I do not know much about the last two pools on my list. Holiday Hills closed sometime between 1982 and 1992. I vaguely remember that pool, but know it was run by the YMCA in Plum. I remember coaching Bel-Aire in meets against Beau-Clair, so I believe they closed sometime in the mid-90s. I will not begin to speculate about what “killed” Holiday Hills or Beau-Clair. Taxes? Expenses? No Members, No Pool? Lack of Volunteers? I know, we have not gotten to that point yet.
Some of the above? All of the above? Regardless:
My intentions were quite selfish when I joined the Board. I live in the neighborhood, so I wanted to make sure we had a swim club that my kids could walk to. I wanted a place where they could play freely, safely, and make friends. I wanted a place for my wife to go and relax. I wanted my kids to learn how to swim, join the swim team, become lifeguards and work at the pool! No joke! My daughter is the Manager. My son was a Head Lifeguard last summer. But my kids are grown and ready to move on to bigger and better things. I no longer have that selfish piece to motivate me. But please do not misinterpret what I say…the most pleasure I get from the pool is standing at the concession stand deck, on a hot, busy day, and watching all of the members - adults and kids - enjoying our beautiful Gateway Heights. The more you give the more you get back. That might be best fact I can pass along.
I am a fixer, by nature. I am very competitive, but not necessarily in a sporty-way. I hate to fail. I cannot stand by and watch something fail. I need to make things right. That is a curse that was given to me at birth.
Many people have said nice things to me in regards to the turnaround of the pool. First off, thank you…but I cannot take all of the credit. I have had some incredible people help out along the way. Many past and present Board Members, and many who never wanted to join the Board, but gave just a much time, talent, energy and resources. Luck played a key role. Unfortunately, the demise of a few pools contributed to our growth. So did COVID-19…the one good thing that came from the pandemic is that it brought people back to the pools!
So, if you become the next pool President, do not take all the credit for things like these. What you can pat yourself on the back for is having the ability to rally others together and building a team of rock stars who can move mountains! Take some credit for leading strategies that placed the organization in the right place at the right time, for luck to fall in your favor, and for the pool to be there for those who were ready to find their new summer home, and for the organization to be strong enough to handle the exponential re-growth that occurred over the recent few years.
My last challenge is transitioning…
Fact: If you build something that can only survive by your hands, and falls apart when you walk away, you have failed. The mark of a great leader is someone who leads the building of something which continues to be successful once he or she is gone.
And one last note. If it turns out that Gateway Heights is not the pool for you, then please support another private swim club. We are a dying breed. We are all a pump room failure, missed tax payment, low-membership-year and/or lack-of-volunteers-dilemma away from our demise.
Please do not let there be an "RIP" next to your pool’s name.
See you at the pool!
President, GHC 2016-2022
Board Member, GHC 2013-2015
Fake Board Member, GHC 2012
Angry Pool Member, August 2004
Bonded Member, GHC 2004-Present
Member, Foxwood Swim Club, 2002-2003
Member, Eastgate Manor Swim Club, 2001
Employee, Bel-Aire Pool, 1987-1995
Member, Park Swim Club, 1978-1984
Fool for the Pool, 1970 - Present