Across Colleton and Dorchester Counties seven organizations partnered together in 2023 to launch the Splash into Safety swim program. Over the course of the four-week program 335 children were taught drowning prevention and water safety in rural areas across Dorchester and Colleton Counties.

We are excited to announce this year’s program will kick off on June 17th in St. George and July 8th in Walterboro. Parents and caregivers can register children ages 5 to 11 years old for the program, which includes daily lessons for 5 days at $5, only $1 per lesson.

The partnership united the Summerville Family YMCA, Colleton County Parks & Recreation, Dorchester County Parks & Recreation, Summerville Medical Center, Colleton Medical Center, Colleton County School District, and Dorchester School District 4 with the critical mission to teach children drowning prevention and increase water safety education in our communities. The Splash into Safety program has received numerous awards and accolades, including:

  • 2024 SC House of Representatives resolution
  • 2024 Colleton County Council proclamation
  • 2024 Dorchester County Council proclamation
  • 2024 Town of Summerville proclamation
  • 2023 SC Parks & Recreation Association Award for Programming Excellence
  • 2023 Outstanding Safety Achievement Award from the South Carolina Association of Counties
  • 2023 SC Healthcare Heroes Award for Community Engagement
  • 2023 Carolinas Healthcare PR & Marketing Society Golden Tusk Award for Special Events

“At the Summerville Family YMCA, we believe a child’s safety in and around water should never be left to chance,” commented Joe Debney, Summerville Family YMCA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Taking part in formal water safety classes reduces the risk of drowning among children and provides both education and awareness. We are proud to offer courses all year at the Summerville Family YMCA, from water safety to swim team skills.”

The CDC ranks South Carolina as the 9th highest rate in the U.S. for pediatric drownings. Every year in the U.S. there are an estimated 4,000 fatal unintentional drownings and 8,000 nonfatal drownings. “This is a very serious concern for our community and we are committed to provide families with water safety education to help prevent future drownings,” said Adam Barouh, MD and Pediatric Emergency Department Medical Director at Summerville Medical Center. “Some of the factors include not being able to swim, but also missing or broken fences around water, lack of lifejackets, lack of close supervision, and even prior health problems.”

The Splash into Safety program transports a 24 foot long and 3 feet deep portable pool holding 7,000+ gallons of water to the event locations for the duration of the program. Certified swim instructors from the Summerville Family YMCA teach water safety and drowning prevention techniques. Certified life guards monitor the pool at all times.

“The Fun Fins program has taken a combined effort from multiple agencies between Colleton and Dorchester County in order to be able to provide water safety instruction to the youth of both counties,” said Dr. Chris Myers, Director of Colleton County Parks & Recreation. ”Without the cooperation of all involved, this program would not have had the success it had in 2023 or be feasible moving forward. The hope of the program in 2024 remains the same, that through quality water safety instruction we are taking a small step in the right direction to better prepare our youth for the dangers that are associated with water and water activities.”

Splash into Safety swim program details

Colleton County: