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Posted on Wed, May 15, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor YMCA expanding free swim lessons within Washtenaw County

By Katrease Stafford


Ann Arbor Y aquatics coordinator Jerry McNamee, left, teaches Ypsilanti resident Andrew Richardson, far right, and his brother, Andre, how to float with life jackets on as a part of the Ypsi SPLASH! program at The Villas apartments in Ypsilanti.

Angela Cesere |

The Ann Arbor YMCA is expanding its offering of free swim and water safety classes to five apartment complexes and its Ann Arbor location this summer following last year’s successful SPLASH! Program.

"We’re pretty excited about the fact that we’re going to serve a lot more kids," said Jan Hack, communications director of the YMCA.

This summer, children from five Mckinley-owned properties including The Villas, Aspen Chase, Golfside Lake, Roundtree and Evergreen apartment complexes in Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and Pittsfield Township can participate in the lessons.

Children will again be able to receive free swim lessons at the Y facility at 400 W. Washington St. in Ann Arbor.

The Ann Arbor Y, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, has offered a free week of Splash! programming at the Y’s indoor pool, for 49 years, Hack said.

The YMCA just received a $2,500 grant from the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor in support of the Y’s free Splash! learn-to-swim program.

Last year, more than 300 children participated at the Ann Arbor location alone, Hack said.


More than 300 children participated in the Splash! Program at the Y location at 400 Washington Street in Ann Arbor.

Courtesy Ann Arbor YMCA

The free residential program began in 2011 when staff from the Ann Arbor YMCA taught 20 children at the Aspen Chase apartment complex.

In 2012, the YMCA received a $70,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health in support of its subsidized after school and summer programs for underserved youth in the Ypsilanti and Willow Run communities. Hack said some of those funds continue to go toward the Splash! Program.

Programming at each venue will take place for five consecutive days during the following time frame:

Ann Arbor YMCA at 400 W. Washington St.: June 17 through 21

The Villas at 2911 Bynan Dr.: June 24 through 28.

Golfside Lake Apartments at 2345 Woodridge Way: July 8 through 12

Aspen Chase at 2960 International Dr : July 15 through July 19

Evergreen Apartments at 3089 Woodland Hills: July 22 through 26

Roundtree Apartments at 2835 Roundtree Blvd: July 29 through Aug. 2.

All classes are geared toward children aged 5-10 and will cover pool, boating, beach and water park safety, and stroke development.

"I think that swimming and being safe around the water is very important," Hack said. "It's true that in Michigan you are always close to a body of water, whether that be a pool or a lake, or a water park. Kids are constantly around water and it's important for them to know how to be safe."

Hack said several apartment complexes in the area have swimming pools right within the complex.

Children from low-income households have accidental drowning rates three times higher than that of their higher-income peers. In many of these families, the parents also do not know how to swim, reinforcing the need for access to swim classes, Hack said.

Beginning May 27, participants may register by picking up a flier at their local community apartment office, printing a flier online or by calling or emailing Christina Wackenheim, aquatics director, at or 734-661-8050.

Registration is now open for parents interested in enrolling their children at the YMCA Washington Street location.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, May 22, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

nothing is truly free.some one(s) somewhere along the line has to pay for it.

Margaret Leary

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

Hooray for the Y! This is especially welcome because Rutherford Pool in Ypsi is still closed, although with the recent decision by the Washtenaw County Parks and Rec Commission to provide $150,000 for Rutherford, it now seems sure to be fixed for next year.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.

I taught many kids from these apartment complexes and always, always worried about their safety. I wish i knew it had been available for I could have encouraged from my end. Do you know if the Y is also letting their feeder schools know? Thanks-super idea!!!