Nearly two dozen newcomer youths to Altona are learning how to safely have fun in the water this summer, thanks to free swimming lessons.
It's all because of a grant from the Manitoba Coalition for Safer Waters applied for by the town's Recreation Department. As part of the process, staff from Regional Connections identified 20 youth that could benefit from professional instruction at no cost. 
Val Klassen, a SWIS worker with Regional Connections, says the kids are really excited for this opportunity.

"One of them mentioned to me that she had never had an opportunity like this. And so, for them it's one way for them to be able to learn something about being safe in the water in Canada and what that means and to be able to have fun, and to see what their peers are doing and now they get to do it as well."

"I came here, my dad told me, because I just don't know how to swim," said Charlemagne, noting he is now learning how and says he plans to do a lot of swimming this summer. 

Hasan said he is having fun in the classes, adding the best thing he's learned so far is to make big arm circles when swimming. 

"I wanted to learn how to swim so that I could go in the deep end," he noted. 

For Excellent, his favourite move is the 'hot dog float', and he too plans to do a lot of swimming this summer.

Meantime, Seolah was asked how she's liking the lessons. 

"I love it," she said. "I can enjoy having fun with my friends in the water." 

Her goal is to one day jump off of the diving board. 

Maymuna says she is also having fun. Her favourite things are doing the starfish float and going down the green water slide. 

"I get to be with my friends and I learn how to swim!"

Because the classes are smaller than usual, Klassen said this helps foster better one-on-one instruction. There is also a private class being offered for the adolescent girls who felt more comfortable in that setting.