Saving the best for last. There was a time when it seemed like everyone’s parents, including mine, were involved in planning and running all of my activities as a child. My Mom was a girl scout leader for my sister’s Troop. My Dad was the Treasurer for the pool. Every baseball game, football game, summer camp activity, swim meet, etc… my parents and my friend’s parents, were doing something to make sure that “thing” was fun and successful.
Fact: It takes a village to raise a child.
Fact: The pool is part of that village!
Fact: It takes an entire membership to run and grow the pool!
Fact: The more you give the more you get back!
Over the years, I have witnessed a change in the mentality. What once was “If we build it, they will come” turned into “If they build it, we will come.” Our expectations are that if we pay good money for something, those that are providing those goods or services are responsible for making sure it’s top notch.
News Flash! "You" are the "they" when it comes to volunteer-run organizations! "They" do not get paid to provide "you" with top-notch services. "They" do their best to make things as good as they can be...and often wish there were more of "you" to help! Get involved! Step up! Be a part of "that thing" for your kids, yourself and your community.
A small group of us work our butts off to make the pool a fun and special place. And I cannot begin to tell you how rewarding it is! I tell everyone that my favorite thing to do is to stand at the concession stand deck on a hot summer day and look out at all of the families enjoying the pool. It makes all that hard work well-worth it!!! And, I have gotten to meet so many really awesome people too (you are one of them, I am sure)!
Remember, the more you give, the more get back!
And this isn’t just with the swim club. I have seen it with church, school, sports, scouts, you name it. If you are someone who likes to volunteer for things, you undoubtedly have taken part in that discussion, “Why is it that the same 12 people seem to be running everything?”
If you have not been a part of that discussion, chances are that you are not one of those 12 people. But if you are taking time to read this...there is a really good chance you will be come one of those 12! (Bring a friend and make it 13!)
Like most of the remaining pools, GHC implemented a 4-hour volunteer obligation for each member-entity. If you cannot or choose not to volunteer, tell us to keep your check. But honestly, right now, the club does not need the $50. We would love to give it back to you. What are your talents and interests? Just four hours of your time do something to help out the pool is worth it. And you can do you! Offer up your idea and your talent. Help with the doing part and I guarantee you it will be rewarding! If you cannot physically help, heck tell us to use your check to buy paper towels and toilet paper…or paint for the pavilions…or whatever you feel you want to put your name behind! This is YOUR POOL, you are part of the Gateway Heights family.
Remember, I once proclaimed that I would never lift a finger for this darn club!
But the reality is that volunteering is as much of a key pillar to success as are membership and finances.
On August 14, 2017, Highlands Aqua Club closed its gates for good. Now, I don't want to lead you to believe that "lack of volunteering" is what killed this club. These people had hearts of gold and the will to keep their pool going forever. But this one shook me. I did not know many people there personally, but I know what they had been doing to keep their club going and growing...
This one bothered me, a lot. From my perspective, Highlands and Gateway Heights paralleled each other over the years. Both were strong organizations in nice neighborhoods with plenty of families. Both experienced a down turn in membership in the 2000s but were working extremely hard to stay alive. I never met their President, but from what I understand, he too was probably a "Fool for the Pool."
Membership, Taxes, Infrastructure and other Expenses...if one pillar falls, the rest will follow. I captured this Facebook post from June 11, 2016:
"Beautiful day at our little cement pond! I got to go see the swim team practice this morning. What an enthusiastic, talented group! (P.S. They need a few more older boys. If your kid can swim up and back they can do this - and there's cookies at the end of the meets. Tell them chicks dig swimmer dudes). Went back this afternoon to swim. The pool and the grounds are gorgeous. Thank you staff! What I really loved was all the new faces. But if we want to keep our slice of summer heaven going for years to come -- if you want the same experience I had of watching your children grow up here -- we need more members. Won't you help to spread the word?"
So...if you want the wonderful experiences that come with being a member of Gateway Heights...we need more volunteers. If you build (and maintain) it, they will (continue to) come. You are "they".
If you re-read the section on expenses, you find a list if things that also depend on volunteers.
I have failed at many, many things since I joined the Board and since I became the Pool President. Boy, did I mess a bunch of things up!!! But I learned from those mistakes! The journey was my reward. I tell people all the time, before I joined the Board, I was lucky to know how to flush a toilet. Now I fix toilets, sinks and showers. I fix pool plumbing! I got a D in 10th Grade Honors Chemistry…now I balance the chemicals for the pool! Wait a minute...maybe I should stop there…perhaps this is not the best marketing speech for the pool!
But in all seriousness, if you are you one of those "12 people", then please step up. The Board Members with whom I have partnered over the past 10-years have brought this pool from the brink of death to a revitalized operation. Much of the hard work has been done. It is time for us to hand over the reins. Here are the other roles you can consider. They all require you to be a Bondholder, but we can make that happen quickly and painlessly…let’s talk:
At the beginning of this series of Blog entries, I noted that "President" is a one-year position and that I ran unopposed all seven years. Let’s face it this role should be re-titled as “Chief Sucker”! I am not going to try to sell you on the glamour of this role. It takes a special person to take on this role…but I bet you just might be that person!
Just remember, the more you give, the more you get back. Trust me.