At the Y, we feel that everyone should have the opportunity to learn to swim. That’s why YMCAs in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming are committed to expanding access to water safety skills for youth, teens and adults in our community.

  • Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 5-9, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

  • 30% of U.S. parents have de-prioritized water safety because of affordability concerns.

  • In 2020, more than 400,000 children learned how to swim at the Y. 

And here’s the biggie: Young children who have participated in formal swim lessons have a drastically lower risk (88 percent) of drowning, and water safety knowledge and practice can lower risk of drowning for people of all ages. 

We believe every person should have the opportunity to stay safe in the water.

Here’s how we prioritize water safety for our community


Safety Around Water

In recentl years, hundreds of children, teens and adults participated in our Safety Around Water program. Safety Around Water includes grant-funded swim lessons that help people become comfortable and safe in and around water. Participants learn vital safety skills, self-rescue skills like pushing off the bottom and basic skills like floating, kicking and blowing bubbles. 

Throughout the Y’s history of offering Safety Around Water, more than a thousand people in Northern Colorado and Cheyenne have benefited, including children in our preschools, local school districts and Head Start programs.

Financial Aid

The Colorado lifestyle revolves around outdoor recreation. Families often visit lakes, rivers and pools each summer. That’s one reason water safety is so important, and that’s why the Y works so hard to give all children, teens and adults opportunities to learn swim skills and water safety know-how.

Around 4,000 children, teens and adults learn swim skills in our Ys annually. However, we know cost can be a barrier for many families. Because the Y is a long-term partner for parents, we give families support to make swim lessons more affordable and accessible. We do that through financial assistance.

In 2023, the Y provided nearly $2 million in financial to families, individuals and children in our community, many of whom are involved in swim lesson programs.

American Red Cross Courses

The Y ensures that members of the community have access to life-saving skills and training by offering American Red Cross courses in Lifeguarding, first aid, AED, CPR and babysitting. Participants as young as 11 years old learn how to recognize emergencies, develop and implement problem-solving skills and develop life-saving rescue techniques that they can take out into the world.

As a nationwide Lifeguard shortage crippled pools in recent years, the Y refocused on Lifeguard training. Our aquatics teams has worked diligently to ensure Lifeguard training, certification and recertification remain accessible to all. In fact, between 2021 and 2023, more than 1,400 people received their Lifeguard certification or recertification through the YMCAs in Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties of Colorado as well as Cheyenne.