New Wayne YMCA Aquatics Director

By: News and blog | Thursday, August 8, 2019 | Aquatics

Sam Hassan, the Wayne YMCA's new aquatics director, is an expert in water safety.

When a teenaged Sam Hassan moved from New Jersey to Miami, the local YMCA became his anchor. He took a job as camp counselor, and found “the Y was all about acceptance, and offered a sense of family,” he said. “Everyone there appreciated you for who you are.”

Living in a city famous for its beaches and Biscayne Bay, Hassan began taking every water safety training the YMCA offered. He became a pool lifeguard, a swim instructor, then a beachfront guard. “I scooped it all up, one opportunity after another,” he said.

Hassan, who has been a YMCA professional for decades, is now the Wayne YMCA’s aquatics director. “My mission is to make the Wayne YMCA a beacon for water safety, a place where everyone and anyone can learn to swim in the most safe and fun way,” he said.

“Sam is passionate about ensuring people of all ages develop a love for swimming and understanding of how to stay safe in water,” Wayne YMCA Associate Executive Director Bill Kanas said. “Our YMCA will greatly benefit from his extensive knowledge and experience in water safety and first aid."

Hassan is an emergency medical technician, Red Cross lifeguard instructor and risk, health and safety specialist with area EMS squads. Before his appointment as aquatics director, he spent three months as a water safety specialist for several YMCAs, including the Wayne YMCA and the Greater Bergen County YMCA, both branches of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges.

The Bergen County resident has trained more than 1,000 people in water safety and more than 200 in CPR and first aid. Through his affiliations with the Red Cross, the American Heart Association and other organizations, “I have a network of health and safety resources whom I can call on to assist in trainings,” he said.

At the YMCA of Montclair, Hassan served nine years as senior aquatics director, managing a staff of 120 at three facilities. With the motto ‘swim for life,” he developed a swim lessons program that was highly regarded, attracting the interest of other YMCAs and community organizations.

Hassan is proud of his career, one that his late mother greatly valued. “She instilled in me an appreciation of life, to care for others and give back whenever I can,” he said. “When I brought my mom to the YMCA, everyone I introduced her to gave her a hug and said, ‘your son does a great job.’ She recognized that what I do is really impactful and life-changing.”

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