CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Don’t be fooled by their size, there is a group of professionals — experts at summer’s only rule of simply having fun: kids.

It’s what they learn at SwimMAC Carolina. With it comes a bigger lesson of safety in the water. “Our goal is to make water safety part of the common vernacular, just like buckle up when you’re in a car,” SwimMAC spokesperson Casey Corser told

This year SwimMAC will pass those principles to thousands of children in the area with free swimming safety clinics. There’s nowhere Program Coordinator Amy Monroe would rather be.

“The smiles on their faces and the feeling of having such a great accomplishment, you can see the pride and happiness they feel,” she said.

It’s the kids the clinics are for, however, that takes the program’s meaning well beyond the surface. Some of the kids getting lessons are enrolled in the camp “A Child’s Place,” a summer home for children who have no home at all.

Executive Director Annabelle Suddreth estimates Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has more than 3,200 homeless children. Only 50 each year get to enroll in the camp.

“We always try to give our kids a chance that they might not get otherwise and to have a chance for them to be able to learn how to swim may save their life,” Suddreth said.

“Those children will come to us very unfamiliar and frightened with water, but be able, hopefully, at the end of those 6 weeks to be very confident swimmers,” Corser added.

Confidence is not just from practice, but the passion of people who care. “It makes me feel like my life has come full circle and that someone took the time and energy to give me the skill and experience around the water and now I’m doing it for kids,” Monroe smiled.

After the clinics, there will be a new rule for summer. Don’t just have fun. Share it.

Derrick Rose, Reporter

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