Most of us with fond memories of learning to swim back when we were kids only want the same thing for
our own children. The fun, laughter, and smiles remain with us for our whole lives. But, of late, concern
has been growing among ourselves and other community leaders about the unacceptable increase in
youth drownings here in the Tampa Bay region; and really, across all of Florida.
Recently, the Tampa Bay Times reported that drowning claimed the lives of 98 children in 2021, up 42
percent from the year before, including a disturbing two-week stretch this past July when eight children
And that’s no laughing matter at all.
Especially when it doesn’t account for the hundreds of sometimes minor, sometimes major injuries that
happen routinely—in addition to the thousands of frightening near-misses not reported in that statistic.
This story may even bring a personal one to mind.
Here at High 5, we’re writing to strongly encourage parents throughout the area to take water safety
seriously and to take advantage of the “learn-to-swim” resources available to them and their children.
The good news is that our organization offers many of the very best, with swim classes for kids of all
ages, starting at just three years old. More importantly, we believe in what we do and have made
learning to swim our first and foremost pillar of support in the community.
That commitment dovetails with one silver lining in the Times’ article, which underscored the difference
enrolling children in formal swimming lessons can make, especially in terms of reducing their lifetime
chances of drowning by 88 percent—a figure still short of our goal to eliminate youth drowning entirely,
but still many strokes in the right direction.
As a 501c3 non-profit organization, High 5 has been working to turn the tide against the loss of life in the
water since our inception back in 1963. Today, we’re among the area’s most trusted leaders in youth
drowning prevention, as well as a lifeguard- and CPR-certification classes, competitive swimming, diving,
first-aid training, and much more.
High 5 also offers a progressive group lesson program as well as private lessons for both children and
adults, parent/tot classes and adaptive swim lessons, as well as Olympic-level coaching for swimming
and diving competitors.
Too many families have suffered the unimaginable loss of children in-and-around the water. Just twenty
seconds of looking the other way in as little as two inches of water can be tragic. Yet, there’s hope in what
we do here and out in the community every day. Working together, we can fight the good fight in keeping
kids safe, happy, and free to make their own wonderful memories of playtime in the water.
There’s always a High 5 for that!
THERE’S A HIGH 5 FOR THAT
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