Atlanta -- March 13, 2013 -- Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and The ZAC Foundation, a national leader in water safety education, today announced a new partnership to bring water safety skills and basic swim instruction to thousands of members. Swim camps, targeting 5-9 year olds, will be held at 10 Boys & Girls Clubs beginning in March 2013, expanding to 25 camps in 2014.
ZAC Camp – named in honor of 6-year-old Zachary Archer Cohn who drowned as a result of being entrapped in a swimming pool drain – is designed to teach children water safety through classroom curriculum and in-pool swim lessons. Unlike many other existing swim safety initiatives, ZAC Camp involves engagement with local First Responders. By week’s end, participants are equipped with critical tools to ensure safe swimming, including: fundamental stroke training, emergency preparedness and response, and basic lifesaving techniques.
“ZAC Camps will give our younger Club members the essential basics to keep them safe in and around the water,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Helping our young people, especially at a very young age, will prevent needless drowning incidents that take place every day in this nation – primarily due to lack of basic knowledge and skills related to water safety.”
The ZAC Foundation is entering into a multi-year partnership to implement ZAC Camps in Boys & Girls Clubs across the country through its grant program. In preparation for this year’s launch, the Foundation worked over the past year with the BGCA and Clubs to develop the most effective programming to reach Club campers, their families and community leaders to inspire ongoing life-saving water safety initiatives.
The first 10 Clubs set to implement ZAC Camps in 2013 have been selected. Each was chosen through a rigorous application and review process. The following are the awarded locations and camp dates:
For more than 100 years, BGCA has provided high-quality programming that builds character and offers kids a safe and nurturing environment to learn and succeed. The ZAC Camps reinforce BGCA’s focus on child health and safety.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s mission goes hand in hand with our own – providing children and their families with the tools to live safe, active and healthy lifestyles,” said Karen Cohn, co-founder of The ZAC Foundation. “Boys & Girls Clubs have a proven track record for positively impacting the lives of children and families across the country, and we couldn’t imagine working with a more engaging organization to take the Foundation’s water safety campaign nationally.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause in children 5-14. Risk of drowning is highest in minority populations with the fatal drowning rate almost three times that of Caucasian children. Many of these deaths are preventable if proper water safety measures are taken. ZAC Camps aim to reduce these statistics through community engagement and education.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of AmericaFor more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve some 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
About The ZAC FoundationThe ZAC Foundation was established in 2008 by Brian and Karen Cohn after the loss of their 6-year-old son Zachary Archer Cohn in a pool drain entrapment in their backyard swimming pool. Through education and advocacy, the Foundation is dedicated to ensuring no other family endures the death of a child in a water-related tragedy. To learn more about The ZAC Foundation, connect with us on Facebook and thezacfoundation.com.
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