According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 people in the United States drown every day. More than half of the nation's drowning victims are children under the age of 14, many of whom were at home during the incident.
In addition to fostering the growth of the next generation of great American swimmers, USA Swimming also works to prevent drowning deaths with its learn-to-swim and water safety initiatives. To expand its reach, USA Swimming recently partnered with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The youth organization will now be part of USA Swimming's Affiliate Coalition – a group of businesses and nonprofits that share the goal of promoting water safety.
"Instilling the life skill of swimming in youth has been important to the Boy Scouts of America since its inception," the Boy Scouts' chief executive Wayne Brock said in a press release. "In fact, the Swimming merit badge was one of the original merit badges introduced in 1911, and today many Scouts choose to earn this badge on their path toward becoming an Eagle Scout."
As a USA Swimming affiliate, the BSA will transmit USA Swimming's messages about the importance of learning to swim to local Scouting councils. Individual units will be encouraged to sponsor swim lesson and water safety programs in their communities.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of preventable death — not just for children, but adults as well. There are many community programs that offer free or inexpensive swim lessons for kids and their parents. There's no reason why everyone in the family can't put on their swim suits and Speedo swim caps and enjoy the pool safely!