Charleston, SC — Across Colleton and Dorchester Counties, seven organizations are partnering together to launch the new Fun Fins swim program this summer. The partnership unites the Summerville Family YMCA, Colleton County Parks & Recreation, Dorchester County Parks & Recreation, Colleton Medical Center, Summerville Medical Center, Colleton County School District, and Dorchester School District 4 with a joined mission to teach children drowning prevention and increase water safety education in our communities.

“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.”

Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission launched a similar swimming program in 2014 in partnership with the Community Services of Edisto and the Parklands Foundation, with the portable pool built by local Edisto resident Steve Austin. The Genesis Swim Safety Fund, a function of the Parklands Foundation, was established after the tragic drowning of a local 13-year old boy, Genesis Holmes. The fund is used to help offset costs associated with providing swim lessons as well as ensuring access to rural Charleston area families. Since 2014, the program has helped nearly 3,000 children learn how to swim.

“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 Chris Myers, Director of Colleton County Parks & Recreation. ”Without the cooperation of all involved, this program would not be feasible. The hope of the program is through quality water safety instruction, that 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.”

Fun Fins Program:

  • Colleton County’s Fun Fins program is July 10-21 2023, located at 280 Recreation Lane, Walterboro, SC 29488.
  • Dorchester County’s Fun Fins program is July 31-August 11, 2023, located at St. George Middle School, 600 Minus Street, St. George, SC 29477.
  • A portable, 24 ft. long and 3 ft. deep pool will be transported to the two locations for the duration of the program.
  • Certified swim instructors from the Summerville Family YMCA will teach water safety and drowning prevention techniques.
  • Participants can register for daily sessions for 5 days at $50, only $1 per lesson.
  • Session times are 9:00am, 9:35am, 10:10am, 10:45am, 11:20am, 11:55am.
  • Register for the Fun Fins program at the Summerville YMCA website.