The award-winning ZAC Camps, named in honor of 6-year-old Zachary Archer Cohn, teach children ages 5-9 valuable information to keep them safe in any body of water.
ZAC Camps are held in partnership with local organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs, American Red Cross, YMCA’s, and first responders in local communities. Over the past decade, ZAC Camps have taught life-saving water safety skills to more than 20,000 children in at-risk communities nationwide.
The 4-day-long ZAC Camps use primary education stations — classroom activities, in-water swimming instruction, and first responder interaction – to reinforce essential safety lessons so both children and their parents learn to enjoy the water safely while understanding avoidable risks.
A key component of the ZAC Camps is learning the importance of following the A, B, C, & Ds of water safety:
Children should never have access to any form of water without an adult who has eye-to-eye contact with them.
Barriers, like fences and gates, should restrict children’s access to all forms of water. Children need to know how important barriers are and their role in keeping children safe.
At the appropriate age, children need to take swimming lessons. Each family should discuss this with their pediatrician to decide when their child is ready for swimming lessons.
In addition to swim lessons and safety classes with first responders, ZAC Camp participants learn the fundamentals of water safety from a fun and engaging classroom curriculum based on “The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim,” a children’s book written by ZAC Foundation Co-Founders Karen and Brian Cohn. The story follows the journey of a young polar bear named Zeke who is afraid of the water and refuses to swim. He leaves his home in search of other animals who do not swim, and ends up finding that he can enjoy the water if he follows the A, B, C, & Ds of water safety.