Army spouse Eleanor Gonzalez wants to help occupy her children’s time while their father, Obe, is deployed to Afghanistan. So, she enrolled them in a swim camp offered by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
“It’s something to keep them busy during this time since their dad is deployed and I also think it’s important that my children learn about water safety because it’s a lifetime lesson,” she said.
Gonzalez’ children; Lizette, 10, and Nicolas, 5, seemed to enjoy the camp which took place June 25 to 29 at Twin Lions Outdoor Pool (Building D-4050 Normandy Drive and Ardennes Street).
Lizette, who will be in the fifth grade next school term at Bowley Elementary School, said she liked learning different flips, turns and diving techniques in the water.
“I get to play in the pool. It’s really fun and I get to keep cool,” she said.
At camp, youth were placed in one of five stations each focusing on different aspects of swimming — streamlining, arms, kicking, jumping and diving, and water safety, said Susan Jaescke, an FMWR aquatics manager.
At the water safety station, youth learned how to call for the automated external defibrillator at the pool and how to treat wounds or apply first aid, she said.
The idea of the camp is to give youth early exposure to water.
“The more comfortable they get in water at a young age, the better. Exposing them helps eliminate the fear,” Jaescke said.
He plunged into 11 feet of water and quickly climbed back aboard for another dive. Before one dive, in which Benjamin had to land in the center of a small hula hoop floating on water, Jaescke instructed him to focus on technique.
“It’s a smaller hoop so that means you need to keep your arms and legs tight like a pencil,” she said.
Benjamin nailed it.
In addition to diving techniques, Benjamin recited one of the important lessons learned at camp — “always swim with a lifeguard.”
Benjamin’s older brother, Dallin, 7, also said he enjoyed swim camp because he could attend at the same time as his brother, much unlike routine camps that divide activities and attendance days according to age.
“Usually, when we were at swim lessons (at Tolson Indoor Pool), we went at different times and it would take a little bit more time than this,” Dallin said. “It works out better because we have more time to do other stuff.”
Luis Gonzalez (no relation to Eleanor) relished the same time advantages. He enrolled his sons, D’Angelo, 11 and Antonio, 8 in swim camp. Doing so was a “means to an end,” said Gonzalez who hopes to get them on the Fort Bragg Fighting Fish Swim Team.
Youth who take part in swim camps can be recruited for the team, said Jaescke. According to the FMWR website, the program focuses on developing swimming fundamentals and a love of swimming in a competitive environment.
Jessica Rockhill, FMWR aquatics director, said she would like to see great enrollment at the swim camps.
“The benefit of camp is that it is designed “to teach the children to learn to swim and the art of competitive swimming,” she said.
The camp is open to anyone ages 5 to 18 and it requires no prior swimming experience. Swim camp costs $75 and the next camp will take place July 23 to 27, at Twin Lions Outdoor Pool.
For more information, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com or call 643-8533.