On July 12 to 16, beaches at fourteen locations across Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique came alive with children five years and older, as well as adults joining swim instructors who shared best practices and swim techniques to safely navigate the marine space.
A staple on the island’s calendar for some eleven years, Swim weeks began in 2016 and now takes place twice a year in April and July. This year’s activity was sponsored by the Sandals Foundation and organized by Grenada Youth Adventures through its Get Grenada Swimming programme.
Deb Eastwood, Director at Grenada Youth Adventures was elated with the turn out noting, “It was exciting to see and without Sandals Foundation, this swim week would not have happened. With these tough times for so many, sponsorship is hard to find. We are beyond grateful.”
As part of a strategic move, Eastwood shared that this year’s program also encouraged adults to take part in lessons, “In the early years we focused on children, but it is really important as adults bring their children to the beach that they also would be able to enjoy swimming and to go in the water and help their children if needed. “
The support of the National Learn To Swim Week forms part of the Sandals Foundation’s Caribbean-wide Ocean Connect programme geared at teaching 1,000 children how to swim.
“We are committed to helping to shift the culture across the Caribbean by getting as many children as we possibly can, into our waters and swimming,” says Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation. “We’re so proud of all the parents and guardians who brought their children out during the Swim Week as well as those adults who also took part in the lessons,” Clarke said.
The philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International provided just under US $9000 to cover the cost of over 100 swim instructors, equipment, t-shirt and other promotion needs.
Ms. Elizabeth Forsyth, Principal of First Choice Junior School, who brought almost 40 students to the BBC Beach location noted, “The children had fun and learned quite well in the week provided.” She was grateful for the site supervisor and instructors.
A group of friends, who participated at Grand Anse, finished off their week, proving their abilities by jumping off the jetty and swimming to the beach. They were ecstatic with comments such as, “No more paddling around!” exclaimed Kizzy Phillip, and Mikhalyn De Gale added, “Another item off our bucket list!”
Lessons were held Mondays to Friday observing strict Covid -19 protocols to ensure the safety of participants and instructors. Locations included Sauteurs, BBC Beach, Birchgrove, Cabier Beach, Carriacou, Grand Anse, Grand Mal Beach, Grenada Marine, Gouyave, La Sagesse, Petite Martinique, Waltham Beach, and Grand Anse Beach. Six of those sites will continue to give free lessons on Saturdays throughout the summer holidays and most all will resume in September.