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For more information, please contact

Jess Klein, Health and Wellness Coordinator, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, kleinj@bloomington.in.gov or 812-349-3771

Erik Pearson, Facility/Program Coordinator, City of Bloomington Banneker Community Center, pearsone@bloomington.in.gov or 812-349-3734

Banneker Campers Will Learn to Swim Through Parks’ State-Funded Program in 2020

The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department has received a $9,937 grant to provide free swimming lessons at Mills Pool to all kindergarten through third grade participants in the Banneker Community Center's summer camp program in summer 2020.

The Youth and Adolescent Physical Activity (YAPA) Grant was awarded to the Parks and Recreation Department by the Indiana State Department of Health for the third consecutive year. The YAPA grant supports programs that provide youth with increased opportunities for physical activity.

According to grant author Jess Klein, health and wellness coordinator for the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, the grant will fund a new program called "All Kids Swim" at Banneker Camp. The program will accommodate more than 40 youth, and will also provide a swimsuit, goggles, towel, and carry bag for each participant. Each camper who successfully completes the program will receive a season pass for admission to Bryan Park Pool and Mills Pool during the 2020 pool season.

"According to the USA Swimming Foundation, 79% of children in households with incomes less than $50,000 have little to no swimming ability," Klein said. "All Kids Swim is a step in the right direction to reducing the risk of drowning, and to making swimming an attainable skill for children from all backgrounds."

Banneker Camp, launched in 2015, grew from the summer food service program sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education. The summer food program provides free, nutritious meals to children during the summer months. Banneker staff recognized the need not only for healthy meals, but also for active and engaging, low-cost programs for children during summer vacations from school.

Banneker Camp serves up to 80 children per day, Monday through Friday, in June and July, with a total of 150 children having registered for the 2019 season. Banneker Camp currently offers reading, nature, sports, science, running and yoga clubs, as well as field trips and tutoring assistance.

According to Banneker Community Center facility/program coordinator Erik Pearson, 89% of the last summer’s participants qualified for the free and reduced student lunch program offered by the Monroe County Community School Corporation. "We are tremendously grateful to the Indiana State Department of Health, and to Bloomington Parks and Recreation health & wellness and aquatics staff, for the funding and work to make All Kids Swim possible," Pearson said. "Swimming is both a critical and lifelong skill that makes aquatic physical activity fun and safe. We are looking forward to launching All Kids Swim at Banneker Camp and Mills Pool next summer."

YAPA grants awarded in 2017-18 and 2018-19 were used to develop the "Passport to Play" program that incentivized young Bloomington residents to explore parks and activities in their communities. The grant funds were also used to expand Yoga Club and Fit Club at Bloomington Parks and Recreation's Kid City Summer Camp and Banneker Camp, and to offer both clubs year 'round to participants in the "Banneker at the View" free after-school program at Fairview Elementary.

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