Nurturing Future Leaders: Elijah's Story

FD Elijah's Story

Boy wearing an orange shirt and goggles, floating inside a pool.

Elijah Baker began Y swimming lessons at the young age of 6 months. Over the years, he has completed all the star levels, joined Junior Lifeguard and enjoyed competing in meets. He has volunteered in swim lessons at Don Wheaton Family YMCA to help the little swimmers who need extra support to learn to “blow bubbles,” dunk their head underwater or refine their crawl stroke. 

Today, he is 14 years old and has been busy completing his Bronze Cross/Bronze Medallion certification with his vision to become a lifeguard still intact. Read on to learn what the Y means to him: 

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 – just like if you were in an airplane crash and they teach you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping someone else.

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.

What 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 if 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?
I can't think of just one person. All the staff were so nice and helpful! 

Why should people donate to the YMCA?
Some people don’t have money for swimming lessons or camp – so people with money 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!