News 4 Lifesaver

Aug 16, 2013 12:44 AM by Kristi Tedesco

Girl Scouts swim safety program reaches thousands

TUCSON - There are a few weeks left in this year's swim season. So far in Pima County we've seen 12 water related accidents involving kids. One of the children died.

The Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona teaches thousands of girls swim safety every year.

Kristi's Kids paid a visit to the Girl Scout Hacienda Camp on the east side.

Hailey Roesly was teaching the youngest scouts how to swim.
Piper Chinn is 6 years-old and her friend, 8 year-old Sarah Oschman, are soaking up the information.

On this day they practiced big kicks, big arms and big bubbles.

Hailey is a former Girl Scout herself and for the past couple years she's been coaching the girls.

"Any kid can get into a pool. And if you have any kid in a pool you need to make sure they know how to swim," says Hailey.

In the Girl Scouts, water safety starts early.

"Our 5 and 6 year olds, our Daisies, they start having fun in the water similar to the girls behind us. They learn basic water safety," says Kristi Pallack, Service Learning Coordinator with the Girls Scouts of Southern Arizona.

Each year, they progress to the next level. There are half a dozen badges and patches to earn along the way.

"We not only teach girls the basics of pool safety but also how to behave properly in a boat. And we take it full circle and also talk about water conservation."

And many of them go on to join the Orcas swim team.

"All of our girls really love the water. And being in the pool and knowing how to behave in the pool, really prepare them later in life for when they do get to go surfing in an ocean or something," says Pallack.

Here in Southern Arizona, the girl scouts are preparing thousands.

"I would say about 7000 of those go through our water curriculum in any given year," says Pallack.

Hailey tells us she will continue to come back and coach many more.
"It's so much fun to watch somebody that, at the beginning of the season doesn't know how to swim, and then by the end, they're getting all the way across the pool. And they know the terms. And they understand what to do."

Click here for more information about Girls Scouts of Southern Arizona.

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