With the Fall Youth Swimming program coming to an end, it is my time to evaluate and critique what we have accomplished in this program for Harrisburg Academy students in Kindergarten through grade 8. I started by looking at milestones the individual swimmers have achieved this season. Many have mastered the four competitive strokes, the dive, the flip turn, and reading the pace clock. Some did not, and that means we still have some work to do.
But what is equally as important are the milestones reached outside the pool. I watched as some of the younger swimmers warm to their peers, and show kindness to each other. I watched as they helped each other when one lost his shoes. I watched as a Middle School student consoled a Lower School student when they were afraid to go off the diving board. I saw a Lower School student go from leaving all their things on the floor to putting everything in his locker and even, yes, folding his clothes.
But the most rewarding moment was when Mrs. Cutchall, a 1st grade teacher, came to me after Community Service Day and told me she was amazed by the friendship she saw between a swimmer in her 1st grade class and one of our Middle School swimmers who was helping out with Caitlin’s Smiles activities that day. Those are the kinds of unique bonds that are forged on teams in a multi-grade program such as ours at the Academy. Two students, who ordinarily would not ever have had the opportunity to interact and connect with each other, form a friendship because they have something in common — this time it was swimming.