Teaming up for Water Safety


Hundreds of Y campers across Tampa Bay now get to say, “I learned how to swim this summer!” It’s all thanks to the Tampa Bay Rays and YMCA who teamed up again this summer to pitch water safety.


On July 25th, a special graduation celebrated 200 campers who learned life-saving lessons at the Y this summer. Each swimmer received a congratulatory medal at the Northeast High School pool in St. Petersburg. Be Water Smart From the Start is a collaboration between the YMCAs of Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Rays, Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, United Way Suncoast, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County and 7-Eleven to offer community drowning prevention programs. One of the programs is Go for Green, which provides free swim lessons to Y summer campers unable to pass the swim test. They receive free swim lessons throughout the summer until they pass and get a green wristband.


Rays Baseball Foundation Executive Director Stephen Thomas went through Go for Green himself last year at the age of 31. “I can speak firsthand about the feeling you get when you advance from a red swimmer, to a yellow swimmer, to a green swimmer,” said Stephen at the graduation. “The life skills, advantages and the self-confidence you’ll get is something that is truly significant and important and we’re really proud to support this program and the work that it’s done.”


Serving as the Be Water Smart From the Start spokesman, Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier high-fived every single camper who received a medal during the ceremony. “You guys should feel good about yourselves. Pat yourself on the back for getting through this program,” Kevin told the kids.


So far, about 11,600 children across the YMCAs of Tampa Bay have learned to swim through the program. Congrats, Go for Green graduates! The Y is proud of your progress! To learn more about “Be Water Smart From the Start,” click here.

Pictured above: Be Water Smart From the Start spokesman, Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier congratulated Y campers who learned how to swim this summer.

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