West Cook YMCA

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ENROLL today in our swim access program

The West Cook YMCA offers a COMPLIMENTARY session in our swim access program which will include a swim assessment of all children and placed in an appropriate class based on swim level and the skills of the children. This program is designed to increase the opportunity for swimmers to have access to water safety and swim lessons to communities and families that typically do not have access to swim lesson programming. Our Swim Access program is for children ages 3-12 years old in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Melrose Park, and Maywood and/or who are students in Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview School District 89, River Forest School District 90, Forest Park School District 91, or Oak Park School District 97. 

what is our swim access program?

Funded by the YMCA of the USA's Strategic Initiative Fund and USA Swimming Foundation, our swim access program is designed to reduce children’s risk of drowning by teaching essential water safety skills through our progressive swim lesson program. Taught by West Cook YMCA swim lesson instructors, these lessons can reduce the risk of drowning and give youth confidence in and around water. Upon completion of the two-month session, the youth will be invited to continue in swim lessons. 

 The Youth will Receive:
  • YMCA Aquatics Program Orientation
  • Swim Assessment
  • (8) 30-Minute Complimentary Swim Lessons that include:
    • Drowning Prevention
    • Basic Rescue Skills
    • Stroke Development
    • Building Confidence
Session Dates
  • November 12, 2022 - January 15, 2023
Age Groups
  • Preschool-Kindergarten Swim Access (ages 3 to 5 years)
  • School-Age Swim Access (ages 6-12 years)
Class Day and Times for Both Age Groups
  • Saturdays 11:45am-12:15pm (July 11-September 4 session is full)
  • Sundays 11:10am-11:40am 
  • Sundays 11:50am-12:20pm
  • Sundays 12:30pm-1:00pm   

Alignment with YMCA Swim Lessons:

The Swim Access program follows the Safety Around Water curriculum that aligns with our swim lesson program. These lessons will focus on reducing their risk of drowning, teach basic water safety skills, increase confidence in and around water; prepare students to transition directly into swim lessons. 

The Swim Lessons are customized expectations based on the student’s ability and supports for their skill development. Instructors facilitate skill practice and assess in multiple ways through multiple activities. Swim lessons are student centered and include fun activities to keep swimmers engaged and moving while they learn. The skills in each stage are minimum skills to focus the lesson, and instructors will challenge each learning in a safe environment. 

health and safety measures

Our Aquatic Facility and Programming implementation plan is based on the guidelines issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health. We will comply with current and stringent general health requirements including fully vaccinated instructors wearing face shields. 



The Y has been America's swim instructor for more than 100 years. Research shows that if a child doesn’t learn to swim by third grade, chances are he or she never will. Participation in formal swimming lessons can greatly reduce the risk of drowning. Teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. The West Cook YMCA’s Safety Around Water program can help you make sure they learn essential water safety skills, which can open up a world of possibilities for them to satisfy their curiosity safely.

Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water. But, as a parent or caregiver, you can’t keep your children sidelined. You need to equip them with the tools they need to be confident in and around water so they don’t lose out on the health benefits of exercise, the opportunities to bond with family and friends and the sense of accomplishment when they learn new skills.

The West Cook YMCA is increasing access to swim lessons focused on drowning prevention, rescue skills, and stroke development all while building the confidence of youth in a fun and safe environment.  


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