Meeting the Mission with Inclusive Water Safety!

Fulfilling a Community Need in Aquatics

“If you weren’t doing this, what would our kids be doing? I really appreciate you guys!” A parent shared with Jamie Kenning, Aquatics Coordinator, who oversees and leads swim instruction at the Valparaiso Family YMCA. The Valparaiso Family YMCA aquatics offerings fill a gap of swim instruction for children with special needs. Our facilities and expertly trained staff provide a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere to deliver specialty programs.

Can-Do-Kids is our small group swim instruction program that provides opportunities for children with special needs to focus on swimming skills, water fun, endurance and safety. Each segment can serve up to 10 children.

One-on-one lessons for our students with special needs has set the Y apart. They offer specific guidance at the right pace for the student, whereas a traditional structured class might not be the right fit yet. Jamie noted everything depends on the child. This allows the instructor to meet them where they are, with the best process and pace.


Thank You For Bringing Programs To Life!

Donors like you make Can-Do-Kids and private lessons for children with special needs a possibility. These services are offered at very low costs to members and the community, to make sure families who need them have access. Financial assistance is also available to no one is turned away. Each year, your support of the Annual Campaign fills the gap in delivering these essential services!


“Swim Angelfish really bolstered how we connect with our students”

Jamie Kenning has earned the Swim Angelfish Instructor Certification – a training for adaptive swim programs to serve children and individuals with special needs. This training has been an excellent resource for other swim instructors at the Y, as the whole team is using the knowledge. “It has helped tremendously, even with mainstream kids and private swim lessons." This training helps instructors overcome learning barriers; one example is ways to overcome the universal fear of putting your face in the water.

 “With our proximity to Lake Michigan and smaller bodies of water, there is a great risk for accidents. Our kids need to have the skills to save themselves,” Jamie urged. It’s important to start swim lessons early, but it’s also important to start. The Y offers swim lessons to all ages and all abilities.


Safety Around Water is a personal mission for Jamie Kenning

When asked what she loves about her role, she immediately responds “that it benefits others.” Jamie has “always loved the water” starting as a lifeguard and teaching lessons in high school. She has also served at many YMCA’s, YWCA’s and other pools around Indiana in her career. She has a passion for service, “many of the programs I’ve work with have been in poor communities, and ones that have dealt with racial issues of inequity.”

Parents are relieved to not have to worry. “Safety around water is so important. If an accident happens, he knows and can swim to the side of the pool for safety.”