Atlanta (April 1, 2015) – Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and The ZAC Foundation, a national leader in water safety education, today announced at a press conference with Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal and the Georgia Children’s Cabinet, that the organizations will work together for their third straight year to bring water safety skills and swim instruction to thousands of children across the country through a program called ZAC Camp. The partnership provides swimming-safety instruction to more than 2,500 Club members at more than 20 Boys & Girls Clubs, kicking off the season in Green Bay, Wisc. In total, the three-year collaboration will help more than 6,500 children ages 5-9 learn swimming safety.
ZAC Camp – named in honor of 6-year-old Zachary Archer Cohn who drowned as a result of being entrapped in the suction of a swimming pool drain – is designed to teach children critical tools to ensure safe swimming, including fundamental stroke training, emergency preparedness and response, and basic lifesaving techniques specific to their water environment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause in children 5-14. Risk of drowning is highest in minority populations, with the fatal drowning rate almost three times that of Caucasian children. Many of these deaths are preventable if proper water safety measures are taken. ZAC Camp aims to reduce these statistics through community engagement and education.
“In just a few short years through our partnership with The ZAC Foundation, ZAC Camp has helped thousands of our Club kids and their families from coast to coast through classroom lessons, safety education in the pool and engagement with First Responders in their communities,” said Jim Clark, President and CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “While ZAC Camp is a fun and engaging opportunity for our members to learn about water safety, we are truly teaching life skills that will keep them protected in and around any body of water. All of us at Boys & Girls Clubs of America are incredibly grateful to the Cohn family for another year of programming that will surely make our kids safer.”
This time-tested curriculum uses classroom education, in-pool swim lessons, and instruction from First Responders and is based on easy-to-learn tenets of water safety learned in the children’s book co-authored by Zachary’s parents, The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim. The ZAC Foundation will also donate a copy of the book to each camper, allowing campers to spread the messages to friends and family.
“Brian and I created The ZAC Foundation to ensure that children and families have the tools they need to always stay water safe,” said Karen Cohn, co-founder of The ZAC Foundation. “Partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs for another year not only helps us realize our mission, but helps us touch the lives of the communities that need it most in our mutual goal to help reduce drownings and water-related injuries nationally.”
2015 marks the third year of the national partnership between the two organizations to implement ZAC Camp in Boys & Girls Clubs across the country through the Foundation’s grant program. The 20 Clubs that will host the ZAC Camp program in 2015 were chosen through a rigorous application and review process:
- Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities (St. Paul, MN)
- Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
- Boys & Girls Club of Collier County (Naples, FL)
- Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich (Greenwich, CT)
- Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens (Long Island City, NY)
- Boys & Girls Club of Camden County (Camden, NJ)
- Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County (Trenton, NJ)
- Gordon Youth Center (Ft. Gordon, GA)
- Salvation Army Aldine Westfield Corps (Houston, TX)
- Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
- Boys & Girls Club of Central Alabama (Hueytown, AL)
- Boys & Girls Club of South Alabama (Mobile, AL)
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Green Bay (Green Bay, WI)
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka (Topeka, KS)
- Riley Youth & School Services (Ft. Riley, KS)
- Tinker Youth Center Air Force Base (Tinker AFB, OK)
- Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
- Boys & Girls Clubs of East Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Fullerton (Fullerton, CA)
For more than 100 years, BGCA has provided high-quality programming that builds character and offers kids a safe and nurturing environment to learn and succeed. ZAC Camp reinforces BGCA’s focus on child health and safety.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
About The ZAC Foundation
The ZAC Foundation was established in 2008 by Brian and Karen Cohn after the loss of their 6-year-old son Zachary Archer Cohn in a pool drain entrapment in their backyard swimming pool. Through education and advocacy, the Foundation is dedicated to preparing children and their families for a lifetime of swimming safety. To learn more about The ZAC Foundation, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and thezacfoundation.org.