Program designed to ease kids' pool fears

HENDERSON — ”I'm getting it,“ 2-year-old Abby Go said, squealing with laughter as, arms outstretched and legs kicking, she reached for a pink walrus her dad had thrown a few feet away from her at the YMCA swimming pool.

Abby is one of four babies who spent four weeks this summer getting used to the water through the Water Babies program sponsored by the YMCA in Henderson.

Her father, Joseph Go of Henderson, said the class has been great for Abby, who before starting the class was afraid of water.

Now, Abby is excited about getting in the water.

The YMCA sponsors several Water Babies programs during the summer as a way to get small children, ages 6 months to 3 years old, accustomed to the water.

Abby's class ended July 17, and instructor Linda Fueger said it was unusual because it was made up of three fathers and a mother— not just moms.

Go said he enjoyed the time he had gotten to spend with his daughter on the Tuesday and Thursday nights.

”It's priceless,“ he said.

Abby is a triplet, but her sisters weren't nervous around water the way she was, so their class was time for just her and her dad.

The class is mostly a way to orient small children to the water, YMCA aquatics director Lora Shumate said.

Another Water Babies program is scheduled to run in September, she said.

Fueger said she emphasizes safety while having fun through singing songs and playing games in the water.

”It's a water adjustment class,“ she said. ”The goal isn't to learn to swim, it's just to be comfortable in the water.“

The babies also learn cues, and how to follow directions from their parents.

”Only jump when Daddy says,“ Fueger reminded the children at a lesson in early July.

They want the children to be comfortable in the water and to begin teaching basic water safety at a young age.

For Laney Ford of Henderson and her 16-month-old daughter Maggie, the class was a great way to teach safety.

”She has no fear,“ Ford said as she dried Maggie off after her lesson. ”We just wanted a way for her to get used to water.“

Maggie is willing to try anything at least once, Ford said.

Ford said she really enjoyed the time she gets to spend with Maggie at the pool.

”It's a blast,“ Ford said.