Summer is here and the best way to beat the heat is at your favourite swimming hole.
A love of water comes naturally for most children, for those growing up on the Saanich Peninsula, Panorama Recreation Centre is where many first learned how to swim.
This summer, there is no shortage of opportunities for kids to learn the vital skill they will use for the rest of their lives.
Among the popular choices for learning to swim at Panorama are the morning programs that keep kids in the pool from Monday to Friday.
The consistency is a great way for kids to develop muscle memory and retain the information about what they’ve been taught.
“It’s pretty intense,” said Miko Heddle, assistant aquatic co-ordinator. “For kids who are just out of school, this program is something they can do every day and, because it is every day, kids really can master certain skills.”
This year, the rec. centre is introducing a French immersion version of the Monday to Friday program. Kids learn their swimming strokes and water safety skills in a French-immersion environment.
Another program being introduced this year is the Junior Aquatic Club for kids between the ages of seven and 12. The club runs Fridays from 5:30 to 8 p.m., July 3 to Aug. 21.
The program offers a positive group environment for any kid who really enjoys swimming, which can be a relatively individualized experience.
“It’s a good opportunity for kids who could benefit from socialization who maybe don’t play soccer or other team sports,” Heddle said. “Kids are having fun and parents get to have a Friday night off as well.”
As well as swimming lessons, kids will get to create crafts and play outdoor games — all while learning to appreciate a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s about getting active and also understanding why it’s important to be active,” Heddle said. “Whatever good habits you develop when you are young will translate into good habits when you are older.”
And if an evening at the pool isn’t enough, Panorama is also hosting a special night to give kids a chance to find out what really happens after hours at the rec centre. A Night at the Pool is a supervised sleepover featuring games in the park, a movie and even a little star gazing.
Planned for July 17, the sleepover runs from 7 p.m. until 9 a.m. the next day.
Snacks and a continental breakfast are included.
For more information on these and other programs available at Panorama Recreation Centre, go to crd.bc.ca/panorama.
— by Jim Zeeben, News staff