Mayor Skip Rimsza


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The City of Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department and CIGNA HealthCare determined that there was a citywide need to provide aquatic programs to meet the needs of at risk youths. Issues included minority water safety training, mentoring, affordable recreation opportunities and positive alternatives to gang membership. In 1992 the departmentís Aquatic Section and CIGNA HealthCare of Arizona entered a co-sponsored aquatic program titled CIGNA Summer Program. Components of the program include Itty Bitty Beach Parties, Cub Club, and Junior Lifeguard Training. CIGNA donated $20,000 to fund the program and the department Aquatic Section provided the facilities and staff for supervision and instruction. During the past seven years, CIGNA has donated $140,000 to the program. More than 19,000 youths participated in the CIGNA Summer Program.

Itty Bitty Beach Parties were developed due to Arizona's high rate of water related-incidents involving children under age five. Parties provide a structured water awareness program for children ages six and younger and their parents. Each participant receives water safety coloring sheets, sunglasses, Hawaiian leis and a snack. Teeny Weeny Bikini and Trunk Contest winners receive "Buddy Bear" (the program mascot) autographed beach balls. All contest participants receive an aquatic-related prize. City Fire Department staffs are onsite to give parents water safety and fire safety information. More than 2,000 toddlers and parents participate in Itty Bitty Beach Parties yearly.

Cub Club is geared for youths seven to twelve years old and meets three days a week for five weeks at all 28 City pools. The program begins in June and concludes with the Cub Club Olympics in July. Skill instruction includes improving swimming techniques, CPR, basic first aid, water safety, emergency water safety maneuvers, and basic pool procedures. Daily routines are structured to be fun and challenging. As an incentive, Cub Club members receive awards, T-shirts and certificates as they progress through the program. More than 600 youths participate in Cub Club annually. Youths 13-15 years of age participate in Junior Lifeguard Training, the most extensive element of CIGNA Summer Program. Junior Lifeguard Training is held at 14 pools and offers participants eight weeks of training with an opportunity to become certified in life saving skills including community and water safety aide and CPR. As an incentive, Junior Lifeguard participants receive a swimsuit, T-shirt and a towel at the Junior Lifeguard Olympics graduation. Junior Lifeguard Training has graduated 1,015 participants from the program which is a 93 percent success rate. Many Junior Lifeguards have continued their training and have since been employed as City of Phoenix lifeguard staffs.


City of Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department


Inger Erickson, Recreation Supervisor


Phone: 602/262-6482

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