Y Notes

Learning a life skill

  • Ronda Graff
  • 03-Jan-2019

Over the years, the activities my family and I have become involved in seem to have fallen into two camps, those needing a helmet and those involving water.

For example, I personally own three different types of helmets, one for skiing, one for riding my scooter and a large variety of bicycle helmets, depending on the type of bicycle and terrain.

We are also regularly around water, both indoors and outdoors.

All my kids have been or currently are members of the YMCA swim team and the McCook High School swim team. We participate in triathlons, which finds us swimming in pools, ponds, lakes and even oceans.

And I love the Christmas gift from my husband, an inflatable stand-up paddle board, even though I can’t use it for few more months. Our collection of kayaks and paddle boards now just about covers everyone in our family.

It’s this involvement in aquatics which recently prompted me to add to my list of certifications: as a certified lifeguard.

My four oldest children were all lifeguards, so I decided I would join their ranks.

The training involved a lot of common sense such as calling for the EMS because they know more than I’ll ever know.

But the class also instilled confidence. I now feel better that I will have a clue what to do in an emergency…although I pray that I never have to use the skills I learned in class. I will likely never take a formal job as a lifeguard, but it’s still great knowledge to have.

The YMCA offers Red Cross Lifeguarding Classes throughout the year, especially in preparation for the outdoor summer pool season. Anyone considering a job as a lifeguard this summer should check back regularly to see when the classes are scheduled. Anna Sis does a great, comprehensive job of training and showed great patience, especially when her “drowning victims” wouldn’t stay “drowned.”

Another valuable life-skill - swim lessons - also begins soon.

The next swim lesson sessions begin Saturday, with the Tuesday/Thursday classes starting next week. It is never too early to prepare your child to be around water and to become proficient with their swim strokes. And when I mean early, I mean that summer will be here before you know it, as well as children as young as nine months can become accustomed to the water.

A full listing of classes as well as times and dates are available on the YMCA website, www.mccookymca.org or just stop by the YMCA for a listing of classes. Do it for your kids, who may or may not thank you later, but also do it for yourself for your piece of mind.


While the YMCA has resumed regular hours with the holidays passed, there are various activities which will affect availability within the facility.

For example, the YMCA’s gym will close at 4 p.m. Sunday to prepare for the kick-off and group workout for the 2019 YMCA Team Fitness Challenge.Good luck to everyone participating in the three-month fitness challenge. We expect to see less (through weight loss and muscle gain) and more (visits to the YMCA) of each you.

The YMCA Board of Directors also approved opening earlier on Saturdays, with the doors opening at 7 a.m., allowing those with Saturday activities to get in a workout before the craziness of the day really sets in.

And finally, the YMCA/Parker Hannifin youth basketball league begins next week, which means the gym will be filled with dribbling and shooting on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. With the men’s basketball league on Wednesday nights, the gym is regularly busy but there is still time for Pickleball every morning, in the evenings after the games and on Saturday mornings.