Program YMCA

Ventura Family YMCA receives national YUSA grant to provide swim program scholarships for underserved communities.

As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, t he Ventura Family YMCA will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from underserved communities in the City of Ventura and surrounding areas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. Additionally 64 percent of African-American children, 45 percent of latino children, and 40 percent of Caucasian children have no or low swimming ability.

“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Amy Bailey, Executive Director of the Ventura Family YMCA. “The Y teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives it builds confidence.”

The Y believes this is especially true following 2020’s COVID-19 shutdowns. In a typical year, the Ventura Y teaches a large number of children in their swim programs—this decreased in 2020. “We know there are children in our community who are now more at risk due to the need to maintain social distancing in 2020 and we want to make every effort we can to reach those kids this year. In order to maintain a safe and healthy environment while COVID-19 is still present, the Y is providing Coivd-19 training for all staff and strict health protocols for students and parents of the program.

The Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety. The Ventura YMCA continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing—skills that last a lifetime. To learn how to qualify for financial assistance, please email