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At JCC Abrams Camps, the goal of the instructional swim, as with all our programs, is not simply to impart skills but to also make campers feel good about their achievements. We have three clearly defined goals:
Safety – Nothing is more important than being safe in the water. With well-trained lifeguards and the assistance of the many watchful eyes of our counselors, campers are constantly monitored during swimming. In addition, a buddy system is taught to campers for use during free swim periods.
Instruction – Learning how to swim or improving and expanding aquatic skills is an important part of the camp experience. Swimming is a life skill and our supportive and caring staff provides the atmosphere where campers are encouraged to achieve their best. This is accomplished through small classes, supportive instructors and a general attitude that says all our campers are terrific!
Fun – Swimming is certainly a major part of the fun that campers experience at Abrams Camps. Free swim is a time to enjoy playing in the water while practicing new skills and/or playing with friends and staff. At least half of the time each camper spends at the pool is spent in Free Swim. There are also opportunities for a host of other water-based activities that help to make the pool one of the “most fun” places in camp.
We follow a modified six-course system modeled after the Red Cross Learn to Swim Program. Although there are 6 swim levels, each level is broken into at least two sections concentrating on the scaffolding of swim skills so that they build upon each other. The six courses, basic objectives & skills to be taught are as follows:
Level 1: Water Exploration – Students just learning to swim become confident and comfortable in the water as they develop basic swimming skills and learn water safety as well as rhythmic breathing.
Level 2: Primary Skills – Students learn to jump into deep water, level off, float, and swim 25yds. Using beginner stroke or front crawl, 25yds, of back float with kick.
Level 3: Stroke Readiness – Introduced to deep water. Front crawl, survival float, elementary backstroke and back crawl. Fundamentals of treading water and learning to dive from the side of the pool.
Level 4: Stroke Development – Instruction in side stroke, breast stroke, back crawl, treading water, survival float and rescue skills.
Level 5: Stroke Refinement – The objective of this class is the continued coordination and refinement of the keystrokes. The butterfly stroke is introduced here for the first time.
Level 6: Skill Proficiency – For swimmers who want to advance to a higher skill level improving strokes and increasing endurance. Introduction of competitive turns and dives.
Free swim is the most exciting time for our campers. Campers use a buddy system that provides them with the opportunity to share time with their friends while maintaining a safety check environment.
Free swim is also a time for our campers to socialize with friends from other bunks and age groups. Our aquatics team enjoys creating unique water games and relay races for an extra "swimmingly" good time!