This year more than 400 kids participated in ZAC Camps in Greenwich, Connecticut; Fullerton, California; Paterson and Camden, New Jersey. Led by experienced and highly trained instructors, our camps are structured to help your kids learn core swimming skills, build confidence, make friends, and have fun!
As we continue to face a nationwide lifeguard shortage, it’s more important than ever to bring water safety training to you. With fewer lifeguards available to monitor beaches and pools, we are putting forth every effort to educate and prepare families with swimming skills.
How did ZAC Camps impact in 2023?
We started ZAC Camps, named in honor of 6-year-old Zachary Archer Cohn, to teach children ages 5-9 valuable information that will keep them safe in any body of water.
We were thrilled and proud to bring ZAC camps back to pre-pandemic numbers. With over 400 children learning to swim, we continued to spread the word on the importance of water vigilance and safety. We learn from kids and parents at our camps every year to better share the essential safety tools they need, and remove any previous fears they may have around water. In 2023 we updated our curriculum to make it even more engaging and interactive..
How many children have participated in ZAC Camps?
In the last decade, ZAC Camps have taught life-saving water safety skills to more than 20,000 children in at-risk communities nationwide, yet there is still much work left to do.
How do we teach swimming skills to children?
We 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.
Community Drowning Prevention Efforts
Who are our Partners?
ZAC Camps are held in partnership with local organizations across the U.S. This includes the Boys & Girls clubs, who we’ve partnered with for over a decade!
Making an Impact, Together
With the continued lifeguard shortages and unexpected weather events, drowning numbers continue to increase. Let’s all think about how we can contribute to drowning prevention efforts in our communities.
Here are some ways to bring water safety education to your communities:
A key component of the ZAC Camps is learning the importance of following the A, B, C, & Ds of water safety:
A is for Adult
Children should never have access to any form of water without an adult who has eye-to-eye contact with them.
B is for Barrier
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 making sure that the barriers are in place.
C is for Classes
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.
D is for Drains
Pool drains are dangerous to all swimmers. Children should never swim near pool or hot tub drains. Children should be taught to tell an adult if they see a broken or loose drain cover and should NOT return to the pool until the drain cover has been replaced.
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.
We have created a few activity sheets for different age groups so children can reinforce core water safety messages and the ABCDs. While they are based on “The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim,” you don’t need to read the book in order to complete and color these mazes, puzzles, etc.