MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – For the fifth year, The ZAC Foundation joins the Boys and Girls Club of South Alabama and First Responders to host a four-day water safety camp for South Alabama children and families.
The award-winning ZAC Camp brings life-saving water safety skills to local five to nine-year-olds. Nearly 15,000 kids all across the country have participated in the camps in recent years, including hundreds in the Mobile area. Combining ‘classroom’ instruction with swimming lessons and opportunities to learn important skills from First Responders, the camp provides children and parents with tools to enjoy the water safely while understanding avoidable risks.
Sponsored in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, the Mobile ZAC Camp is currently underway at the Fredericka G. Evans Cultural Center, Bishop State Community College on 351 N. Broad Street in Mobile until April 5. Community leaders, along with representatives from local police and fire departments, will participate alongside professional water safety instructors.
In addition to in-pool lessons and safety classes with First Responders, campers learn the fundamental tenets of water safety from a classroom curriculum based on The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim, a children’s book co-authored by Zachary’s parents.
Founded in 2008, The ZAC Foundation was established by Karen and Brian Cohn after the loss of their six-year-old son, Zachary Archer Cohn, who became trapped in a drain in their backyard swimming pool. The Foundation’s advocacy and education efforts have reached more than 10,000 children and their families directly, with millions more reached through social media and news outlets.
ZAC Camps, such as the current session in Mobile, are a major part of the Foundation’s work.
Announcing the Mobile camp, ZAC Foundation co-founder Karen Cohn said, “Each year, it is tremendously gratifying to see our son Zachary’s legacy live on in the faces and laughter of kids across the country who participate in ZAC Camps. We couldn’t bring this life-saving opportunity to Mobile without our amazing partners, BGCSA, and we’re excited to be back for what I am confident will be an amazing camp. Nothing is more important than the safety of our kids, and it brings us all great joy to provide kids and their parents with the tools to enjoy the water more safely.”
“The ZAC Camp is an incredible opportunity to provide children and parents of South Alabama with professional, proven and fun water safety instruction,” said Inger Anderson, Director of Youth Services of BGCSA. “We are grateful and proud to be a part of the upcoming camp and the life-saving skills it will offer.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children aged 1-4, and the second leading cause among those aged 5-14. Drowning risk is highest in minority populations, with drowning rates nearly three times that of Caucasian children. Many of these tragic deaths are preventable through proper water safety skills and measures.