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4-H YFP offered swim lessons


Reservation youth learn water safety and proper swim techniques. - submitted photo

Who goes swimming in January? Colville Reservation youth do if they participated in 4-H YFP (Youth and Families with Promise)!

Every Saturday in January through Feb. 1, has been filled with bus rides to the YMCA in Spokane, so that Keller youth could participate in swimming lessons and free swim time in an indoor pool. Twenty youth and their chaperones have braved the cold, early mornings to board a bus and ride for two hours, to take swim lessons. The swim instructors are trained lifeguards employed by the YMCA.

The first lesson focused on assessing the youths' swimming skills; the group was then divided based on existing abilities. Subsequent lessons focused on helping them to develop their strengths and improve their swimming skills.

4-H YFP is a grant project from the OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention). The main objective of this project is to provide positive adult to youth relationships, to increase young people's chances for success. This is done by offering Family Nite Out events and providing hands-on, interactive and educational opportunities for youth to learn from caring adults.

Linda McLean, Colville Reservation Extension Educator stated, "It is so important for our youth to learn how to swim, as the Colville Reservation is surrounded on three sides by rivers and there are multiple bodies of water all across the reservation." Colville Reservation Extension 4-H programs partnered with CCT (Colville Confederated Tribes) Attendance/TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Program, CCT Department of Transportation and many 4-H volunteers from Keller Valley Highriders 4-H to help insure a positive, safe and well-rounded swim program.

For those wanting more information on 4-H or the YFP Mentoring program, please contact Linda McLean, Colville Reservation-Ferry County Extension Educator, (509) 634-2305 or . Or contact Dan Fagerlie, Project Director, (509) 690-0009 / (509) 775-3087 or or Trevor Lane, Ferry County Director, (509) 775-5225 ext. 1113 or the Okanogan County Extension office (509) 422-7245.

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