Jack Ha has been teaching children how to swim at the YMCA of Greater Saint John since 2019. He started working as an instructor after getting his feet wet at the YMCA four years prior as a YMCA Summer Day Camp participant. He eventually made his way through the ranks by completing his Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, National Lifeguard and Swimming Instructor courses at the Y.
The Y has become an important part of Jack’s life, and now he is seeing the same thing in his students. One inspiring story Jack is especially proud of involves a young student named Sam (not his real name). Sam came to the Y for private lessons as a five-year-old.
At first, Sam was extremely shy and refused to talk, or even get in the water. Jack spoke to Sam’s parents and found out that Sam had trouble adjusting to a new environment.
Jack said after the first couple of lessons, he quickly learned that Sam loves to play games, more so than many other kids. Jack put his focus on Sam’s needs and the results were just what everyone had hoped.
“I implemented a reward system in which I added games in between swimming activities to keep him engaged and motivated,” said Jack. “Since it was a private lesson, I also encouraged him to prepare his own game to play during the lessons. As a result, he was always thrilled coming to the lesson each week, excited to play the new game. “
Jack said he saw great improvement in Sam by teaching one on one, in a way that the young swimmer could connect with.
“I saw improvement not only in his swimming abilities but also in his willingness to communicate and share his thoughts. To see the progress, he made each week was fulfilling and motivated me to become a better instructor.”
Sam is now signed up for one of Jack’s Star 1 & 2 class for the spring of 2022. And that’s music to his instructor’s ears.
“What I love the most is seeing the progress the students make each week,” said Jack. “It always amazes me to see how quickly the students grow as a swimmer. As a swimming instructor, you also get a chance to build an intimate connection with the students. The students never fail to put a smile on my face when they share stories about their friends, family, and school.
“Like Sam, I’ve had many students who leaped over my expectations. Experiences like these make me proud of the students and inspire me to continue teaching at the YMCA.”