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Free swimming lessons for kids offered at Norwood Beach this summer

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NORWOOD - If the Old Farmer’s Almanac forecast for a hotter and drier than normal summer holds true, beaches will be buzzing in the next couple of months.

And, for kids who want to learn how to swim, the beach to buzz at is in Norwood.

The Norwood Beach will be offering free swimming lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in July for children ages 4-11. It’s a program that’s been offered for several years for children from Norwood, Norfolk, Potsdam and Canton, according to head lifeguard Josh Eng.

He said it’s actually an offshoot from a summer recreation program that was formerly held by the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District until it was eliminated as part of recent budget cuts.

“Norwood-Norfolk School used to do a summer rec program. I was a counselor for two years. They got rid of it. This is kind of the supplement,” Mr. Eng said.

The half-hour swimming lessons, which start July 7, will be offered from 10 to 10:30 a.m. or 10:30 to 11 a.m. But it’s not just about learning how to swim, he said. Fifteen minutes is devoted to learning the basics of swimming and the other 15 minutes is spent playing games in the water.

“The last Friday in July we have a big pizza party, then we play games all day,” Mr. Eng said. “It’s more of a fun thing for kids. All the lifeguards come and help out. The two main goals are to learn how to swim and to have fun.”

As part of the final Friday celebration, he said they’re planning to have representatives from the Potsdam Rescue Squad and Norwood police and fire departments on hand for what they’re calling “Emergency Response Introduction Day.”

“They’ll talk a little bit about what they do and show them a few things. Hopefully they can come and have a good time with the ambulance and fire truck,” said Mr. Eng, who is an EMT in Potsdam.

Children must be signed up by July 7, the first day of lessons, to participate. But, he said, they don’t need to be present every day.

“We have some parents who are not from this area who come and visit their family for a week or two,” he said. “It’s not really strict that you have to sign them up before they come. It’s really laid back. You can come on a Monday, not show up on a Wednesday or Friday and come the next Monday.”

Once children have been signed up for one season, they’re likely to come back again based on the number of returning faces Mr. Eng said he has seen.

“Word gets around. We have a lot of families who come every year. One family that comes has six children at all various stages. They love it. It’s a pretty fun thing. We have a lot of lifeguards, so we can take in a lot more people than we did,” he said.

To sign up, stop by the Norwood Beach or call them at 353-9965.

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