Paraburdoo kids learn vital skills through summer VacSwim

9 February 2021

Paraburdoo is a mining town in WA’s Pilbara region, 1528 km north of Perth. Like most of the inland Pilbara, the town's primary attractions include water holes, which are suitable for swimming, and make it extremely important that the town’s children have the swimming skills they need to safely enjoy these locations.

Three children in the pool with their instructor using noodles to floatChildren in regional communities often miss out on the benefit of swimming lessons, mainly due to a lack of swim instructors to run these programs in regional areas. Royal Life Saving WA and the Department of Education have worked together to find a solution to this problem, sending swimming instructors from Perth to regional towns to ensure the lessons can go ahead. In early January Royal Life Saving sent swim instructor Zoe Ross to Paraburdoo to teach a series of VacSwim lessons for the local kids.

12 children participated in the program covering a variety of stages from beginners in stage one right through to more advanced students in stages 13-16. Zoe says it was amazing to see the children grab this opportunity to enjoy the VacSwim program. “The kids were great and put in 110% each day and always come to class with a smile on their face. The parents were great to talk to and made me feel very welcome. The pool staff were very welcoming and supportive throughout the whole time I was in Paraburdoo.”

Apart from seeing the children involved in the program grow their swimming skills, Royal Life Saving WA sees this as a fantastic opportunity for swim instructors to develop their own skills by travelling to different towns and experiencing all they have to offer. Zoe says her time in Paraburdoo was a time of personal growth. “VacSwim is great and allows for personal growth, skill building and communication growth. During my time in Paraburdoo I was able to communicate with a variety of people, build on my teaching skills and grow as a person. This opportunity is one that won't be forgotten and something that I look forward to doing more of in the future.”

Statistics show that people are 2.3 times more likely to drown in regional and remote WA, and Royal Life Saving WA is pleased to be able to partner with organisations like the Department of Education to target these communities and ensure programs are made available to turn these statistics around.