The Watershed Center Hosting Inaugural Kids Swim for Grand Traverse Bay

Celebrate clean, healthy water with the inaugural Kids Swim for Grand Traverse Bay on Friday, August 10 and Swim for Grand Traverse Bay on Saturday, August 11. Both Northern Michigan events benefit The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. Get involved by participating or volunteering.

Kids Swim for Grand Traverse Bay is a half-mile point-to-point, open-water swim aimed at youth ages 12–17. It was launched in response to community interest for a fun, yet challenging youth-oriented swimming event. The swim will start at 6 p.m. at West End Beach and end at Volleyball Beach in Traverse City. The registration fee is $25 per swimmer and $5 per support paddler (register online). Swimmers are required to have parental consent and are encouraged to have a parent or adult serve as their support paddler.

“We are really excited to host the Kids Swim as we believe it is important to foster a love of clean water with the next generation,” says Christine Crissman, Executive Director of The Watershed Center. “Our region and state have many competitive youth swimmers, whether they swim at their local YMCA, swim club or with their school district. The Kids Swim will be a fun way to connect a new group of people with the bay we love and work to protect.”

Packet pick-up for the Kids Swim will be August 10 from 3–5:30 p.m. at West End Beach. Additional information can be found at

Volunteers are needed for both the Kids Swim and Swim for Grand Traverse Bay events. Volunteers will be treated to the pancake breakfast on Saturday, August 11. Interested parties can sign up online. Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Safety Squad: Serving on the safety squad is a great opportunity for an experienced open-water paddler (kayak, SUP, or surf ski). Volunteers will monitor the field of swimmers and individual support kayakers, assist with swimmer counts along the course, and create additional visibility in the bay. Mandatory safety briefings will be held before each event.
  • General Volunteer: A small crew is needed to help with pre-race organization and packet pickup, post-race celebration set-up and event clean-up for each event.
  •  In addition to these volunteer opportunities, The Watershed Center is also in need of certified lifeguards for both events to ensure the safety of our swimmers and support paddlers. Certified lifeguards will receive $50 per event and a free ticket to the pancake breakfast on August 11.

“I love the Swim for Grand Traverse Bay because it gets people into the water we work to protect,” Crissman says. “Our hope is that the experience of swimming in the bay will show people the importance of fishable, drinkable, swimmable water and create champions of our work.”