Today we’d like to introduce you to Brad Hurvitz.
Brad, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My path to the pool has been far from a straight line. I spent more than a decade working in various fields and professions, primarily in software sales and marketing. In 2009 I needed a break from meaningless grind and decided to teach at a school in India. I spent five months teaching English, math, photography, swimming, I was the soccer coach and I directed the school’s first full play. During a brief holiday (Diwali) from school, I flew north to trek in Nepal’s Himalayas where I noticed all of the children flying by me, up steep hills, going to school. I learned many of them trek for more than two hours each way to get to and from school and about the lack of quality education they were receiving.
At that point, I decided to create a nonprofit to help these students. Over the next two years, I went to grad school in Oregon to get my MBA. With my flash of inspiration in Nepal still fresh, I started Trek to Teach (trektoteach.org), a nonprofit company that empowers Himalayan Nepali students. We send English-speaking teachers on a four-day trek to get to their school where they will live in a guest house and teach for 10 weeks at the nearby rural school. We have sent nearly 50 teachers over the past decade and we have built a library, water fountains, supplied several schools with many pieces of furniture and equipment. We are also in the process of finishing construction on a school that was damaged by the 2015 earthquake. The company persists today although my role has changed to the Board of Directors.
A few years ago, while stuck in a job that did not give me meaning, I saw my niece taking swim lessons. The man teaching (Bill) her seemed to be truly happy with what he was doing and the progress my niece was making in the water was incredible. I connected with Bill and learned more about the job and its many benefits and challenges. At that point, I knew I wanted to be an instructor as well. Since meeting with him a few years ago, I got my ISR certification, which required 72 hours in the water and another 72+ hours of theory-based reading and work. Since then, I have taught hundreds of kids between six months and six years to float or swim back to the wall.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest struggle that I have as an ISR instructor is about perception. Many people ask me, “are those the lessons where you just throw the kids in the water and let them figure it out.” That is a common misconception that is radically different from reality. Also, parents shy away because some of the kids will cry during lessons. I remind these parents that kids cry for a variety of reasons including when they ride in the car seat, they still have to put them in it as it is a safety precaution. Of course, I invite all parents to come watch if they feel hesitant.
My Baby Swims, Inc. – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My Baby Swims focuses on helping increase the likelihood of a self-rescue should a child find themselves alone in the water. We do this by teaching babies between six months and 15 months to roll and float on their backs and kids 16 months to six years to swim a few feet, roll on their back to breathe and rest and then back to their belly to swim back to the wall. All of this is done in six weeks or less.
Last year alone I had two of my kids fall into the water and swim back to the wall, one of them happened right in front of me. Drowning is a preventable tragedy yet it remains the leading cause of accidental death in kids under 5 years old. There are layers to protection that all pool owners and parents should be aware of when there is a body of water nearby, it is my job to educate parents while also teaching their kids how to save themselves.
Survival swimming is what I teach first and once the students start getting more comfortable with their skills I do my best to teach with levity and joy, which absolutely translates to a fun time for my swimming students. While I do play in the lessons, the kids are well aware that the lessons are not solely about playing, they are about learning.
Our program, mine and the other ISR instructors in the city, are different based on the fact that we utilize sensorimotor learning and operant conditioning to teach. The difference is obvious from watching 10 seconds of us vs. traditional swim lessons and the outcome is a clear differentiator as well.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I feel successful when my all of my students (30+/day) are able to swim float swim back to the wall. Or when my babies are able to roll and float after a fall-in simulation. It is remarkable what young kids and babies are able to accomplish when given the opportunity to do so!
- $140 per week
- Website: www.mybabyswims.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/mybabyswims/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyBabySwims/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/my-baby-swims-san-diego?osq=baby+swim+lessons
Jamie Street Photography