This week the Waldo County YMCA made good on a promise it had made earlier to the community, and the town of Liberty upheld a tradition.

At the YMCA, every first-grade student across the county will eventually have the opportunity to learn water-safety skills at the Tom and Sally Savage Pool Complex. The program began this week with students from the Captain Albert Stevens School in Belfast.

When Liberty residents learned at the annual town meeting March 27 that a program traditionally sponsored by the recreation department to provide swimming lessons to area youngsters was going to be cut because of an issue with the town’s insurance policy, residents took action and reinstated the program. Swimming lessons will now continue at Stevens Pond and be taught by a licensed water-safety instructor.

The driving force in both cases was the realization that the area’s close proximity to the coast and its abundance of freshwater lakes and ponds makes water-safety skills vitally important for young and old. In Liberty, for example, 10 percent of the town is covered by bodies of water, including Lake St. George, Stevens Pond and the St. George River.

Learning to swim and how to be safe in and around the water is crucial for children, as well as adults, because of the sometimes dangerous situations that can arise while boating or swimming — situations which, if an individual does not have the necessary skills or know how to react, can have disastrous consequences.

We see the value in programs such as those at the YMCA and in Liberty, and wanted to take a moment to applaud both entities for recognizing that and — each in its own way — keeping their promises to children.