June 05, 2016 - 3:31 PM
KELOWNA - An iconic local swim has attracted $10,000 towards the goal of providing free swimming lessons to a generation of local kids. The Across the Lake Swim Society and Interior Savings are now appealing to the community to help raise the last $5,000.
The Across the Lake Swim Society is on a mission to drown-proof twice as many kids in the Okanagan. The Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim, run by the Society and now in its 68th year, raises money to send every 3rd grader in School District 23 (from Peachland to Lake Country) for free swimming lessons to teach them lifesaving water safety skills.
“We are surrounded by lakes in the Okanagan so the need to teach our children water safety skills is paramount,” Across the Lake Swim Society president, Mark Fromberg said. “There are too many drownings in the Okanagan every year and it’s within our power to change that.”
Proceeds from this swim and the Interior Savings Rattlesnake Island Swim are already providing free swimming lessons to 1,400 Okanagan children each year but the Across the Lake Swim Society and Interior Savings want to double that by extending the program to an additional grade level.
“This has always been a long-term vision of ours,” race director Peter Rudd said. “We knew one day we were going to get there, we just didn’t know how and when, as we needed to raise another $20,000”.
That is, until Interior Savings came to the table with another $15,000. In addition to its sponsorship, the Credit Union pledged up to $5,000, or $50 for every Interior Savings member registered for the swim. And at their recent Annual General Meeting, the Credit Union announced it had applied for and been awarded a $10,000 emPowering Your Communities grant from its cooperative partner, Concentra Financial, to help bring this vision to reality.
“When we saw the opportunity to apply for a grant, we knew without question that the Across the Lake Swim Society and the YMCA of Okanagan could use this money to saves lives here in the Okanagan,” Interior Savings CEO Kathy Conway said.
“It costs just $20 to drown-proof a local child,” continued Conway. “We’re three-quarters of the way to being able to offer lifesaving water safety skills to another grade level of students in our community. Now we are appealing to our members and the local community to help us raise the last $5,000.”
Donations are accepted online at ymcaokanagan.ca (please direct your gift to the “Okanagan Swims Program”).
For those thinking it might be fun to swim across Okanagan Lake, there is still time to sign up, but you’re encouraged to register soon as the event sells out every year. This year’s swim takes place July 16 in City Park in Kelowna. To register or learn more about the event or the YMCA Okanagan Swims program, go to www.acrossthelakeswim.com.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016