The YMCA is providing swim instructions and water safety to Estero’s children from underserved communities through a special agreement with the Village of Estero starting February 15.

The Village negotiated with the YMCA to provide environmental education at the children’s camp, Camp Estero, on Corkscrew Road throughout the year.  This water safety program is an extension of that agreement.

The Y is providing “scholarships” for Estero residents, i.e., financial assistance to help cover the cost of the program.  Depending on the family’s situation, the Y may cover partial or 100% of the cost, based on the family’s household income.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old.  In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study.  Additionally 64 percent of African American children, 45 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of Caucasian children have no or low swimming ability.

The Y states that educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street.  The Y teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives, it builds confidence.

The Y follows all of the CDC guidelines according to their agreement with the Village of Estero.

To learn how to qualify for financial assistance, contact Angel Cerritos at 239-221-7560 or email