Atlanta (MAY 2, 2017)Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The ZAC Foundation, a national leader in water safety education and drowning prevention, will partner for the fifth consecutive year to bring weeklong swimming-safety programming called ZAC Camp to nearly 3,000 children and their families at 20 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the United States.

ZAC Camp – named in honor of 6-year-old Zachary Archer Cohn who drowned after his arm became trapped in the powerful suction of a swimming pool drain – is designed to teach children critical tools to ensure safe swimming, including fundamental stroke training, emergency preparedness and response, and basic lifesaving techniques specific to their water environment.

Through this partnership, ZAC Camp has already taught more than 10,000 children and their families the critical importance of water safety, and the partnership will educate another 3,000 more this year.

“Drowning is 100 percent preventable if the proper precautions are taken and through our continued partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, we are able to pursue our mutual goal of reducing water-related injuries nationally and ensure awareness in the communities that need it most,” said Karen Cohn, co-founder of The ZAC Foundation. “There are so many communities that are in desperate need of this type of safety education and we are honored to partner once again this year to reach thousands more children and their families.

“Many see swimming as a recreational activity not a lifesaving skill. Through this partnership, thousands of our members have learned about dangers in the water, how to behave and preventative skills needed to stay safe,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Thank you to The Zac Foundation for providing the resources and education to thousands of Club members to be active and safe this summer and throughout the year.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause in children 5-14. Risk of drowning is highest in minority populations; with the fatal drowning rate almost three times that of Caucasian children. Many of these deaths are preventable if proper water safety measures are taken. ZAC Camp aims to reduce these statistics through community engagement, awareness and education.

This time-tested curriculum uses classroom education, in-pool swim lessons, and instruction from First Responders and is based on easy-to-learn tenets of water safety learned in the children’s book co-authored by Zachary’s parents, ­The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim. The ZAC Foundation will also donate a copy of the book to each camper, allowing participants to spread water safety to friends, classmates, and family.

Twenty Boys & Girls Clubs from coast to coast were chosen to participate in this year’s ZAC Camp program through a rigorous application process. The following are the selected Clubs:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay (Green Bay, WI)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich (Greenwich, CT)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Camden County (Camden, NJ)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County (Trenton, NJ)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
  • Boys & Girls Club of South Alabama (Mobile, AL)
  • Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Houston (Houston, TX)
  • Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Fullerton (Fullerton, CA)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Greater Saint Louis (Saint Louis, MO)
  • Caring People Alliance of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Paterson & Passaic (Paterson, NJ)
  • Brigade Boys & Girls Club (Wilmington, NC)
  • Andrews Air Force Base (Washington, D.C.)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany (Albany, GA)
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Bend (Corpus Christi, TX)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Stamford (Stamford, CT)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade (Miami, FL)

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at Facebook and Twitter.

About The ZAC Foundation
The ZAC Foundation was established in 2008 by Brian and Karen Cohn after the loss of their 6-year-old son Zachary Archer Cohn in a pool drain entrapment in their backyard swimming pool. Through education and advocacy, the Foundation is dedicated to preparing children and their families for a lifetime of swimming safety. To learn more about The ZAC Foundation, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and thezacfoundation.com.