ZAC Camp helps JBA youth be safer in, around water
By Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 24, 2018
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
The Joint Base Andrews Youth Center teamed up with the ZAC Foundation to host the third annual ZAC Camp to teach water safety to children here Aug. 21-24.
The ZAC Foundation was established by Karen and Brian Cohn after their son Zachary lost his life in a swimming accident. Every year the foundation collaborates with local organizations across the U.S. to teach kids water safety.
“[Swimming] is a lifesaving skill,” said Bobby Broome, Joint Base Andrews pool manager and aquatics director. “You never know if you’re going to wind up in a typhoon or flood, or just at a pool party and someone pushes you into the pool. You need to be able to save your life.”
Instructors, camp counselors and first responders taught kids 5 to 9 years old a variety of water safety skills throughout the four-day camp, which included sessions in and out of the pool.
In an outdoor classroom setting, campers learned how emergency personnel "respond and act" during a swimming incident, said Matrice Brooks, JBA Youth Center assistant director. “Now when they see those first responders they will know what their role is,” she said.
The kids also had a chance to learn about other related topics, such as how to select a properly fitting lifejacket and boating safety -- all topics aimed at helping kids learn to be as safe as possible while navigating the hazards of water.
The instructors also taught campers how to potentially save others.
“We teach them dry-land skills such as ‘reach and throw, don’t go,’ which is a non-swimming rescue,” Broome added. “They’re not lifeguards, but they can always reach out a rescue tube or a noodle or their arm, lay down on the deck and save someone from the side if they need to.”
Broome said the lessons' aim was to teach safety "in, on and around the water"; learning how to swim is part of it, but the overall goal is to "teach them how to be a little safer in the water,” he added.