Pictured: An aquatics staff member from Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s (M-NCPPC) Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County, Maryland, provides swim lessons to a child at a Make A Splash event at the Sports and Learning Complex. Photo by Cassi Hayden.
The May issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’re diving deeper into one of this month’s feature stories, “Recognizing Water Safety Month.” In celebration of May being National Water Safety Month, the article explores best practices for safety in and around the water, with an emphasis on equity and inclusion.
On today’s show, I am joined by the author of the article, Tara Eggleston Stewart, CPRE, division chief for aquatics and athletic facilities for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Tara has been in the aquatics profession since she was 15 years old, and as she has grown in the profession, she has always relied on her passion for aquatics and making a difference to drive her interests and growth, versus focusing on how she might be perceived by a profession where few people looked like her or had a similar background. Aside from her work at Maryland-National Capital, Tara has also served on NRPA’s Aquatics Network, the American Red Cross’ National Training Services, the Association of Aquatic Professionals, and Diversity in Aquatics.
Tune in to the full episode below to learn more about Tara, how she got into the field of parks and recreation, and why making water safety programs more equitable and inclusive is so important. You’ll also learn:
- Why drowning is a national public health crisis that disproportionately impacts communities of color and people with disabilities
- How park and recreation professionals play a role in ending the drowning crisis
- How M-NCPPC is fostering and supporting the development of a “water-well” community through its various programs and partnerships
- How M-NCPPC’s new Southern Regional Aquatic Wellness Center was designed with accessibility in mind
- How agencies can hire and retain qualified and diverse lifeguarding staff
- How to engage our communities in critical conversations and activities around water safety during National Water Safety month and beyond, and much more!
Related Links and Resources:
- The M-NCPPC Department of Parks and Recreation – Prince George’s County, Maryland
- Aquatics at M-NCPPC Department of Parks and Recreation
- Southern Regional Aquatic Wellness Center Virtual Grand Opening (video)
- May is National Water Safety Month
- NRPA Aquatics Resources
- American Red Cross Lifeguard & Water Safety Training
- The Association of Aquatic Professionals
- Diversity in Aquatics