WSCC pool is great for family time

April 6, 2024

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Dear Editor,

Over spring break, my family had an opportunity to swim at West Shore Community College’s pool. Thank you to WSCC for this opportunity and to Friends of the Pool for their presence during the event. We saw lots of people we knew, and my twins even got to play with several kids. The joy on the pool deck was palpable; we saw kids playing with kick boards, pool noodles, borrowing life jackets and puddle jumpers, and kids throwing balls and footballs. About 150 people took advantage of this amazing community event. As a parent and a professional educator, I understand the importance of physical regular activity for kids and the need for families to have inexpensive activities to do together.

As I was in the water with my children, my memories of the WSCC pool came flooding back. I remembered the swim lessons my siblings and I had there in the ‘80s and ‘90s, as well as my years on the Recreational Swim Team. Participating on that team gave 9-year-old me confidence in my swimming skills and in myself as a person. As I reflected on my childhood experiences with the WSCC pool, I realized then that my 6-year-olds have very little swimming experience where they can’t touch. Their skills are far below what mine were as a child. They did great with their life vests, but they still lack swimming skills. For us, it’s been wading in Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake like shore birds. Unfortunately, we spent all last summer on a swim lesson waitlist for Lakeshore Swim School due to the limited availability. While I don’t for a moment blame Lakeshore Swim School for the fact that my kids didn’t get lessons, I think this demonstrates a greater need in our area for children and their families to have access to our community’s pool. I want my children, and all children in our community, to have the same pool access I had as a kid.

I realize there are some obstacles to overcome to make this a reality. WSCC’s President Ward and the Board cite finding enough qualified lifeguards and needed pool maintenance, as examples. While I am not sure what the specific solutions are to those obstacles, I do know one thing: The Friends of the Pool, a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for the WSCC pool’s continued operation, wants to help WSCC find solutions. They realize, like I do, the WSCC pool has more value than whatever is listed on a balance sheet or in a budget. The pool’s true value lies in the service it provides our community with year-round access to swimming. Its true value is also something intangible: the pool provides families a unique setting to spend quality time together.

I want to highlight the Friends of the Pool’s upcoming event: a free open swim session on Saturday, April 20, 2024, from 2-4 p.m. This event is sponsored by The Friends of the Pool. Bring your kids, friends, or grandkids and come see the true value of the WSCC pool. I urge the community to support the Friends of the Pool (and similar initiatives such as Lakeshore Swim School) to promote swim education and safety. Let’s work together to ensure that our pool remains open and becomes more accessible, providing valuable life skills to our children.

Thank you for considering this important community issue.


Becky Gerhart, Hamlin Township

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