The week of June 25 meant the beginning of the 2019 camp season and, with it, the infamous deep water test.
The American Red Cross requires that all campers be classified by swimming ability and provided instructional and recreational activities consistent with their abilities. For example, non-swimmers are not permitted in deep water other than during special instructional situations. Systems are in place so that the staff can easily identify a camper’s swimming ability, such as color-coded tags or swim caps.
At Camp Ramah Nyack, 8-year-old David Fischel explained that “I took the test the first day of camp and passed, but you can take the deep water test any day after, if you don’t pass.”
Fischel added he views this as a summer milestone, “I took the test so I will be an A+ swimmer, and so my mommy will buy me sushi when I pass.” Fischel advises less advanced swimmers to “practice, practice, practice and focus on the goal.”
Seven year old Joseph Tarlowe, a Regesh camper, also took the deep water test on the first day of camp. “I didn’t practice this time, but for last summer, I practiced all summer and passed at the end. It was a huge deal!” Joseph adds that he took the test, “so I can experience the big pool and water slide” Joseph described that “the first time I passed, I was so proud of myself for being able to practice for the test and pass the test, we went out for ice cream to celebrate!”
Joseph’s young brother, 5 year old Ethan, took the test the third week of camp. Ethan practiced for the test by swimming on the weekends. “I was so excited to pass and proud of my green bracelet!” Ethan was motivated to take the test “so I can swim anywhere in the pool and go on the water slide.” He continued, “It was exciting being the first child in my group to pass. I worked really hard to be a good swimmer to be able to take the test.”
At Westchester Summer Day (WSD), 7 year old Kira Zlotnick took the test on the first day of camp. “I didn’t practice this year, but I would tread water every time I was in a pool to get ready.” Estee Lorbert, also 7, took the test on the first day of camp. Lorbert explained that she took the test “because I like to jump into the deep end and go on the banana boats.” Lorbert added that passing is a huge summer milestone, “I am very excited to get that green bracelet!” Lorbert stated, “Don’t give up! Even if you pass the last day of camp, take it as often as possible.”
By Judy Berger