As we all know, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a very large impact on every aspect of our lives over the last few years. One impact we have seen in the park and recreation sector has been a reduction in the number of opportunities for young children to learn the vitally important skill of swimming. Because of this, there has never been a better time than now to sign up to participate in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, taking place on June 23, 2022. While we know you may have concerns, here are some reasons why we at NRH2O Family Water Park feel it is a very worthwhile activity.
First, it is a worthwhile and relatively easy event to host. If you are worried about staffing issues, you have many options available to you. Remember, it does not have to be a large event; you only need five participants to qualify. If you are already teaching swim lessons, this can simply take the place of one. You can also perform the event prior to or after opening to make it easier for staff to participate. If you are still in need of additional resources, reach out to other agencies in your area, such as other city facilities, YMCAs and other swim instruction providers, to help with the event or potentially co-host the event. The lesson itself is only 30 minutes long, and you are provided a complete lesson outline by the World Waterpark Association in order to make it as easy as possible.
Second, the benefits to your facility are numerous and you will be showing your guests how important water safety is to you. Swim lessons allow future potential employees to learn to swim and be comfortable in the water at an early age, which in turn can grow your employee base. You can also use the event to garner media coverage for your facility, as well as increase interest in any learn to swim programs and junior guard programs you may currently have or be contemplating starting.
The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson offers many opportunities to not only help children learn to swim, but also make an impact on the overall safety of your community. By participating in this annual event, you are showing how important it is to not only have children participate in swim lessons and learn to swim, but you are also educating your community on the additional steps needed to keep their children safe. This would include such steps as having a water watcher, wearing a lifejacket, parents being in the pool with their children, and learning CPR. This has been best evidenced in our city through the creation of the Water Safety 365 (WS365) program. This program is now used in local schools, at local events and in community apartment complexes and homeowners’ associations in order to get the message of water safety to as many people in the community as possible.
As a municipally owned and operated facility, we understand the concerns many of you have about hosting this event. However, as one of only seven facilities to participate in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson every year since its inception, our commitment to this program has never faltered. Our commitment comes from seeing firsthand the impact it can have on your community, your guests and your potential employees. We highly recommend that everyone who can participate in this event in 2022 do so. There can be no greater cause than decreasing the loss of life due to drowning by teaching the lifesaving skill of how to swim. Remember, it is not about breaking a world record, it is about making the world a safer place.
Frank Perez is the general manager of NRH20 Family Water Park.
Stephanie Hee-Johnston is the assistant general manager of NRH20 Family Water Park.