Women can feel more comfortable swimming at the YMCA thanks to a successful new pilot program.
Over the summer, the A.R. Kaufman location of the YMCA of Three Rivers launched their first women’s only swim pilot program after an equity-seeking group in the area reached out to them.
“In conversation with this group, we learned that based on cultural or religious beliefs, or for safety or comfort reasons, some women are unable to swim in front of men,” said COO Andrea Kingswood. “As a result, a population of women in our communities are not learning to swim nor have access to swim as a recreational activity in an environment wherein they felt safe and supported.”
In response, they decided to pilot a women's only swim period: Now, every Sunday from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m., women and girls age 13 and up can take swimming lessons or open swim in a women-only environment.
To ensure participants feel safe and welcomed, each Sunday they outfit the pool deck windows with coverings and ensured only women staff are on the pool deck.
The response has been enthusiastic: they were often close to full capacity for swim lessons over the summer, and regularly saw new faces coming out.
“We’re excited by the engagement in this pilot program, and continue offering it on our schedule,” said communications manager Victoria Ford.
They said it’s been a long time in the making, and it’s been so successful that not only are they continuing the program, they are now listening “to the needs in our other communities and are open to exploring additional swim lessons for equity seeking populations.”
You can register for the women’s-only swim through your membership portal or at the front desk.