For Immediate Release

Benton Harbor Youth Learn to Swim Through Community Collaboration

August 1, 2016 – Youth members of the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Clubs are participating in a water safety instruction program courtesy of a dynamic collaboration among the Boys & Girls Clubs, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA, Renaissance Athletic Club, Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Club, City of Benton Harbor, and the United Way of Southwest Michigan.

The two-week swim lessons for approximately 40 youth, ages 9 and 10, begin August 1, at the Renaissance Athletic Club pool. YMCA certified instructors are teaching basic water safety skills to Club members. “We want all our members to understand how dangerous water can be and have the basic skills that could one day save their life.” said Brian Saxton, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor. Every Thursday, the class visits Jean Klock Park for real-world application of their new skills in Lake Michigan. 

“Swimming is a lifelong skill and the YMCA believes that all youth should have the opportunity to learn how to swim and learn basic water safety,” said Mark Weber, Chief Executive Officer at the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA. “We are thankful for the funding from the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Club and United Way of Southwest Michigan to help make this program happen.” The City of Benton Harbor is providing access to Jean Klock Park for the day of lake swimming. 

Bob Good, General Manager for the Renaissance Athletic Club, stated, “We’re glad to be part of teaching young people these lifesaving skills. Our mission of ‘fitness through community’ is fulfilled having the Boys & Girls Club members using our pool.”

“The best interest of kids guided our collaboration so that all our partners found ways to create this unique collaboration of business, non-profit, government, and service interests. Our members and community benefit from everyone working together.” concluded Saxton.

About the St Joseph – Benton Harbor YMCA
The YMCA strengthens the foundation of our community through fitness programs, youth camps, swimming lessons, and team sports for people of all ages, incomes, and abilities. We are more than just a place to work out; at the YMCA, we help build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all while remaining true to our core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. A volunteer board of directors provides leadership to each Association, members of the national organization – the YMCA of the USA. The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but also to deliver lasting personal and social change. For more information: 

About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor
Located at 600 Nate Wells Senior Drive, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor has served the youth of Benton Harbor since 1999. The Club provides afterschool and summer programs promoting educational and career development, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles for over 1,700 children and teens at the Fettig Youth Campus and Joel E. Smilow Teen Center. Learn more at 

About the Renaissance Athletic Club
Renaissance Athletic Club is located at 501 Graham Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan. Open for business on December 17, 2012. The RAC is the most advanced and complete gym in southwest Michigan. From the outdoor synthetic turf field to the 25 meter indoor pool, there has been no expense spared to create the perfect facility for members and their guests to achieve their fitness goals. Whether on their own, or working with the most qualified team of personal trainers in the area, the club continues to seek new ways to improve the member experience. 

There are over 45 complimentary Group Exercise classes a week taught by an experienced and certified team. There are well-appointed locker rooms with separate steam and saunas in each. For more information, call (269) 927-1129, visit RAC’s website at, or like the RAC Facebook page. Affordable membership options are available.
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