The USA Swimming Foundation has named Boy Scouts of America (BSA) as a member of its Affiliate Coalition. This alliance has been forged to help increase nationwide efforts to prevent drowning.
“The USA Swimming Foundation is pleased to welcome the Boy Scouts of America to our Affiliate Coalition to help promote the Make a Splash initiative,” said USA Swimming Foundation Executive Director Debbie Hesse. “Our joint efforts to provide learn to swim opportunities and water safety resources to children and families within the scouting community will positively impact the nation and help to save lives.”
The USA Swimming Foundation’s Affiliate Coalition is composed of businesses and organizations that share the goal of promoting the importance of learn-to-swim and water safety to children across America.
As one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, the Boy Scouts of America has promoted water safety education and training as part of its service to youth for more than a century. As an affiliate, the BSA will help to spread the USA Swimming Foundation’s messages on the importance of learn-to-swim and water safety. Local Scouting units and councils will be encouraged to contact existing USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner programs to provide swimming lessons as unit activities and, where practical, to consider becoming Make a Splash Local Partners.
“Instilling the life skill of swimming in youth has been important to the Boy Scouts of America since its inception. In fact, the Swimming merit badge was one of the original merit badges introduced in 1911, and today many Scouts choose to earn this badge on their path toward becoming an Eagle Scout,” said Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock. “Joining the USA Swimming Foundation Affiliate Coalition helps underscore the importance the BSA places on swimming and water safety.”
Sobering Drowning Statistics
Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than one in five fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14. Drowning is also a silent killer—most young children who drown in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time, according to one child drowning study.
Furthermore, 60 to 70 percent of African American and Hispanic/Latino children cannot swim, and only 13 percent of kids who come from a nonswimming household will ever learn to swim, according to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis. African American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports.