MINNEAPOLIS – (June 24, 2016) – Hundreds of Twin Cities children gathered Friday afternoon at North Commons Water Park for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, learning life-saving techniques and raising water safety awareness.

As part of a partnership between Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, lifeguards and instructors taught 300 children of all ages and abilities various crucial skills. Two 30-minute lessons covered entering and exiting the water, breathing and submerging, floating, and proper swimming strokes.

"Swimming lessons aren’t just a life skill; they’re a life-saving skill,” said Abbey’s Hope co-founder and president Katey Taylor. “All kids should know how to swim.” The fourth annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson was held at North Commons Water Park for the first time. The event was one of an estimated 500 in more than 20 different countries. Tragically, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children ages 1-14. Studies show participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children ages 1-4.

“The Minneapolis Park and Recreation is excited about the opportunity to bring the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, along with Abbey’s Hope, to the North Commons Water Park,” said Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board aquatics coordinator Sarah Chillo. “It’s important for us to share this message that swimming lessons save lives.”


About Abbey’s Hope:

Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn., 6-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained from an improperly maintained pool drain cover. The foundation’s goals are to promote awareness and education related to child safety issues, work with the pool and spa industry to improve products and standards, and help educate parents, children and pool and spa manufacturers about the prevention of entrapment and traditional forms of drowning.
Find out more about Abbey’s Hope at abbeyshope.org.
About Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board:
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is an independent, semi-autonomous body responsible for the Minneapolis park system. With 251 park properties totaling 6,790 acres of land and water, the Park Board provides places and recreation opportunities for all people to gather and engage in activities that promote health, well-being, community and the environment. More than 21 million annual visits are made to the nationally acclaimed park system. Its Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, neighborhood parks, recreation centers and diversified programming have made the park system an important component of what makes Minneapolis a great place to live, play and work. The Minneapolis Park Board is proud to have been named the number one park system in America by the Trust for Public Land for four years in a row. Learn more athttp://www.minneapolisparks.org.

The Dragonfly Story

Excerpted from the eulogy at Abbey Taylor's Celebration of Life Service

Below the surface of a quiet pond lived a colony of water bugs. They were happy, living far from the sun. But they noticed that occasionally, a member of their colony would climb up a lily stalk and disappear from sight, never to return. Where do you suppose she went? wondered a water bug.

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Pool Safety Tips

  • Use the Water Watchdog System to make sure children are always closely supervised in the pool area.

  • Remind kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

  • Keep gates to the pool area latched.

More water safety tips