Modest swim session designed for Muslim women

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LEWISTON — The YWCA is announcing a six-week pilot swim program designed for women who are new Mainers of the Muslim faith.

Under the instruction of Linda Sherman, aquatics director, program participants will be taught water safety and beginning swim skills depending on their initial level of comfort.

By teaching the mothers of Muslim children to swim, it is hoped that their children will also benefit. Current policies of the YWCA state that if children who are unable to swim are coming to the pool during non-lesson times (family swim, open swim, etc.), an adult must accompany them in the water. For some new Mainers, this is not possible because many adults have never learned to swim or are uncomfortable in the water.

Kathy Durgin-Leighton, director of YWCA, stated, “In keeping with our mission statement, the pilot program will be used to update our current policies to ensure that they are culturally sensitive.”

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Although the swim lessons will mimic most other classes, during the once-weekly, hour-long session, the pool area will look slightly different. The class will consist of women only and will have the observation windows covered with paper. During the time of the program, the locker room doors will restrict access for men and participants will be welcomed to wear more traditional clothing, eliminating the need for swimsuits. These practices will help ensure the level of modesty needed.

The program began on Oct. 6. Classes will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. every Monday afternoon. For more information, contact Kathy Durgin-Leighton, 795-4050.

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