Feature Article - January 2006
Find a printable version here

Simple Splashes

Updating your aquatic facility and programming without going overboard

By Kelli Anderson

Target the audience

Then there's demographics. For most facilities, women make up a significant percentage of the membership—mothers in particular. For this group, aquatic exercise classes can address pregnancy and post-pregnancy fitness, exercise with mother and child, or exercise with infants. Classes can be offered in anything parent-child related from CPR to child-rearing, children's health, women's health and so on. Classes do not even have to be water-related. For any demographic from infant, child, adult, young adult, parent to senior—classes can be offered to address particular interests but held on the pool deck, like a water-side yoga class.

Performance and demonstration also can be part of the lineup.

"There can be fashion shows, karate, hair ties, crafts—anything people will do on vacation, they'll do at a pool," Leblein-Josephs explains.

Are there talents in your staff? Benefiting from the knowledge and expertise already at hand, classes can be offered to aquatic facility patrons covering a wide range of topics like maintaining flower beds or cooking.

Programming special events, such as themed parties and movie nights, are another way to raise interest. Combining pool activities with summer camps also will have the kids running through your doors.

Going to the dogs

For some facilities, like the city of Gardner, it's not just children running through their doors—it's the dogs. For the last several years, the day before closing the outdoor pool for the season, the pool has been reserved for patrons and their four-legged best friends.

"Dog Days" was an idea originally hatched to let Stewart take his own retriever to the pool. Expecting only his dog and another staff member's, Stewart was shocked to see 70 dogs and their owners show up on the first day.

"You see dogs going off the diving board and even coming in costumes," Stewart says. "We've started something that's quite popular."

Whether your facility renovates all at once or one-piece-at-a-time, with the aid of thoughtful planning and purposeful goals, it is a project that has something for everyone.

"Don't think of it as a huge undertaking," Eaker-Kelly advises. "It isn't that big. It's a project that will pay you back two-fold. Ours was a minor project, but it was a huge success."