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Back to School

July 22, 2015

Does any child really pay close attention as the calendar runs down towards the end of the school year? Barbara Byers hopes so.

Even in this era of texting, tweeting, and endemic gaming, the old itch to sometimes go outside and do something has not yet died away; and when the heat and humidity are on us, even new Canadians head for the water. It's a great idea, but not if you are ignorant of the dangers.

Last year, T-SAR first ran a basic water-safety course in several Toronto area schools... and our team was stunned to find that many children think sharks are the greatest danger awaiting them in Lake Ontario! This year, we called on the expertise T-SAR's friend, director and mentor, Barbara Byers of the Lifesaving Society of Ontario. She came through... swimmingly.

Barbara has reshaped the water safety course and took it to Grade 2 and 6 students in 12 classes at four schools for a field test. She, Alyce Sutcliffe (a teacher) and Sindy Parsons (of the Lifesaving Society) spoke to 337 students in mid-June at Williamson Public School, Blantyre Public School, Balmy Beach Public School and Courcelette Public School. This is just a drop in the pool of students who need an introduction to basic water safety, but we have to start somewhere.

This is the start of a professional, well-designed package that can be delivered to many more children in the future; and we deeply admire the fine work that has gone into the project so far. We also admire the support that came from Transport Canada and the funding from the Canadian Safe Boating Council's Grassroots Program. It is hard to define success by the accidents that don't happen, but it would seem this is another project that has been successfully launched by the good people at Toronto Search and Rescue and their friends.

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