YMCA of Douglas County held its 10th annual Water Safety Day on Saturday, which was transformed into a drive-thru event amid the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines.
“It’s all about being safe,” said Gary Williams, interim executive director of the YMCA of Douglas County.
The drive-thru line led people from the entrance near the softball field to the front of the YMCA building.
Tina Saxton, of Sutherlin, came to the event because she believes water safety is important and she brought her two grandsons to the event.
“They can swim, but water safety and knowing how to swim are two different things,” Saxton said.
One side of the road was lined up with boats, from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and a YMCA employee.
Tables with freebies, games and informational pamphlets were handed out on the other side.
Colorful flotation devices in the shape of a unicorn, turtle, elephant, flamingo, whale and others gave the event the festive look of years past.
In the past, the event brought hundreds of children to Stewart Park for a day of face painting, opportunities to go on the sheriff’s boat and information on water safety.
Williams said that 40 minutes into Saturday’s event, 132 people had come through the drive-thru event.
“I was hoping for this,” he said. “This is the first time the YMCA is hosting a drive-thru event.”
Some activities had to be canceled due to social distancing guidelines and executive orders that prohibit large gatherings, but many activities were able to be done in the drive-thru.
At the first station, people received information about the rescue stations that can be found in parks throughout the county. Children would win prizes through a Plinko game, receive life jackets and more information on water safety and the YMCA of Douglas County from YMCA employees.
“As soon as I said I needed help, they said they’d be here,” Williams said.
With the help of local sponsors, 200 Coast Guard-approved life jackets were handed out to children. Life jackets were available in three different sizes: infant, medium and adult.