always thought about learning, but never had the opportunity until she heard about the swim lessons in the counselors’ orientation before camp started.
It’s a skill she’s glad to take with her when she leaves, she said.
For information about the YMCA, visit the organization’s website, www.ymca batonrouge.org, or visit the nearest Y branch.