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Red Cross Learn to Swim Program Review + Tips!

I have a not-so-secret secret. Not so secret because virtually everyone who knows me knows this about me, but still a secret since I have never mentioned it here before.

I didn’t know how to swim.

As in zero. Like I couldn’t even float to save my life (literally). All my adult life I believed I just couldn’t float and wasn’t built to move in the water…which turned out wrong thank God.

When I was young, my parents attempted to teach me and I “sort of” learned how to do the basics. But when I was in high school, I got into a near-drowning incident while on a class outing, and I abandoned all hopes of ever trying to swim again. I wasn’t exactly afraid of the water, but I panicked whenever I couldn’t hold on to something. So I guess that means I really was afraid of the water but was just in denial hehe.

Because of this fear, I was determined to make sure that Yuri learns how to swim. Job is a swimmer himself and has wanted to teach Yuri (and me) how to swim, but since he’s still thousands of miles away, we decided to enroll Yuri in Red Cross Learn to Swim summer program for now.

Ready to conquer the water!

And then I thought about it. Maybe it’s not too late to conquer my fear and finally learn to swim? Long story short, I decided to enroll myself too. It might not be too late after all!

And ready to conquer my fear! (Please don’t mind the messy background haha)

Red Cross Learn to Swim Program Details

Fee: P1000
Duration: 5 days at 2 hours/day
Schedule: Not sure if this is true with all locations, but there were three time slots to choose from in our case – 8-10 AM, 3-5 PM, 6-8 PM.

We chose the 3-5 PM class at our preferred location, Garden Oases. At 40 minutes of travel time, it’s not exactly near our house but it’s one of the nearest among the several pool locations they offered. Our class started right after Yuri’s Jollibee Mini Managers summer program ended, so it was a busy month for us!

Before I proceed with my review, here’s the outcome of the program. Yuri knows how to float and dive and swim a bit. He just turned 6 and I don’t expect him to have full coordination, but he enjoys it so much and at least he knows what to do when he’s under the water. He just needs to practice how to control his movements.

Segue: Yuri was grouped together with a really stubborn boy because they were the same age. He was found problematic by all the instructors who handled them and I couldn’t help but think he dragged the entire group (well, only Yuri because it was just the two of them) down. Instead of teaching them new lessons, the instructor would spend a lot of time disciplining the other boy and making sure he doesn’t do anything dangerous (one time he pushed Yuri backwards when Yuri was standing by the pool). Half of the time Yuri was fending for himself so when I see Yuri trying his best to swim, I feel proud. Despite the odds, he tried his best to learn!

As for me, I can finally swim at 27 (almost 28)! I am by no means great at it, but I can finally do it which, for me, is a big departure from not even being able to float at all.

That was 5 days of ZERO makeup, not even a trace of brow pencil or lip tint! It felt nice 😀

Anyway, here’s my review!

Location

I like that we are offered several locations to choose from. They also publish the pool fees from the get-go so everything is transparent.

Parking was hard during the first couple of days because a convention was taking place in the hotel

Like I mentioned, we chose Garden Oases. The pool is clean and there are plenty of tables for the watchers. There’s also a poolside restaurant for those who want to order food. The kiddie pool is 2 feet deep which is perfect for Yuri’s age group. Meanwhile, the big pool goes from 1 foot to 6 feet to suit the rest of the age groups. The water didn’t reek of chlorine, too!

I really liked the shower room. It’s clean and spacious with enough racks for clothes, towels, and toiletries. There are also lockers provided if you pay a fee of P50. Lastly, I’m not sure if this is the case with all locations, but in Garden Oases, there’s always a lifeguard around despite the abundance of Red Cross junior lifeguards.

Instructors

I was surprised to see that the swimming teachers were way younger than me! In fact, I thought they were assisting the “real” instructors when I first saw them. But they turned out to be very adept in this field (being Red Cross Junior Lifeguards) and serious in teaching. Even though they were young (there were adult students in my batch, me included, but it didn’t matter to them), it was never an issue since they established themselves as the persons of authority in and around the water.

There were a few instructors not in this picture, including Yuri’s teacher who was the only girl in the instructor group

I also felt confident with them around (I can’t see where Yuri is most of the time as he’s either in the kiddie pool or in the shallow end of the big pool) because they’re trained not only to swim but also to save lives.

And another thing. They don’t use floaters or pool noodles or kickboards to teach. I saw that they had those, but I don’t think I can recall Yuri using these implements; instead, everyone had to learn how to float and swim without the help of any floating device. And take it from me who had zero knowledge about swimming: you can learn to swim without them.

(Interestingly, they use an image of children using kickboards in the completion certificate, so maybe this is not true with all locations.)

Fees

At P1000 for 5 days, their fee is one of the lowest around. This is considering how the class will be taught by people who have undergone intense professional training.

The fee doesn’t include pool rates, which they are clear about upon enrollment. But even if you add the pool fees for 5 days, it’s still cheaper than most. For example, in our case, we pay P150 per person per day. That’s P750 for 5 days plus P1000 so it’s a total of P1750 per person. I saw other programs charge waaay higher than that, which makes the Red Cross program a good deal.


I’m so happy we decided to enroll in Red Cross Learn to Swim Program. Here are some tips for you if you decide to enroll your kid (or yourself!) in the program:

My pool essentials!

  • Wait until the classes start and the instructor requires it before buying a swimming cap. Upon enrollment, we were required to buy both a cap and goggles, but we ended up using only the goggles.
  • Make sure you buy good-quality goggles because you’re gonna be using them all the time. Doesn’t have to be Speedo or anything expensive though! (Ours cost less than P200 apiece but did the job pretty well)
  • There’s no need to buy plenty of rash guards or swimwear. A lot of students were wash-and-wearing their swimming outfits and it didn’t matter
  • Wear slippers to the pool (no need to buy swim shoes or anything special)
  • Always wear sunscreen! There’s a 10- minute break after the first hour so take this opportunity to reapply. Take your skin seriously! 😉
  • Bring snacks and water but nothing too heavy on the stomach
  • And lastly, please teach your children, especially the young ones, to stay close to their instructors and follow their instructions carefully. There is a time to learn and a time to play, but most importantly, they should always be safe.
Summer Summer Activities

Our Jollibee Mini Managers Experience!

Hello, hello, hello, I’m still alive!

I never thought I would be this busy during summer break — and we still have more than a full month before school starts. I think I’m busier now than I was during the school year. Yes I know, I’m such a noob hahaha. I haven’t blogged since the beginning of this month, and I’m taking some time to do it now because I’m having the day off.

A very welcome day off after weeks of getting Yuri from activity to activity lol.

Let’s start with Jollibee Mini Managers!

Way back in March, when school hasn’t ended yet, we were already choosing between Jollibee and McDonald’s. I read positive reviews from both, so for me, either option will do (also, since I have worked with both Jollibee and McDonald’s in the past — 3 years apart I think — and both had been great clients). We decided to choose just one since we think it’s gonna be pretty redundant to do both Mini Managers and Kiddie Crew in one summer. Of course, we let Yuri do the choosing.

He’s at this stage where he likes wearing polo and collared shirts (got it from the dad methinks), so he took one look at the Mini Managers uniform and he was sold haha.

He’s also at this stage where he prefers being called “Gabe”

We reserved a slot early (March 14th if I remember correctly) for Week 2 at Jollibee Buhangin since it’s the branch nearest our house. There’s actually another branch just 2 minutes away from us; unfortunately, they don’t do Mini Managers.

Jollibee Mini Managers Details (2018)

Fee: P650 (includes uniform, nameplate, snacks, materials)
Duration: 6 days, 2 hours/day (in our case, it was Tuesday to Sunday)
Schedule: 9 – 11 AM (may depend on the branch)

We were there from April 17th to 22nd. It was a pretty fun week watching Yuri and his batch mates around Jollibee, doing activities and trying to learn how stuff work. Okay, here’s my detailed review of Jollibee Mini Managers. Take note that I have no point of comparison since I’ve never tried McDonald’s Kiddie Crew either, so please use this as someone’s retelling of an experience and not a specific manual.

Activities

Even if I stayed to watch Yuri every day, I could never be too sure of their specific activities since they were inside the function room and we were outside. I do remember that they usually begin the day by singing and dancing. They did not do actual crew work like serving customers, but the older ones were allowed to help man the registers. The younger ones helped greet customers at the entrance and at the drive-through window.

Here are the other major activities I remember doing:

  • Crafts: drawing, making foam airplanes, making picture frames for family pictures
  • Song and dance number for the customers
  • Inspecting the parts of the restaurant that need cleaning/fixing
  • Getting customer “surveys”
  • Making Jollibee Yumburgers

Food

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were served a different kind of meal each day. They got the following:

  • Day 1: Spaghetti
  • Day 2: Burger Steak
  • Day 3: Jolly Hotdog
  • Day 4: Lumpia Shanghai
  • Day 5: Spaghetti, French Fries + the Burger they made during their activity
  • Day 6: Chicken Joy

I like that they were not given just generic “kiddie” food like burgers and spaghetti and that there was variety. Unfortunately, they only served soft drinks with the meals. Yuri doesn’t drink soft drinks so he drank water from his Thermos. Occasionally, I would buy iced tea and swap it with his Coke.

PS: If you’re like me, try not to eat anything before you go to Jollibee because you’re gonna be tempted to eat once you’re there haha. I never thought I’ll get tired of eating tuna pie, but I think I’ve eaten tuna pie 4 days out of 6 and have gotten pretty fed up with it so I ate Jolly Hotdog instead LOLOLOL.

Price

I honestly think we got a great deal for P650. For starters, the uniform included is one entire set, with a polo top and shorts. I inspected the uniform once we got it last month, and I think it’s very well-made. It didn’t hurt that Yuri can use the navy blue shorts for his school uniform, too, hehe. The fabric, while not thick, is not flimsy either and the buttons are well-sown. In fact, I remember that “Jollibee” is engraved in each button, which is cool.

Graduation games

Games again, this time with the parents (who’s competitive???)

With…the principal! LOL! I didn’t anticipate that there will be an actual awarding ceremony, which explains the un-ironed top…

And then we include the price of the meals they get for each day and the materials for their activities. Honestly, I don’t think they profit from this but then again I know nothing hahaha.


Overall, I think Jollibee Mini Managers is a great summer activity for the kids. It’s not very expensive and the kids learn a lot in a new environment and make new friends. Most importantly, Yuri had a memorable time there and want to do it again next year! Nah, let’s try a new activity naman! 😛