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'Pastors in the Pool' program hopes to inspire youth

Posted at 5:43 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-19 18:43:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pastor Brian Goines is practicing what he preaches — faith over fear.

He’s learning to swim for the first time.

“The first time I was like wow, y’all trying to drown me,” Pastor Brian Goines said. “It was a little intimidating.”

He’s taking part in what’s called "Pastors in the Pool," a six week long program that teaches pastors how to swim to encourage young people to do the same.

KC Urban Aquatics Council, along with its seven partners said the idea came from James Sanders, an athletic director for KCPS and his pastor. Sanders’ pastor, Johnnie Fields at Christ Temple North, learned how to swim at 60 years old for a sermon he did on conquering fear.  

“We look for pastors for so many different reasons, you know. They give us guidance,” organizer David Darmitzel said. “They save lies, literally. We're just asking them to do it in a different way.”

According to, nearly 80 percent of children in households with incomes less than $50,000 either don’t know how to swim or can’t swim very well.

And that of kids who have little to no swimming ability, 40 percent are white, 45 percent are Hispanic or Latino and 64 percent are African-American.

“The old saying is there's more drownings in the urban community,” swimming instructor Kimmer Songer said. “I don't want that anymore.”

The KC Urban Aquatics Council is hoping to break that cycle.

“It's really about teaching kids and adults that 'Hey, if we're playing in a pond, in a lake, in a boat, if I fall in, can I make it back to safety?'” Songer said.

This is the fifth week Pastor Goines has been in the pool.

“Man I’m gonna be a brown Michael Phelps around here! I'll be swimming laps around here,” Goines said.

He said he hopes to encourage children in his congregation to conquer their fear.

“There are a lot of ways we can touch the community and touch each other by learning new things,” Goines said. “I think when you see somebody's who's a leader, then that sparks the willingness to learn.”

The program wraps up on March 30, when there will be an Eggstravaganza underwater Easter Egg Hunt   from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club Thornberry Unit. For more information on the event, contact David Darmitzel at 816.807.7134