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Hochul announces free pool access at NY state parks this summer

July 2, 2024 — New York, NY — Governor Kathy Hochul launches the “Get Offline, Get Outside” summer campaign to promote physical and mental health by helping New York’s kids and families to put down their phones and computers, take a break from social media, and enjoy recreation and outdoor social gatherings. Governor Hochul kicked off the campaign by announcing that the State is waiving swimming pool entry fees at New York State Parks this summer. (Susan Watts/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)
Susan Watts
/
Office of the Governor
Gov. Kathy Hochul launches the “Get Offline, Get Outside” summer campaign to promote physical and mental health by helping New York’s kids and families to put down their phones and computers, take a break from social media, and enjoy recreation and outdoor social gatherings.

Surrounded by swimmers young and old, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced her “Get Offline, Go Outside” campaign at Riverbank State Park’s outdoor pool in Manhattan.

As a part of the campaign, Hochul said she was making entry to all pools located in New York state parks free of charge, including at Jones Beach and Montauk Downs state parks on Long Island. In providing that resource, Hochul also said she’s taking steps to ensure pool-goers stay safe in the water.

“It is heartbreaking for me as a mom to know that the number one cause of death for infants ages one, up to toddlers age four, is drowning. And for ages 5 to 14, it's the number two cause of death,” she said.

Hochul also pointed to racial disparities in youth drownings; she said Black children are three times more likely to drown than their white peers.

In response to those drowning statistics, Hochul announced $1.5 million in funding to help provide transportation to swimming lessons as part of NY SWIMS, another program to increase swimming lessons and access announced by Hochul earlier in the year.

The campaign connects to recent legislation Hochul signed concerning youth and social media; the bill makes it illegal for big tech companies to use their algorithms on people younger than 18.

“Think about when you were young, what you did with your time,” said Hochul on Tuesday. “You kicked a ball as you played catch. You swam. You just enjoyed life. You weren't sitting indoors, being held captive to your cell phone. So that's our advice. Don't scroll through life. Just dive in, and let’s get it started.”

Find the full list of free swimming pools in New York here.

Eda Uzunlar (she/her) is a reporter for WSHU.