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Tom MarchIMG 0291

Aquatics Liason

Tom March is our Aquatics Ninja. March has a variety of different positions at the NSYMCA which for most part involves in helping our families and members with special needs. We had a chat with Tom about his duties at the NSYMCA.

What do you do at the Y?

I actually have a few different positions here at our YMCA.  Most all of my positions and time involve helping our special needs families in every way that I can. As the Special Services lead instructor I teach an average of 40 thirty-minute private lessons each week mostly with Special Needs children and young adults.  I have found ways to break through and connect with individuals even with more severe needs. My initial goals are always for safety in the water. However, they quickly include developing swimming skills and even working through communication difficulties such as eye contact and speech. I also enjoy teaching group lessons a few times during the week.  

As head coach for our Special Olympics Swim team I have been fortunate to have been able to build and continue building our swim team from 5 swimmers 3 years ago to currently 32 swimmers of different abilities and skills. It is an amazing experience to witness a special needs swimmer's first interaction in a swim meet where many times it is the first time in their lives that the crowd of spectators are all cheering just for them!

As the Aquatics Liaison I help our Aquatics Director deliver the very top quality to our members and guests in everything water! In my spare time I train our lifeguards on skill sets and certify them for guarding along with CPR professional rescue skills.

How do you help our members?

To me helping our members and our community is the reason that I am here. I believe that everyone deserves to be appreciated and listened to.

What do you like most about your job/the Y?

My job includes my passion for helping families with children on the spectrum of Autism, I seldom feel that I am even working!

What is a fun fact about you?

I am currently completing my Masters in Psychology - Applied Behavior Analysis which I will then immediately follow with my PHD in the same field.

I am an avid boater and whenever I can, my favorite place to be is outside on Lake Michigan. Having such a draw to water is not the norm for someone with my background. I had a near-drowning event when I was 11 years old and, even though I had a pool in my backyard growing up, I did not learn how to swim until I took adult beginner swim lessons at 20 years old while I was in college. Maybe that is why I feel it is so important for everyone to learn how to swim at a younger age.