Aquatic engagement dives deep | Columns

If you’re of a certain generation, summer afternoons can bring back memories of hours spent in a swimming pool, playing Marco Polo, cannonballing off the diving board, and learning how to avoid this horrible (but short-lived) sinus pain that comes from having water in your nose. You came home just before dinner, tired and happy, your skin smelling of chlorine and your hair stiff and (if it was late enough in the year) sporting a greenish tint.

You may have thought you were having fun, but you were also learning crucial water safety skills, like never diving in shallow water, always swimming with a buddy, and never, ever swimming less than a half -hour after eating your lunch (okay, that last one is a myth).

If you have fond memories of summer afternoons by the pool, you’re not alone. And if you suspect having access to a pool as a child was good for your body and mind, you’re in good company. In the late 1970s, Muriel Rice and a group of committed local citizens recognized that all members of our community, regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, should have access to a swimming pool, so that they too can learn to be safe in the water. and enjoy the many benefits of water recreation.

Through these visionary leaders, the YWCA Gettysburg Adams County Pool, the only public pool in Adams County, has built a legacy of inclusion, empowerment, and community by serving our neighbors at every stage of their lives.

Children come to the pool for swimming lessons. The youngsters develop their physical condition and focus on the Sharks swimming team. Families gather for recreation on weekends. Adults of all ages come year round for the fitness and community.

Clearly, a successful and inclusive aquatics program is worth it, but it comes at a cost.

So, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the YWCA pool, another group of committed local citizens launched the YWCA Aquatic Endowment Fund to further strengthen YWCA aquatics programming and expand access to aquatic sports in the county of Adams. What does that mean?

This means expanding the reach of the YWCA learn-to-swim program, so that every child in Adams County has the opportunity to learn to swim.

This means expanding access to the Sharks swim team, so young people can learn the big lessons that come from swimming as a team, such as sportsmanship, courage, work ethic, perseverance and leadership, regardless of their socio-economic status.

This means expanding access to affordable lifeguard training, so we can have more good lifeguards on our pool deck.

This means expanding access to YW’s community-focused aquatics programming, so more people can partake in all the fun and fitness the pool has to offer.

Our goal is to build an endowment of $300,000 over the next three years, and we’re on track.

You can help ensure that every Adams County resident can participate in the fun, fitness, and community that our only public pool provides by donating to the YW Aquatics Endowment Fund. Just email Alex Hayes at [email protected] to get started. All contributions are tax deductible, and if you wish, you can spread your donation over a three-year period.

Chris Little is a past member and chair of the YWCA Board of Directors and is currently a member of the Aquatic Staffing Steering Committee.

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