Making Waves with the YMCA


Swimmership Application Banner - Compressed


Outdoor Afro is partnering with Keen and the Y in 2021 to provide swim lessons for children and their caregivers. Through this special pilot program, we are able to expand capacity for swim lessons to 300 people at select YMCAs across Atlanta, Charlotte, New York City, and Phoenix.

Our goal is to ensure that all Black children in our sphere of influence learn how to swim, and we are working toward that with Swimmerships for people of all ages. A Swimmership is a swim scholarship – the cost of your YMCA swim lessons will be covered. Applications are open to everyone! The Swimmerships were started to support children and their caregivers in joining swim lessons and are intended for those who face hardships in learning how to swim, including financial restrictions. If you can easily afford swim lessons, we trust that you will skip this application to leave a spot for someone in need



Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply?

People of all ages are eligible for an Outdoor Afro Swimmership. The Swimmership is only available in the United States.

How are recipients determined?

A team of Outdoor Afro staff, board members, leaders and partners will review applications, and recipients will be awarded based on qualifying application criteria and on a first come, first served basis with a priority for children and their caregivers. If you need help completing the application, contact the staff at Outdoor Afro at

If I receive a Swimmership, how does the process work?

You will receive an initial email that notifies you of your award! You will then receive a follow-up email with instructions specific to your Y location on how and when to register for swim lessons. After participating in the swim lessons, we will ask you to complete a brief survey and share photos of your experience with Outdoor Afro. Sharing your swim journey with us via stories and photos can help another person with their swim journey.

How long will it take to receive my Swimmership?

You will be notified on a rolling basis between June 29th and July 13th, or until the 300 spots are filled. Once you are approved, you will receive a notification email and then a follow-up email with instructions specific to your Y location on how and when to register for swim lessons.

If I have multiple members of my family that require swim lessons, can I receive more than one scholarship?

Yes, you only need to submit one application per family. Please list everyone you would like to be considered.

How will I know if I was/wasn’t selected?

You will know if you were accepted or not via email. If you are not accepted, is it probably due to more applications than available spots.

What if I have more questions?

If you have additional questions, please email Please allow at least 24 hours for a response.