Celebrating Summer 2022 with The ZAC Foundation

It’s been quite the whirlwind of a summer for us at The ZAC Foundation (TZF). Between water safety conferences, interviews and local camps, we’re working hard to build our TZF community and keep kids safe from drowning both nationally and globally. Drowning prevention requires effort on many levels – we’re excited to share a brief wrap up of our summer activities and carry this momentum with us into the fall season.

Kicking off National Advocacy Efforts This Spring

Ahead of the summer months, the TZF team attended the 2022 California Water Safety Summit held from March 21 to 22 in Newport Beach, California. 

Along with our fellow title sponsor, the Ben Carlson Memorial & Scholarship Foundation, we announced the formation of the California Water Safety Coalition, which serves the advancement of best practices for drowning prevention. 

Ben Carlson was a Newport Beach lifeguard who fatally drowned after saving a beachgoer during a busy July 4th beach weekend. This summer, the nationwide lifeguard shortage has impacted many communities – further shining a spotlight on the need for trained folks to keep kids and adults safe on the local level. 
The Summit brought over 125 water safety advocates to speak and collaborate on practices, programs, and policies that reduce drowning and aquatic injuries. Learn more about the Summit and the Coalition here.

National Water Safety Conference

The TZF team also attended the National Water Safety Conference in Fort Worth, Texas this April. The conference largely consisted of keynote speeches from water safety leaders and breakout sessions that facilitated discussions around water safety and drowning prevention efforts. 

We felt honored to have been presented with the Community Lifesaver Award by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) at the end of the conference. This award reminded us not only of the progress that we’ve helped make in advancing water safety education and advocacy, but also of the meaningful work that lies ahead in positively impacting the lives of children and their families.

Sharing Our Story and Water Safety Tips

On June 4, the Huffington Post published an essay written by our Co-Founder Karen Cohn. Karen shared her story of losing Zachary, who would have turned 21 this year. She also shared that her other son, Henry Cohn, was inspired to become a lifeguard as a result of the family’s efforts. We are grateful to The Huffington Post and everyone who re-shared our story on Twitter. Educating our community is the first step to prevention! In an excerpt from the essay, Karen said,

“In the months that followed his death, we reeled from our loss. We tried to make sense of it and wondered how we could recover as a family and give meaning to a young life cut short so unfairly. The more we learned about water safety statistics ― that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 and is the second-leading cause of death for children younger than 14 ― the more we knew we wanted to prevent other families from ever having to experience the loss of a child from drowning.”

Shortly after the Huffington Post publication, Good Morning America shared an article spotlighting our mission here at the ZAC Foundation. The piece especially touched on the importance of pool drain safety – an important topic here at The ZAC Foundation.

World Drowning Prevention Day with the World Health Organization

Our Co-Founder Karen Cohn participated in the World Health Organization’s World Drowning Prevention Day webinar on July 27.

This webinar connected United Nations (UN) agencies, governments, organizations, and other global drowning prevention partners to reflect on key achievements and the progress made since the endorsement of the first-ever UN Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention. 

Karen shared her story behind founding The ZAC Foundation, the impact that the Foundation has made through programming such as ZAC Camps, as well as her son Henry’s decision to pursue lifeguarding as a summer job.

Be sure to check out the recording of the webinar and tune in at 1:17:00!

Educating Audiences Across the US with Our Keeping Kids Safe Podcast

It’s been a little over a year since we started our Keeping Kids Safe podcast to provide child safety and water safety education to a wider national audience. 

This summer, we’ve had informative discussions with safety leaders and experts on a variety of topics, including car seat safety, diversity in aquatics, consumer protection for children, and carbon monoxide awareness

We’re looking forward to addressing more topics within the realms of child safety and water safety through engaging conversations with thought leaders in the space. Be sure to subscribe to Keeping Kids Safe wherever you listen to your podcasts and let us know what you think of the podcast via a rating or a comment!

Serving the Local Community via ZAC Camps

We couldn’t have been more excited to commence our ZAC Camp in 2022! From August 1 to 4, we invited over 100 kids from the Stamford, Connecticut, area to participate in our award-winning camp. 

Along with the help of ZAC Camp counselors and the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford, we immersed the kids in swim lessons, classroom activities, and informational sessions with first responders. Among the many things the kids learned include how to back float, the A, B, C, Ds of water safety, and what a day in the life is like for a first responder. 

We also welcomed our friend and ZAC Foundation board member Rowdy Gaines, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, to help at the camp, which proved to be an immense success. We can’t wait to bring ZAC Camps to more communities across the US next summer.

ZAC Foundation Day at Citi Field

What better way to cap off a great summer than a Mets game?! On August 31, the New York Mets honored our foundation as part of its ZAC Foundation Day festivities at Citi Field. Thank you to the Amazin’ Mets Foundation for helping make this day possible! Our Co-Founder Brian Cohn kicked off the festivities by throwing out a ceremonial first pitch to remember. 

Throughout the game, drowning prevention statistics were shown on the jumbotron in an interactive Q&A format. Aside from educating the fans on water safety and drowning prevention, we were also thrilled to have some of our ZAC Campers join us at Citi Field for the game! As the cherry on top of ZAC Foundation Day festivities, the Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1.  

With these exciting activities in the rearview, we remain energized to continue our work in promoting water safety and drowning prevention in communities across the country. Be sure to subscribe to our monthly email newsletters and follow us on our social media channels for updates from us!

October 11, 2022