Water Safety

So many lakes, so little fear

Minnesota has a love affair with its lakes. Unfortunately, a disproportionate number of its citizens lack the skills to safely participate in water-related pastimes.

Drowning Statistics (Centers for Disease Control, 2014)

  • Number two cause for death of children under five, behind only inherited conditions
  • 5.5 times more black kids aged 5 – 19 years old drown than their white peers
  • For every drowning death, four children are hospitalized for near-drowning
  • Nearly 20 percent of near-drowning survivors suffer severe brain injury
  • Permanent brain damage sets in after only 4 – 6 minutes under water

The Harold Mezile North Community YMCA Youth & Teen Enrichment Center wants all families to safely enjoy Minnesota’s aquatic pastimes. To make this possible, we regularly hold FREE large-group water safety courses that include boating safety and survival swim-strokes, as well as swim lessons for all ages.

In 2013, we provided free water safety courses to 600 children and adults.


When Adrian joined the Youth Staff team, he couldn’t swim and avoided going onto the pool deck. However, with the encouragement of his colleagues in Aquatics, he confronted his fears and started swimming lessons at the beginner level. Today, Adrian regularly swims with the kids and has even achieved his lifeguard certification.