The swim program at Hillel Day Camp is off to a phenomenal start! With a supremely qualified staff, the Learn-to-Swim program is already proving successful. The waterfront is comprised of a total of 28 staff members, including 20 Nassau County-certified lifeguards, three pool managers, a combination of 14 water-safety instructors, instructor candidates, and instructor trainers, and a certified EMT. The staff includes four educators and special educators to assist in lesson planning, instructor training, and skill assessment.
Another incredible feature of the Hillel Day Camp swimming program is that so many of the members of the swim staff developed their love for swimming at these very pools. Current lifeguards have themselves participated in the Learn-to-Swim program at Hillel, served as lifeguards-in-training, and now are trained and certified lifeguards and WSIs.
Much of the success of the program is the continued education that the lifeguards themselves must participate in. The aquatics director runs in-service training for the staff four days a week to ensure that the high standards set at the Hillel pools are maintained. Lifeguards must practice their swimming skills, teaching skills, and rescue skills, including reviewing preventive tactics as well as CPR and first-aid training. The in-service training also includes many team-building exercises. This ensures that Hillel swimmers are safe and learning.
Even the youngest campers in the toddler group are given specific lifeguards to serve as their instructors so that they can begin to learn the skills of the American Red Cross preschool aquatics program. This aquatic education continues to develop as campers progress through the various levels of preschool swim and then through the learn-to-swim levels. (The daytime swim program is so popular that many campers continue their swimming after camp hours with their favorite instructors during private lessons.)
According to Sima Fish, aquatics director, “The campers who participate in the swim program are improving tremendously. Many of these campers will likely develop into lifeguards and swim instructors one day as well.” Dori Schiowitz, a camp mom and morah, commented, “How excited my own and camp kids are to come down to the three beautiful pools. They live for swimming!”
In addition to the regular daily lessons and free-swim time, the Hillel program also includes “Fun Fridays” where swimmers compete in water sports: everything from water polo to races to diving events. So much more fun is expected this summer as we get ready for the dash-and-splash, the swim-a-thon, and other exciting events.