ST. PAUL- (July 19, 2016) - In continuation of a national partnership dedicated to bringing water safety education to the communities that need it most, national water-safety organization, The ZAC Foundation will be joined by Minnesota-based pool-safety organization, Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation, to host The ZAC Foundation’s award-winning ZAC Camp at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. This is the second year The ZAC Foundation has selected the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities through its grant program. The camp will include a visit from Olympic Gold Medalist and NBC Olympic Swimming Analyst Rowdy Gaines, who will be teaching campers water safety lessons both in and out of the pool.

Last year, the local ZAC Camp taught water safety to more than 100 children.

The St. Paul ZAC Camp named in honor of 6-year-old Zachary Archer Cohn who drowned as a result of being entrapped in the suction of a swimming pool drain – is part of year four of a national partnership initiative undertaken by The ZAC Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to bring lifesaving water-safety skills to thousands of Club members (aged 5-9) across the country. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities was selected through a rigorous application process and chosen based on its commitment to advancing water safety locally.

This year, The ZAC Foundation is honored to be joined by Abbey’s Hope, which has led water safety education nationally all in the memory of Abbey Taylor who also died due to a severe pool drain entrapment. The organizations are combining forces this year to spread their messaging further in an effort to reach more area families than ever before. Earlier this year, Abbey’s Hope teamed up with the ZAC Foundation to create an online educational video, “Hidden Hazard: One thing to know before your kids jump in the pool,” which has had over 6.5 million views on social media.

“Each year we are overjoyed to see Zachary’s legacy live on in each and every Boys & Girls Club member who attends ZAC Camp,” said Karen Cohn, co-founder of The ZAC Foundation. “It is incredibly special to be back in St. Paul at The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities to equip a new batch of campers and their families with the tools to live safer lives around water. Of course, this camp is even more special as it honors our son Zachary, as well as Scott and Katey’s daughter Abbey.”

"Swimming lessons aren’t just a life skill; they’re a life-saving skill.  All kids should know how to swim and The Zac Foundation's ZAC Camps are  a perfect safety resource for the Minneapolis/St. Paul community that will help us reach that lofty goal" said Abbey's Hope co-founder Katey Taylor.  "My husband Scott and I unfortunately share a common bond with Karen & Brian Cohn.  We have both lost a child to a tragic pool incident.  My family and the Cohns know first-hand the importance of getting these safety messages and skills into the community.  Drowning and entrapment are completely preventable and we are proud to work with other organizations to make sure that these important prevention messages are top of mind".

The ZAC Camp program combines in-pool swimming lessons, safety classes with First Responders, and classroom curriculum based on tenets of water safety taught in a children’s book co-authored by Zachary’s parents – The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim.  By week’s end campers are equipped with critical tools to lead them on the path to safe swimming, including: fundamental stroke training, emergency preparedness and response, and basic lifesaving techniques. The ZAC Foundation will also donate a copy of the book to each camper, allowing campers to spread the messages to friends and family.

The 2016 Twin Cities ZAC Camp will host campers July 25, 2016 through July 28, 2016 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. An opening ceremony will be held on July 25, 2016 at noon featuring the St. Paul Sherriff’s Department and Tom Schnack, Board Chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. Open to campers, family, and friends, the ZAC Camp will conclude with a special award ceremony that will take place at The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities on July 28, 2016, with special guests.

ZAC Camp brings a unique energy to our Club kids and truly enhances our summer curriculum. Last year’s campers are still talking about the fun they had with their fellow campers, teachers, local First Responders, and special guests. Witnessing the changes in their behavior and their eagerness to share the water safety lessons they learn with their families and friends reinforces how important this program is for the young people in our community,” said Terryl Brumm, Interim CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. “We are thrilled for another ZAC Camp year and to have Abbey’s Hope teaming up with us to make this year’s program even better than the last.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause in children 5-14. Risk of drowning is highest in minority populations with the fatal drowning rate almost three times that of Caucasian children. In Minnesota alone, drowning claimed the lives of 53 people in 2015. Many of these deaths are preventable if proper water safety measures are taken. Working with Abbey’s Hope, the Twin Cities ZAC Camp will aim to reduce these statistics through community engagement and education.

Registration for the 2016 Twin Cities ZAC Camp will take place during the week of July 18-22 at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. For more information, please visit www.boysandgirls.org or contact Molly Barrett, Communications Coordinator, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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About The ZAC Foundation
The ZAC Foundation was established in 2008 by Brian and Karen Cohn after the loss of their 6-year-old son Zachary Archer Cohn in a pool drain entrapment in their backyard swimming pool. Through education and advocacy, the Foundation is dedicated to preparing children and their families for a lifetime of water safety. To learn more about The ZAC Foundation, connect with us on
Facebook and thezacfoundation.com.

About The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities (BGCTC) provide activities and support to more than 12,000 young people in kindergarten through graduation from high school. With eight inner-city locations, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities is one of only a few local organizations dedicated specifically to youth development. The Club believes that each young person deserves the opportunity to strengthen academic and social skills, develop positive leadership traits, and learn healthy living behaviors. The Club is a place where great futures are started each and every day. For more information, contact BGCTC at 651-726-CLUB (2582).

About Abbey’s Hope:

Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn., 6-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained from an improperly maintained pool drain cover. The foundation’s goals are to promote awareness and education related to child safety issues, work with the pool and spa industry to improve products and standards, and help educate parents, children and pool and spa manufacturers about the prevention of entrapment and traditional forms of drowning.

Find out more about Abbey’s Hope at abbeyshope.org.

About the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities is a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  Established in 1856 in St. Paul, 160 years ago, and a decade later in Minneapolis, the Ys provide life-strengthening services across 12 counties of the greater Twin Cities metro region and western Wisconsin communities.  The 27 Y locations and program sites, seven overnight camps, 10 day camps, and more than 90 child care sites engage nearly a quarter million men, women and children of all ages, incomes and backgrounds.  To learn more about the Y’s mission and work, visit our website at www.ymcamn.org.



The Dragonfly Story

Excerpted from the eulogy at Abbey Taylor's Celebration of Life Service

Below the surface of a quiet pond lived a colony of water bugs. They were happy, living far from the sun. But they noticed that occasionally, a member of their colony would climb up a lily stalk and disappear from sight, never to return. Where do you suppose she went? wondered a water bug.

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Pool Safety Tips

  • Use the Water Watchdog System to make sure children are always closely supervised in the pool area.

  • Remind kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

  • Keep gates to the pool area latched.


More water safety tips