BVIOC helps 200 Youths benefit from 2015 KATSWIM Programme

2015 KATSWIM programme in BVI, supported by BVIOC through Olympic Solidarity, Nanny Cay Resort & Marina and CIBC FIrstCaribbean, ends with certification of youths completing different swimming Levels. Photo: Dean  Greenaway

2015 KATSWIM programme in BVI, supported by BVIOC through Olympic Solidarity, Nanny Cay Resort & Marina and CIBC FIrstCaribbean, ends with certification of youths completing different swimming Levels. Photo: Dean Greenaway

200 children between the ages of 4 to 17 years in the BVI went through the 2015 Kids And The Sea Swim (KATSWIM) session which drew to a close on November 14.

The weekly swimming classes were held every Saturday across two terms at the swimming pool at Nanny Cay Resort and Marina. The first term took place May 2 – June 20 and the second term ran from September 5 – November 14 when certificates were awarded to the graduates of the different classes by KATSWIM sponsors, the BVI Olympic Committee and CIBC FirstCaribbean.

The termly sessions covered all swimming standards, starting with instructions on basic water survival skills and continuing through Level 7. Children were assigned to groups based on their swimming ability and were taught by volunteers who are trained as Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) qualified instructors through the BVI Swimming Foundation.

Among other water skills, Level 7 graduates are able to swim 25 meters using back stroke, front crawl, breast stroke and butterfly as well as swim 50 meters using one stroke and 100 meters using a minimum of three different strokes.

“Every term we register children with different degrees of swimming experience from none to those that have mastered basic swim strokes,” said Barbara Gerker, founding volunteer of KATS. “We introduce higher levels of skills instruction once we have a group that is ready to move up. This year we had a much faster advancement rate with the children due to the ASA training the instructors took and we were excited to start Level 7 for the 7 students who successfully completed Level 6.”

KATSWIM is run annually and in 2015, the BVIOC committed $30,000 for two years to bring the KATSWIM programme back to the community after a brief hiatus.

“The BVIOC applied for a Swim for Life grant from Olympic Solidarity and, earlier this year, partnered with KATSWIM to keep the programme going,” said Ephraim Penn, President BVIOC. “Not only is basic water safety a key requirement when living on an island, but the different swimming levels make this a good feeder programme for developing a national swim team.”

The funds are used to purchase swim aids and training equipment and also to provide a stipend for instructors.

Students are charged a basic fee to cover the administrative costs involved in running the programme. 50 of the 200 students who registered for the 2015 programme were awarded CIBC FirstCaribbean swimming scholarships based on financial needs.

“CIBC FirstCaribbean was keen to provide support which would enable youngsters in the BVI to learn how to swim,” said Malcolm Whetnall, Country Manager for CIBC FirstCaribbean. “We had previously supported KATSAIL and are pleased to have been involved with the 2015 KATSWIM programme to open the opportunity for the children in our community who otherwise might not have been able to take part in this critical training.”

The KATS Programme has relied on donations and volunteers to provide basic sea skills -including swimming, sailing, and scuba programmes – to the children of the BVI’s since its inception in 1990. Nanny Cay Resort and Marina has been a major facilitator of the programme since 2005, accommodating KATSWIM at its swimming pool on Saturday mornings.

“Nanny Cay is pleased to have supported the KATSWIM programme over the years,” said Miles Sutherland Pilch, General Manager, Nanny Cay Resort & Marina. “It has been rewarding to be part of a successful programme which has benefitted so many children and young adults.”

The roster of volunteers included KATS Board member, Barbara Gerker, parents and 2 students from Cedar School who consistently helped with registration and as assistant instructors.

For more information on the 2016 KATSWIM programme, instructor training, or volunteering, contact Barbara Gerker by email at Barbara@partsandpower.com or by phone on 494-2830.

KATS was started in St Thomas following the tragic death of three boy scouts who drowned in a small boat accident off an outlying Virgin Islands cay while on a camping expedition. Not only did the boys lack the necessary sea skills to handle a boating emergency, but they also were unable to swim to safety on the nearby shoreline. For more information on the KATS programmes visit www.katsbvi.com.

Fitness Challenge participants awarded

Presenters and award recipients of the 12-Week Fitness Challenge. organised by the Run/Walk for Life Committee. Photo:GIS

Presenters and award recipients of the 12-Week Fitness Challenge. organised by the Run/Walk for Life Committee. Photo:GIS

The Ministry of Health and Social Development wrapped up the 12-week fitness challenge in style as it recognized top performers during a grand finale on Friday, June 26, held at the Central Administrative Building.

The programme which sought to encourage widespread walking by adults between the ages of 25 and 64, saw participants from 32 groups and 141 individuals who accepted the fitness challenge.

The award ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of over 800 active participants. There was an interactive programme of live entertainment by the Razor Blades, video testimonials, and presentations from the BVI Olympic Committee, remarks from the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Irad Potter and the Chairperson for the Interdepartmental Working Group, Honourable Archibald Christian and award presentations.

Prizes for the top achievers were announced with Ms. Georgene Henry capturing the top three individual spots followed by Messers Alfanzo Richards and Joel Williams.  The top three groups were the Holiness Walkers followed by Trident and TMF BVI Ltd. The grand prize for the top group was a day sail complements Moorings and a couple’s massage from Peter Island Resort and Spa for the top individual.

The 12-week fitness challenge was one of the programmes that was coordinated as part of the BVI Health and Wellness Council three-year walk/run for health campaign. The campaign, which is a collaborative effort between the Ministry Health and Social Development, the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports and the BVI Olympic Committee, aims to inspire persons within the Territory to increase physical activity in an effort to reduce vulnerability to non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers.

The BVIOC successfully applied for funding from the IOC Olympic Solidarity Sport for All Commission to contribute $35,000 over a three-year period towards the campaign.

BVIOC presents Virgin Island 49er sailors, Anderson & Brockbank with Olympic Scholarship

(l-r) Mark Chapman, treasurer, BVIOC, presents Olympic Solidarity funding to Rio 2016 hopefuls, Christopher Brockbank, 49er crew, and Alec Anderson, 49er skipper.

(l-r) Mark Chapman, treasurer, BVIOC, presents Olympic Solidarity funding to Rio 2016 hopefuls, Christopher Brockbank, 49er crew, and Alec Anderson, 49er skipper.

Virgin Island 49er sailors, Alec Anderson and Christopher Brockbank have been awarded an Olympic Scholarship by the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC). The combined, fixed $2000 monthly subsidy will assist them in their preparation and qualification for the Summer Games of the XXXI Olympiad, Rio 2016.

The funding comes from the Olympic Solidarity programme that aims to promote universal representation at the Olympic Games. The programme offers National Olympic Committees (NOCs) the possibility to obtain financial and technical assistance for a limited number of elite athletes who are training, and attempting to qualify, for the Rio Olympic Games.
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