By Arden Franklyn
Whether your child swims for sport, exercise or fun, nothing quite compares to the feeling of weightlessness and freedom that swimming offers. I recently caught up with Colleen Ferguson, SUNY Purchase Swim Captain and lead coach for Backyard Sports Cares’ afterschool swim program for the Slater Center. Every Tuesday, Coach Colleen instructs ten 7-10-year-olds at SUNY Purchase. She shared her experience as a BYSC Coach and why swimming programs are beneficial to kids.
BYSC – How did you get involved with Backyard Sports?
CF – This is something I have done as a community service for the past couple of years. I joined BYSC as a volunteer over a year ago.
BYSC – With your participation in the program, what have you learned about yourself?
CF – It definitely teaches patience. There are days when I come in at 4:30 PM and it could have been a bad day or I might have been stressed or tired, but I’m able to put it aside, when I’m around the kids, so they get the most out of their experience. I’ve also learned that kids pick things up at a different pace — certain cues and coaching work well on some, but not all, so I’d say I’ve gained perspective on adaptability. It’s a good lesson in team building and we just have to do things constructively and progressively, so we can achieve our common goal.
BYSC – What were your earliest swimming memories?
CF – Well I’ve been swimming since I was nine, so it’s been almost eleven years now. I’ve never been a swimmer that had things come easily. I’ve had to work hard at it and I don’t consider myself to be someone with a lot of talent, so when it comes to teaching kids, I know there’s a hard way and an easy way. I have never been one to do it the easy way. I know that it takes a lot of patience and I can relate to those kids, whose progress isn’t coming as fast as others because I was a slow learner. I didn’t become good until I was in high school. But it’s really important to work with kids at a young age because that’s when their love for the sport begins to develop.
BYSC – What do you think Backyard Sports Swim Programs can do for children?
CF – I definitely want to see more programs like this, so we can reduce the number of kids who are scared of the water. It’s about these kids having a good memory and association with the sport and to using the skills they learn from the sport, to become healthy, social and productive members of society.
Please join us for our first Backyard Benefit on April 27th and support
athletic programs that make sports accessible to all kids. #Sports4Everyone