Feature Article - September 2006
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Refreshing Strategies

Cool Tips for Waterparks and Splash Play Areas

By Stacy St. Clair

Education Made Easy

It's not always easy finding the cash to send your entire staff to a conference. There are transportation costs, hotel rooms and per diems to work into the budget. And there's the manpower shortage that occurs when everyone heads off to a seminar.

At the same time, there's no denying the benefit of a conference. What price do you put on employees who come back better informed and more energized about their jobs?

Fortunately for recreation managers, the National Swimming Pool Foundation offers a way to glean the advantages of its annual World Aquatic Health Conference without blowing your budget or disrupting the work schedule.

The foundation has expanded its reach by offering Web attendance. Industry workers who cannot attend the annual conference in Texas this month can watch the seminars over the Internet.

"We are excited to be able to bring the conference to a much wider world audience," says Alex Antoniou, director of NSPF's educational programs. "With today's Web technology, registrants can have all the benefits of hearing these scientific presentations without travel, lodging expense or time commitment."

The Web conference costs $455 to register. The fee includes 20 access codes for employees to watch at convenient times.

The foundation expects health departments and aquatic facilities to use the lectures to help train employees. They also anticipate industry suppliers to buy access codes and give them to key customers to use for development training purposes.

The seminar will remain on the Internet until March 31, 2007.

"This is an incredible opportunity for organizations to sign up multiple people who can benefit from hearing the cutting-edge research that is revealed," Antoniou says. "They can watch them when their schedules allow."

The two-day conference is being held Sept. 19 to 21 in Austin, Texas. Key issues include water wellness and injury prevention, drowning prevention, aquatic health benefits, new technology, and facility programming.

Bruce Becker and Michael Beach will deliver the keynote speeches. Becker is scheduled to address the advantages of water exercise, while Beach will discuss recreational water illnesses.

In 2005, there were 5,000 reported cases of recreation water illness. The majority of those were the result of cryptosporidium, microscopic parasites that cause a diarrheal disease. Other microbiological risks, however, continue to threaten the field.

Several seminars will tackle ways to combat theses problems through both science and common sense. Another lecture will offer tips on how to better work with local health boards to ensure clean swimming water for patrons.

There also will be six seminars on the health advantages of swimming, including the cardiovascular, special populations and performance benefits. While most people in the aquatic industry know this, few understand the science behind it.

At last year's conference, more than 230 industry members from eight countries and 33 states participated in the conference.

"The conference reveals the science behind the fun of aquatics," says Thomas M. Lachocki, the foundation's chief executive officer. "We provide a forum where [industry leaders] can learn from each other through the mutual exchange of ideas and information."

For more information, visit www.nspf.org.