The easiest way to learn is to have fun - and this is also true for swimming: away from technical discourse and towards learning and experiencing. To be able to move completely safely in open water, to recognise risks and dangers and also to know how to behave in an emergency situation - these are the goals of the "Water Experience Academy".
At the first "Action Day for More Freedom and Safety in the Water" on 5 July, it was out of the controlled conditions of the indoor swimming pool and into Lake Epplesee near Karlsruhe. 90 pupils from the 3rd and 4th grades of the Heinz Barth School took part and visited a total of eight stations on the topics of swimming, safety and nature. In theory and practice, they improved their swimming skills, got to know the open water with all its facets and thus expanded their water competence. The children had great fun and eagerly absorbed everything new - for many participating pupils it was even their first time swimming in the lake.
Christopher Fuhrhop, inventor of RESTUBE and founder of the Water Experience Academy, is convinced: "Positive experiences and safety in the water start with swimming ability and awareness of how to behave there. Only if you have fun while learning and exploring, the positive things you learn will stay with you and lead to inspiration and motivation to keep at it."
The contents of the individual stations are summarised in the "Booklet for Explorers and Discoverers". The children were thus able to take home the relevant tips for the open water experience. The little primer is to be studied further with parents - and there are also valuable impulses for parents on how to help their child make open water a positive and safe place. The contents will also be repeated in the school lessons so that the experience of the event remains sustainable.
Klaus Albrecht, headmaster of Heinz-Barth-Schule Wettersbach says: "The pilot event has shown that the Water Experience Academy is a responsible concept that bridges the gap between swimming lessons and opportunities for safe leisure activities on open water by means of a lively event in a school context."
The Water Experience Academy as well as the newly developed concept for more water literacy
is an initiative of RESTUBE in cooperation with strong partners, who also attach great importance to the topic of water literacy, especially among children and young people. The event in July at Lake Epplesee was the first of its kind, a nationwide expansion is planned due to the great positive response.
Experts from educational institutions, research and industry as well as lifeguards from the local DLRG office - who arrived together with a water search dog - led the various stations and filled them with qualified content.
- Nature and the water environment: shore, current, coast, animals, water quality
- Getting used to open water: playful contact with water: from the little toe to the head
- Simple swimming: Individual exercises according to ability to improve skills
- Stand-up paddling: getting to know and trying out the feeling of "gliding on the water".
- Sailing: Get to know the boat and the theory
- Just let your mind wander Break station with healthy food and drinks, painting station
- My safety check: check your surroundings, know your equipment, be safe on and around the water
- Rescue on the water: How do I recognise if someone needs help? How can I help?
About Christopher Fuhrhop and RESTUBE:
A few years ago, Christopher Fuhrhop got into a borderline situation in the water while kitesurfing. At the time, he would have liked to have a backup. Since then, he and his team want to make time on the water safer and thus freer for everyone. As part of his diploma thesis in mechanical engineering, he developed the idea of the smallest possible safety product for water sports enthusiasts: RESTUBE was born. In 2012, the company was founded near Karlsruhe. Restube is now available in 25 countries and has already saved over 45 lives. The versatile water safety system is already used by over 400,000 users and has been awarded the German Founder's Prize and five ISPO Awards, among others.
This year, RESTUBE celebrates its 10th anniversary and Christopher Fuhrhop is taking another step to bring more freedom and safety to the water. With the Water Experience Academy, a multifaceted offer is to be created that enables people of all ages to experience safe access to water and to recognise possible dangers and risks. The focus is on improving swimming skills and making it possible to experience open water in all its facets. The aim of learning to swim is to be able to move completely safely in open water. This opens up the world of wonderful water sports activities. Drowning, one of the most frequent causes of fatal accidents, is decisively counteracted.