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Lewes, Delaware
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April 11, 2008     Cape Gazette
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April 11, 2008
 

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CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, April 11 - Monday , April 14, 2008 - 63 YMCA hosts Water Safety Week for children By Tom Walsh Special to the Cape Gazette The third annual water safety week was held March 24-28 at the Sussex Family YMCA in Rehoboth Beach. The event pro- vided free swimming lessons to children ages 3 to 13 and educat- ed youth witfi valuable life-saving skills while giving them a chance to enjoy water recreation. Terry Rasberry, executive direc- tor of the Sussex Family YMCA, introduced the idea of the skill training sessions as a way to pre- vent accidents in the coastal com- munity that could result in injury or drowning. "There are multiple bodies of water all around us and many kids may not have the opportunity for a formal swim lesson," said the director. "We believe it is our responsibility to provide swim lessons to these kids in our com- munity." Since the program started three years ago, interest in the event has steadily increased. In 2005, approximately 250 children signed up. Last year, more than 300 joined in. This March, the facility hosted more than 360 chil- dren, many times at maximum capacity of the pool. Fifteen instructors were avail- able at all times, teaching the chil- dren everything from breath con- trol to water adjustnient and stroke mechanics. Brett Dier, aquatics director for the YMCA, and Jessica Hart spent much of their time in the pool helping chil- dren get over fear of the water. The two event organizers had a difficult task of keeping the chil- dren both safe and entertained, After giving the new swimmers a chance to save their companions by throwing ring floats, extending safety poles and even floating around in small inflatable boats, no child could be seen without a smile.. "The kids have fun every day," Continued on page 65 Tom Walsh photos The third annual water safety week was held March 24-28 at the Sussex Family YMCA in Rehoboth Beach. The event provided free swimming lessons to children ages 3 to 13 and taught youth valuable life-salving skills while giving them a chance to enjoy the facility's large pool. More than 360 children registered for the event which featured inflatable boats, breath- ing control exercises and stroke mechanic lessons. Shown above (l-r) are Aswan Fillyau, Raswan Dale and Jessica Hart enjoying the YMCA pool in a donated inflatable raft. Event organizers had a difficult task of keeping the children beth safe and entertained dur- ing the week. After giving the new swimmers a chance to save their companions by throwing ring floats, extending safety polls and even floating around in small inflatable beats, no child could be seen without a smile. Shown below is instructor Brett Dier in the pool being saved by second grade student Isiah Dadzie and fifth grader Liz Sibley. Brett Dier, aquatic director for the Sussex Family YMCA, was one of many instructors who taught children water safe- ty in a fun and safe environment. Shown is Dier with student Kenya Wynder as she jumps into the pool. Dogs Continued from page 62 could get it out of the building," she said. But the dog broke' away and went back to the man. The dog guided him down 71 flights to lead him to safety. ''hat was one of our dogs," Damato said. Featured-speaker Cecilia Warren shared the journey of a guide dog, telling about her early experiences as a sighted puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind and her more recent experi- ences as an adult who lost her vision and now has her own guide dog. Warren's black Lab, Gardenia, stood attentively at her side. Cathy Millone attended the cel- ebration with her guide dog of nine years, Imogene. Millone, who has been blind since she was 5 years old, got her first guide dog when she was 30. "Nobody ever came up and said 'What a beautiful white cane you have,'" Millone said with a smile. Living in Millsboro on one acre with a fenced yard and a pool, Millone said Mogie loves the boardwalk but hates the water. "Whoever heard of a Lab who wouldn't go in the water?" she asked, giving her dog a friendly pat on the head. Milford's role Milford is the hub of Guiding Eyes' new Delmarva region, one of 40 regions along the East Coast, said Damato. Barbara and Randy Byle, who are raising their fourth guide dog, will coordinate local training and hold classes. "I kept worrying I would do something to mess up the first pup. I didn't know I would become coordinator for the new region," said Barbara Byle. She said she was touched by support received from local Milford busi- nesses. Guiding Eyes for the Blind uses Labrador retrievers, specially bred in a breeding colony located in New York State, said Puppy Program Regional Manager Gretchen Pierce. Each dog ultimately requires an average investment of $45,000, said Damato. That includes life- time support, training assistance, problem resolution and veterinary care, she said. After a guide dog becomes so elderly that it is no longer able to serve the needs of its visually impaired master, it is first offered to remain with its owner. If that person is unable to keep the dog, it is offered back to the person who raised it for the fwst 18 months. "A dog was returned to its puppy-raiser after being away for almost 11 years and it went straight to the person who raised it. The dog didn't forget," Damato said. Additional information regard- ing Guiding Eyes for the Blind is available online at www.guidingeyes.org or by call- ing toll free 800-942-0149. Contact Georgia Leonhart at g.l.leonhart@comcast.net .net. Cathy Milone hugs Imogene, her devoted companion and guide for nine years.