Not including Labor Day, today marks the “first” Monday of the month. Which means it’s time for another MRC Member Spotlight, easily one of my favorite parts about this blog. Since October of 2012 we’ve posted about one of our inspiring members every month, and while the success of this month’s member might be slightly different than most, he is still an inspiration. Today’s member did not lose any impressive amount of weight (I honestly don’t think that he could if he tried), but he did reach not only a “fitness goal”, but somewhat of a milestone in his young life. Five year old Henrik Muth is September’s Member Spotlight because he has learned how to swim thanks to our swim instructors, specifically Carissa. I asked Carissa to write about her experience with teaching Henrik the ropes in the pool, and her testimonial is below:
“Hey Guys! I’m writing this week to share with you a personal success story that is near and dear to my heart. It goes a little like this; I am a swim instructor at the Rec and the lovely Michele Muth
(Assistant Director of Marketing and Memberships) came to me with a hefty task- to teach her five year old son, Henrik, to learn how to swim. Now, although I’ve been teaching for a good bit of time now, I knew he was going to be quite the task for a number of reasons.
The glaring difficulty I had to overcome was that he was fearless despite not being able to swim. When I say no fear, I don’t mean cooperatively getting into the pool and doing as I ask, I mean getting a running start and sprinting from the locker room into the pool without any floaties on and slowly sinking until I fished him out of the pool. This brings me to my next challenge. Anyone who has ever seen Henrik knows he is small for his age, but probably didn’t know that he weighs about 35 lbs soaking wet and has zero fat content. This creates near impossible floating abilities, and in my case, meant that he would sink like a brick, and boy did he ever. Knowing these obstacles, I came to the conclusion that I had more than my work cut out for me and I needed a game plan. This was as close to mission impossible as I had ever seen, but I was up for the challenge, because I, Carissa Janczewski, was going to teach Henrik how to swim.
Private swim lessons are available for purchase in packages of 5 or 10. Michele gave me some time to work with and purchased 10 to start off that ended up spanning over the summer. Henrik was obviously more than comfortable in the water, so we started out with some kick board drills on his stomach and back to get him used to the proper swimming positions. After he accomplished that, we went onto scooping his arms and kicking his legs at the same time, then putting his face in the water. Slowly but surely, after many failed attempts, countless trips to the hot tub and probably a half gallon of swallowed pool water, Henrik caught on and could swim with a little bit of help from me.
Before I knew it, he was jumping into the water and swimming to the other side of the pool without myself or a lifeguard having to rescue him. This was the shining moment I, and Henrik, had worked all summer for. Henrik will be happy to tell you any time that he doesn’t need floaties anymore and that he is a big boy for swimming on his own. It may have taken all summer, given a few unnecessary heart attacks to the lifeguards on duty while I was teaching him, and lots of patience on both of our ends, but he’s a legitimate swimmer now. It’s an amazing feeling to know I helped him do that!
If Henrik sounds like your child, I am here to tell you that I can help. I have personally taught many kids that are both terrified of water and have no desire to swim, how to do just that- swim. Swimming takes time and repetition, not to mention encouragement and trust from instructors. Many people wonder why I love teaching kids to swim, and it’s simple; I do it because I was a Henrik back in the day and I had a swim instructor I loved who taught me with patience and encouragement. I went on to swim for years after that all because of the positive experience I had when I started learning to swim. Swimming is an important life skill to have, one that scares a lot of kids, but can be made easier and less intimidating with proper instruction. If you are interested in group or private lessons, information is available on our swimming lessons page and we will be more than happy to help you out!”
I personally love this story because it is just a small reminder of exactly what it is we are all doing here at the Rec, and how so many individual goals are met on a regular basis, even if it’s not on the fitness floor!