Swim Necklaces

In Fun
YMCA Swim Necklaces
YMCA Swim Necklaces

As far back as I can remember, my life has been intertwined with the YMCA. It started with solemn mornings and exhilarating afternoons at before and after care at my elementary school. In the 2nd grade I started attending YMCA's Camp Red Feather and would continue to do so for 5 more years. After I was too old for camp, I began to work there, attending to kids as I once was, simply enjoying myself in the location I came to love. My closest friends and most trustworthy mentors have all been from the Y. 
At the Y when you are below the age of 16, you have to take a swim test to swim at the “deep end” of the pool and the shallow end, basically going wherever you want. Fail and you have to stay at the “shallow end”, confined to a small corner where you can't really do anything cool like diving deep. Once you pass the swim test, you get one of these necklaces. It was a right of passage of sorts. A coming of age. One of the biggest achievements a camper could make was passing the swim test for the first time.  Every year the color of the necklaces rotates and every year I have earned mine, sometimes taking it more than once a year just to get one again and build the collection. These necklaces are a reminder of sweeter simpler times when my greatest worry was whether I would pass the test or not. The cheering, clapping, and pats on the back; I can still hear them to this day.

Place(s): Norfolk, Virginia

– D'MM

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