FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. (WHTM) – Kids hit the pool for the first time Wednesday at the lieutenant governor’s mansion at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Pennsylvania’s Second Lady Gisele Fetterman is running a program to teach water safety.
“I’ve learned a lot here. I learned how to swim on my back,” said Baryea Greene, a rising seventh grader at Rowland Academy in Harrisburg.
Dozens of Rowland students were at the pool on Wednesday.
“It’s an opportunity first for our kids to get out of the city, which is always a wonderful thing, but an opportunity for them to swim privately and not worry about other groups,” said Darnell Montgomery, the dean of students at Rowland.
“Typically, we would go to a different facility. Unfortunately, that facility was closed, so this was a great opportunity for us, and our students really don’t often get that exposure,” said Heather Miller, a career education teacher.
The students and staff plan to swim at the pool once a week this summer. Six other groups are scheduled to make a splash and about a dozen more have expressed interest.
Any group in Pennsylvania can request to swim at the pool for free but must provide their own transportation and lifeguard. This is the brainchild of Pennsylvania’s second lady, Gisele Fetterman.
“This directly correlates to what we see in statistics: children of color are more likely to drown because of lack of exposure and lack of opportunity, and we want to make this pool available to everyone,” Gisele Fetterman said.
Staff and maintenance costs for the mansion have been about $400,000 annually in recent years. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and his family don’t live at the mansion.
“To have such an incredible amenity go unused didn’t feel right or fair, and this is a small way to get this into great circulation,” Gisele Fetterman said.
She hopes this becomes an annual tradition.