Making a Splash!

Our Smilow swimmers are helping to make their community more swim-friendly! Partnering with Samara Community School, members and staff at Madison are doing their part to ensure pool safety and awareness. Clubhouse Director Linda Sargeant gave us the scoop on this amazing program.

What is the structure of the program?

The Samara Community School Swim Program at the Smilow Clubhouse is a 10-week program offered from April -June during the school year. Samara, a small charter school located a short two blocks away from the Clubhouse, offers all of its students basic introductory aquatic skills that familiarize students with life-saving techniques and the free-style kick with proper breathing." Each student, with their parents' permission, attends a 45-minute class in the pool with a certified swim instructor and two adult classroom assistants.

During the 10 weeks the students learn such things as: putting their faces in the water, learning to float on their front and back assisted and unassisted, kicking with a board and front gliding with a free-style kick. While many of the students have waded in beach water and played in their neighborhood pools, the majority have not had any organized swimming instructions either for their enjoyment or for water safety.

How many kids (both Madison and Samara) participate?

In this our third year of partnership, 170 students are participating in the swim program of which a solid 30% are Madison Club members.

Share the history of the partnership.

During the first two years of the swim program, classes were scheduled on Fridays only.

In year one, approximately 80-100 students attended and received swim instruction for 3.5 hours. In year two (last year), 130 students enrolled and classes and participants received instruction for 4.5 hours.

This year, it was decided to split the program into three days, Tuesdays through Thursdays, for 4.5 hours, and 170 students are enrolled.

Our partnership with Samara has been quite successful, the three years of the program will attest to that along with the growing participation of the students.

How have members reacted to the program?

Samara member reactions have been quite favorable. You can hear their enthusiasm as they approach the Clubhouse and as they enter the building – they are anxious to get changed and get quickly into the water. They know that they are safe and that a school staff member is in the water with them. They also like the fact the Smilow instructors are fun and easy to learn from.

What are the members’ favorite part of the program?

For those who have attended the program in prior years, the opportunity to demonstrate to their instructors and fellow participants what they have learned and remembered is something they love to do. Generally speaking, the majority of students are anxious to be in the water to learn how to swim and have fun. Even for those few who are afraid, just knowing that they have a supportive adult present is comforting and for some by the end of 10 weeks, they are able place their heads in the water for 10 seconds - a very big accomplishment for them!

A Passion for Fashion

Members from our Thomas S. Murphy Clubhouse struck their best pose when they hosted a fashion extravaganza! From design to modeling, everyone joined in on the fun.

Forty-two members from all age groups, along with staff, flexed their fashion talent at Murphy Clubhouse’s recent fashion show. Members brought in their own clothes to wear, materials to work with, or existing outfits to revamp for the show. Members enhanced their existing pieces by painting on them, sewing on new fabric or embellishing, while others made clothes from scratch. The Clubhouse hosted sewing workshops and taught members how to cut fabric, create their own designs, and how to put it all together using sewing machines. Members then styled outfits for their peers to model during the show. Lastly, members also accessorized outfits and even made some of the jewelry themselves.

While designers and stylists were worked, models had runway practice. They learned how to walk the runway and exude confidence. On show day, other members stepped in as the “glam team” and worked on hair and makeup.

Preparation for the show took about two months and was orchestrated by Murphy’s Director of the Arts, Rhonda Williams.