ZAC CAMPS: Promoting Water Safety at a Local and National Level

ZAC CAMPS: Promoting Water Safety at a Local and National Level

Water Safety/Aquatic Instructor Bobby Broome teaches swimmers at ZAC camp located at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

ZAC Camps have served almost 20,000 children across the US – thanks to partnerships with local organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs, American Red Cross, YMCA’s, and first responders in local communities.

The award-winning 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.

The Centers for Disease Control says drowning is the number one cause of accidental death among kids between one and four. Drowning is the second leading cause for kids between five and 14. And the risk is highest among minority kids, which is why the ZAC foundation brings safety lessons to neighborhoods where those kids live.

Lifeguards are on duty as instructors work in small groups at the camp

Lack of access to swimming pools means minority children are far less likely to know how to swim than their white counterparts, said Angie Mock, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio. 2017 national data from the USA Swimming Foundation shows that 64 percent of black children and 45 percent of Hispanic children possess poor swimming ability, compared to 40 percent of white children, putting them at greater risk of drowning.

Our Role in Preventing Flood Drownings

“Every summer, unfortunately, we hear horrendous stories about kids drowning, and not only are they drowning in swimming pools, but drowning due to high rains and flash flooding in drainage areas,” Mock said.

2021 was the deadliest flooding year since 2017, with deaths surpassing 116 people as of September. ZAC Camps inform kids and families on how to avoid drowning risks not just in pools but in natural bodies of water. Our partnerships with first responders also prepare children for how to remain safe when heavy rains create dangerous conditions in their neighborhoods. Worried about flood emergency prep in 2022 and beyond? Here’s how to survive a flood emergency.

The ZAC Foundation is on a mission to prevent child drownings nation and worldwide. Stay informed – read our other Water Safety FAQs, listen to our Podcast, and subscribe to receive our email Newsletter!