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After School Sports Connection Pools Its Resources

After School Sports Connection Pools Its Resources
Yair Robles tests the water during USC's After School Sports Connection program.

For those who cannot swim, summer can spell fear rather than fun. However, After School Sports Connection, a program that gives more than 1,200 local children a year the opportunity to participate in supervised athletics, holds summer sessions in which water-wary youngsters can get used to pool activities.

Funded through a partnership with USC’s Neighborhood Outreach Program, the program enables children to have fun in a safe environment and promotes a healthy lifestyle. The year-round camp offers activities such as soccer, basketball, volleyball and martial arts during the school year, and swimming during the summer.

Six USC student instructors, who are all Red Cross-certified lifeguards, lead the summer sessions, which are held in June and August.

“We only have four weeks with these kids, but their progress is amazing,” said Mark Anderson, a recent graduate and After School Sports Connection instructor. “They work so hard and seeing that pay off is a great feeling.”

During the lessons, held in the indoor pool in the Physical Education building, the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade participants are divided into groups based on capability. Floating on fun-noodles, beginners focus on paddling with either arms or legs, while more advanced children work on stroke technique and speed in other lanes.

“If, at the end of four weeks, the kids can put their faces in the water and blow bubbles, and maybe do some kicks, I consider that a success,” said Arvin Varma, director of After School Sports Connection. “Plus, a lot of our kids repeat sessions, so they’ll continue to grow as swimmers.”

There is plenty of play time as well. Toward the end of each session, the children show off their best flips, dives and water tricks, and re-emerge to grin and wave at their parents in the bleachers.

“The kids jump and scream for joy,” Varma said. “They can forget everything else and enjoy being kids. The parents are really happy to see that.”

For more information, contact Recreational Sports at (213) 740-5127.

After School Sports Connection Pools Its Resources

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