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Elijah Baker has always loved the water.

He began YMCA swim lessons at just six months old, and went on to complete all of the Star levels. When he got old enough, he joined the Junior Lifeguard Club and enjoyed competing in meets. Wanting to get more involved and help others, he began volunteering in swim lessons at Don Wheaton Family YMCA to help the little swimmers who need extra support to learn to “blow bubbles”, dunk their heads under water or refine their crawl strokes.  

Today, at just 13 years old, he is busy completing his Bronze Cross/Bronze Medallion certification with his vision to become a lifeguard still intact.

We chatted with Elijah to learn about what the Y means to him. Here's what he had to say:

What do you love most about swimming at the Y?  

I’m good at it. And fast. I like the lifesaving skills they teach you in swim class – they help you think logically.

What do you love most about volunteering with the little swimmers? 

I like helping the little kids who were afraid – they just need a person to encourage them. Or show them how to blow bubbles or use their arms right. 

Why do you think it is important to help younger children learn to swim? 

So they don’t drown! Teaching kids how to swim keeps them safe. Maybe one of the kids will discover they are a really good swimmer too. 

Is there a staff member or instructor that you were fond of during your lessons? If so, what about them made them so special to you? 

All the staff were always so nice and helpful!  

Why should people donate to the YMCA? 

Some people don’t have money for swimming lessons or camp – so people should help them so they can also learn important skills and have fun. It doesn’t matter how old you are, even if you are young like me you can raise money by doing anything! Even a bake sale!  

We're proud to have Elijah as part of our Y family. His determination, helpfulness and growing leadership skills are a testament to what having the opportunity to take swim lessons can do in a young person's life.

When you give, you help kids like Elijah thrive! Your gift will remove barriers and provide experiences to empower children and youth to suceed now and into the future.