Supplement Feature - February 2009
Find a printable version here

Sink or Swim

Aquatic Operations Adjust With the Times

By Emily Tipping


n times of turmoil, the onslaught of new lingo can sometimes overwhelm us with new ways of talking about things: "green-collar jobs," "gas-sippers," "naked shortselling," "stagflation," and my personal favorite, coined by a free-lance writer, "greedlock." These adaptations of language help us explain new or different ways of thinking. Take "staycation," for example. You've likely heard this one plenty over the past year. As gas prices soared and the economy sunk, more people chose to use their vacation time around their hometown.

And experts in the recreation industry say that the "staycation" trend is good news for facilities of all stripes. As more people choose to use their leisure time around their hometown, they'll be increasing their use of aquatic parks, fitness facilities, parks and playgrounds.

But that doesn't mean you're not feeling the crunch. Like many, you may be working to do more with less these days. You're also dealing with new problems, like the challenge of bringing your facility into compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Act. And the same old challenges faced by aquatic facilities—reaching out to the non-swimming public, battling recreational water illness, keeping things running smoothly and adapting to new technologies—are still around.

You can tread water, getting by with what you've always done, or you can take on the "Phelpsian" feat (to use another newly coined term) of swimming hard into the current to meet the challenges you face.