The following was submitted by Louisville Area Chapter Club Council member Reagan Roy.
On June 11, 2013, the Louisville Area Chapter Club Council presented a Longfellow’s WHALE Tales presentation to around 20 children at Joy-Lou Pre-School & Day Care. The WHALE Tales program is derived from water safety classes created by Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow.
Longfellow started the Red Cross Lifesaving Corps in 1914 to train volunteers in the methods of lifesaving and resuscitation. His next step was to provide large-scale instruction in swimming. The Commodore's teaching philosophy was to "entertain the public hugely while educating them gently." He did just that. In tribute to Commodore Longfellow, the mascot for the program is a blue whale named “Longfellow”. This is because Commodore Longfellow was nicknamed “The Amicable Whale” for his service.
The council members presented water safety rules to the children. Some of the rules presented were:
- Don’t swim alone
- Follow the pool rules
- Look before you leap
- Think don’t sink
- Reach or throw don’t go
“Everybody did an outstanding job,” said Council Member Jada Stewart. “The children were great and really seemed to enjoy it.”
To engage the children, the volunteers performed three skits during the event followed by a question and answer session led by the members. Each child in the room had the chance to answer a question correctly and receive a Red Cross bracelet for their participation. The members also told personal stories or lead group discussions around the general pool side rules.
The teacher received WHALE Tales worksheets to work on with the children at a later date, reinforcing the message of water safety. Members who helped present were Taylor Greenwell, Brianna Rodgers, Jada Stewart, Michael Jones and Reagan Roy. Youth Coordinator Kristen Lawrence was in charge of preparing and overseeing the event.
If you are interested in more information on the Chapter Club Council or other youth volunteer opportunities at the American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter, call 502-561-3601 or visit www.redcross.org/Louisville.