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Purpose: To examine the impact of an out-of-school swimming program on children and youth from one underserved community. Method: Participants were 200 children and youth who attended the out-of-school swimming program during two consecutive summers. The theoretical framework employed drew from previous research on socialization. A mixed-methods design involved participants’ aquatic skill and knowledge of water safety being assessed at the beginning and end of each summer. These data were examined through descriptive and inferential statistical procedures. Qualitative methods employed were nonparticipant observation, informal interviews, and focus groups. Standard interpretive methods were employed to analyze the data these techniques yielded. Findings: Participants improved their aquatic skill and knowledge of water safety. They moved from being concerned for their safety to being confident in their aquatic ability and knowledge. The key socialization agents responsible for this shift were the instructors. Conclusion: The study suggests that an out-of-school swimming program taught by well-trained instructors can be effective.
Susnara is with the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA. Curtner-Smith is with the Department of Kinesiology, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA. Wind is with the Graduate Certificate in Quantitative Research, Educational Studies in Psychology, Research Methodology, and Counseling, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA.