In 2007, 6-year-old Zachary Archer Cohn, a terrific swimmer, tragically lost his life in his backyard swimming pool after becoming trapped in the drain.

In efforts to prevent another needless tragedy, Tinker Youth Center has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the ZAC Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of America. The grant makes it possible to teach advanced water safety to Tinker children age 5-9 years old at no cost to their parents. Tinker is one of two military bases to receive the grant this year.

The ZAC Foundation was formed in 2008 by Zachary’s parents, Brian and Karen Cohn, after suffering through the heartbreaking loss.
“Zachary’s favorite sport was swimming. He was a true water baby and had a natural gift. It was doing what he loved so much that Zachary was stolen from us. When we lost our son, we lost a treasured part of our family that can never be replaced or forgotten. We were blessed to have the short time we had with Zachary in our lives and he will forever be a part of our hearts,” said the Cohn family on their website. “We will work relentlessly to spread the messages of water safety throughout the country and the world.”

ZAC camp provides swimming safety instruction to thousands of children across the nation. “We are so thrilled to have been selected by the ZAC Foundation and Boys and Girls Clubs of America for this amazing opportunity to pull together our community’s helping organizations for the benefit of our youth,” said Mindy Whittington, director of Tinker Youth Center. “We are energized to convey this essential water safety awareness in a positive atmosphere while providing potentially lifesaving information to all the participants, specifically to those who may not know how to be safe around pools, lakes or other water environments.”

ZAC Camp at Tinker takes place July 21-25. Camp includes classroom instruction where the children will learn water safety, swimming lessons at Iszard Pool with qualified lifeguards, and learn from first responders about water safety and surviving a water emergency.
ZAC Camp participants will receive a copy of the book, “The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim” and a ZAC camp T-shirt.

Children ages 5-9, already enrolled in the Youth Center Summer Camp, are going to have the opportunity to attend the training during the week of July 21-25, with parent permission. Others with access to Tinker are invited to attend as well. For an application, please contact the Youth Center at 734- 7866 or go to

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