(Beaver Dam) The YMCA of Dodge County Monday celebrated the 30th year of a free, life-saving program in the community. The Bea Bonner McKinstry Begin to Swim Program gives area children and adult non-swimmers the opportunity to learn how to swim at the Y at no-cost.
In 1989, Bea Bonner McKinstry’s husband Randall McKinstry and her son John McKinstry created an endowment fund in her honor to establish the program. It was Bea’s wishes to see children and those who cannot swim learn how following a tragedy nearly 100 years ago.
In 1927, two of Bea’s friends drowned including a man who was attempting to rescue them after a storm hit the Fox Lake while the three girls were boating. It was only because Bea was a strong simmer that she survived and that message never left her.
Since its inception, over 3,000 children and adults have registered for the program. John McKinstry says the Begin to Swim Program has one very simple mission: to save lives. He says that the program has grown over the years to include adults as well as boating safety.
John McKinstry received commendations from the offices of Congressman Glenn Grothman, Senator Tammy Baldwin and Senator Ron Johnson as well as an award from the Y for his work and ongoing dedication to the program.
Youth classes run through June 6 and the adult classes begin on June 10 and end on June 12. Visit www.theydc.org to register.