In­side your county govern­ment

May is Na­tional Water Safety Month

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Charles County is sur­rounded by water — from the 300 miles of shore­lines along the Po­tomac and Patux­ent Rivers to neigh­bor­hood lakes and ponds to res­i­den­tial and public pools. Water safety is im­por­tant through­out the year, but es­pe­cially dur­ing the warmer months when pools open and chil­dren are more in­clined to play out­side. In cel­e­bra­tion of Na­tional Water Safety Month, the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Recre­ation Divi­sion is of­fer­ing free pro­grams for the com­mu­nity dur­ing the month of May.

Be­fore you make a splash in the pool this sum­mer, make sure your fam­ily knows how to be safe in and around water. The Recre­ation Divi­sion is of­fer­ing Amer­i­can Red Cross “Do Your Part, Be Water Smart” pro­grams for all ages. Par­tic­i­pants will learn about water safety while watch­ing a video and prac­tic­ing skills on the pool deck, and re­ceive a cer­tifi­cate upon com­ple­tion. Pro­gram dates are: May 6, Henry E. Lackey High School (3000 Chi­ca­muxen Road, In­dian Head); May 13, Don­ald M. Wade Aquatic Cen­ter at St. Charles High School (5305 Piney Church Road, Wal­dorf); and May 19, North Point High School (2500 Davis Road, Wal­dorf).

The recre­ation divi­sion is also of­fer­ing the free Swim Les­son Marathon for be­gin­ner swimmers. Chil­dren and adults are en­cour­aged to come to the marathon for a 30-minute, in­tro­duc­tory-level swim les­son with our trained in­struc­tors. Par­tic­i­pants will learn ba­sic swimming skills and how to be safe in, on, or around the water. This is a great op­por­tu­nity for be­gin­ners who would like to be­come more com­fort­able in the water. Mark your cal­en­dar: May 1, Don­ald M. Wade Aquatic Cen­ter; May 7, North Point High School; or May 21, Henry E. Lackey High School. Pre-reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired and can be com­pleted on­line at www. CharlesCoun­tyParks.com.

Through­out the month of May, res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to visit one of our in­door pools and sign the Water Safety Pledge. By tak­ing the pledge, you agree to: 1) Never swim alone 2) Al­ways obey all pool rules

3) Stay away from drains and suc­tion fit­tings

4) Al­ways en­ter the pool feet first

As a thank you for pledg­ing to be safe, you will re­ceive a free one-day ad­mis­sion pass for the Charles County pool of your choice. Our in­door pools are lo­cated at Henry E. Lackey and North Point High Schools, and Don­ald M. Wade Aquatic Cen­ter; and our out­door pools open Satur­day, June 4, at La Plata, Mau­rice J. McDonough, and Thomas Stone High Schools.

The recre­ation divi­sion re­minds par­ents to re­main vig­i­lant while chil­dren are in and around water, and en­sure your per­sonal pool or spa has the ap­pro­pri­ate safety equip­ment. By tak­ing these sim­ple steps, water-re­lated ac­ci­dents can be pre­vented. Re­mem­ber, sum­mer is near and so are the beaches, rivers, and pools. En­joy a dip, re­lax pool­side, and be safe this sum­mer. Visit www. CharlesCoun­tyParks.com for more in­for­ma­tion about Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices’ pro­grams and events.

Eileen Min­nick is the Charles County Di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices.

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