Every boy scout, if they hope to advance to the organization’s top rank of Eagle Scout, must complete a project that benefits their community and demonstrates
As 15-year old Nathan Murray, a member of the SwimMAC Carolina club in Charlotte, North Carolina, was brainstorming projects for his Eagle Scout Service Project, didn’t want to do just another project to fulfill the requirement. He wanted to make in impact in a way that was really special to him.
“I knew that I wanted to do something with more impact than building a bench,” Murray said. “The opportunity presented itself through an acquaintance of the preschool. It was a challenge because of the age group, not to mention the language barrier, but it was important to me to do my part in helping to lower the statistics of childhood drowning.”
And so he set off to launch a “water comfort” class for 30 Hispanic preschoolers in his home state of North Carolina, which according to the International Swimming Hall of Fame has the 8th-highest drowning rate in the country.
“Swimming is in my blood,” the South Mecklenburg High School student said, “and I wanted to do something that involved learning to swim. The opportunity presented itself through an acquaintance of the preschool.”
The activities were designed to give the kids a starting point, familiarity with and comfort in and around water, en route to learning how to swim and becoming safe in and around the pool. Murray supervised fellow scouts and SwimMAC teammates in the water, an average of 12 at a time, as they worked with the preschoolers on floating and underwater activities. Overcoming fear of water can be one of the biggest obstacles to learning how to swim, so efforts like these are an important step toward being safer in the water.
Murray is a distance freestyler and a backstroker, who at 15 already has best times of 4:40 in the 500 free, 9:33 in the 1000 free, 51.8 in the 100 yard back, and 1:49.7 in the 200 yard back. The latter of those times qualifies him for the Winter Junior National Championships.