My mom adventures in Fort Collins


I just love my pool

In my childhood, nearly every pool that I swam in was indoors. I took lessons indoors, and  any “pool parties” took place at the local high school. The occasional trip to a hotel was made that much more fun by the exciting prospect of swimming in an indoor pool. Outdoor swimming? You did that kind of stuff in a lake, not a swimming pool. The Wisconsin of my youth was not the place for outdoor pools.

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This girl can get awfully brave at the pool!

Now, I’m living in Colorado, where summer is the season of nearly interminable sun. Neighborhood pools are commonplace and outdoor swimming is, for many, expected of a summer sun-bum.

I love it. We basically live at The Collindale Pool during the summer.

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In her “Puddle Jumper”–a lovely resource for the chronically sinking child

Don’t get me wrong. I hate living in my swimming suit, and I can’t stand schlepping our wagon full of supplies and snacks back and forth through the neighborhood. My laundry room is full of various stages of wet bathing suits and towels. However, this is a small price to pay for the exciting squeals when I say, “Whaddya think? You guys wanna go to the pool this afternoon?”

We didn’t join our neighborhood pool for the first two summers that we lived in our neighborhood. I had heard great things, but I was nervous that I couldn’t handle both kids by myself (that whole kids-can-drown-thing). Once we joined the pool (the kids were 5 & 2), it was great. It provided this welcome refuge from the heat, and a source of family fun-time. Suddenly, things started clicking for my older daughter and she was able to play, have fun and finally synthesize the many lessons that she had taken. My younger daughter is the lounger of the bunch, and it’s doubtful that she’ll ever request to leave her floaties at home. For every potty-training mom that thinks her daughter will attend the prom in her pull-ups, I’ve discovered the swimming equivalent: I fear my daughter will go on Spring Break as a college freshman wearing her beloved Puddle Jumper.

Our pool is private; you need to purchase a membership to swim. The membership is not cheap, but for us it is a convenient summertime activity and well worth the investment. Like anything of this nature–the more you go, the more cost-efficient the membership seems to be. I’m at an advantage, since the pool is walking distance from our home. In fact, the HOA we belong to owns the pool, though they do not financially support it (membership fees make up the bulk of the budget). This year, our HOA meeting was later than usual and in the notice letter were the words, “Show up at this meeting or we’ll fill this pool with pea gravel” or something like that. (Okay, maybe I didn’t get the wording quite right, but that’s what it might as well have said.) Turns out, my beloved pool had fallen on hard times and needed a bunch of concerned community members to bring it back to the thriving, vibrant place that it once was. There is a “Recreation Board” that had been working for years to run the pool, process memberships, pay the bills and market the pool to the public. These folks worked tirelessly (for free) and ran up against many challenges.

Ahem… Did someone say you needed a Volunteer for the Collindale Recreation Board? Although I never say to myself, “Gee, I would like to work for free any ol’ day of the week!” it does seem like I do. This is in my blood. And for a pool that I love and my kids love? I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE.

When they're not in the water, they're lounging poolside

When they’re not in the water, they’re lounging poolside

While Katniss Everdeen’s words might ring in your head, it is actually the words of Margaret Mead that this whole situation brings to mind:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

I began my journey as a volunteer with the Collindale Recreation Board about two months ago. There is much to do, and I’m happy to learn. I’m a bit out of my depth, especially when it comes to marketing skills. I can’t market “Pick Up Your Room” to two children, so I could not fathom trying to convince people to join our neighborhood pool. This has been an adventure for me–along with several other amazing volunteers. I have met some truly lovely neighbors through this process, further proof that people of substance walk with us everyday. Together, we have beefed up our website, hand-delivered membership packets to all the residents of the Collindale neighborhood, started to use social media, hosted an “Open House” event, and reached out to our own networks to get the word out. Another volunteer has worked on handyman jobs like plumbing and painting and he even streamlined our parking situation (painting parking-lines in his free time!). We have a laundry list of things we’d love to do for the pool–plant flowers, purchase new chairs, save for a “rainy day” (or a supplemental boiler, as the case may be), but in order to do this, we need our financial situation to improve.

As one of the long-term board members put it, “I’ve got one goal: Keep the doors open.” For me, I can fall back on my old non-profit experience where I’d happily ask anyone anywhere to volunteer or give us money. (What’s the worst that could happen? They tell you “no,” and you move on.) I’m a chatty gal, and I’ll talk to anyone about this pool. I feel very confident that if the Collindale Pool is a good fit for folks, they will purchase a membership. I’m taking an If You Build It, They Will Come-Approach; however, I could certainly benefit from some expertise.

Do you have a story about a community entity that was brought back from the brink? Do you have marketing suggestions that might help? Words of encouragement?

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I think CO is most noted for its great snow and culture, but summers here are pretty amazing too. I’ve endured many a CO day wishing I had a pool in my backyard. Perhaps I’ll get one soon. Great article Jaymers 🙂

Comment by kencFoCo

Thanks for commenting… who knows, I might even get some motivation to write a new blog post!

Comment by jaymers




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