NEW PROGRAMS- Autumn Stolte

An array of new programs at the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre

Several new programs have developed at the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre.

Several new programs have developed at the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre as a result of the community input gathered since the fall and the hard work of the facility staff.

New life-saving programs, adult swim lessons, additional lane swims and themed public swims are among the changes at the pool.

Aquatic Coordinator Victoria Mitchell said she and the rest of the staff are excited about being able to grow the pool community and that she hopes the community takes advantage of the new programming.

“In the winter and fall last year we were talking to parents and we were noticing that we had a lot of gaps in our programming. Kids would finish Red Cross lessons and have nothing to do until lifeguarding so we brought in some life-saving programs that focus less on strokes and style but more on safety,” Mitchell said.

“We now have a three-level swim patrol program and then in between swim patrol and lifeguarding stuff, the kids can now do a Bronze Star. In that program, they are examined, get an award from the Lifesaving Society of Alberta and they get a little bronze star medal.”

Mitchell said the goal of this program is to give the kids some extra skills and confidence for when and if they enter the lifeguarding program.

“The other thing that we’re really developing too is our Junior Lifeguard Club (JLC). Meagan Miller is our head coach for that, and she’s been doing that for a number of years but we’re really trying to expand that program. She’s really been helping to develop our pool club here and this year she’s going to continue making it bigger,” Mitchell said.

There is now a recreation portion of the JLC on Sundays, where members can enjoy more pool time. The competition side of the program will now see an additional day of swim time each week versus one night previously. The costs for the program have remained mostly unchanged with the hopes of staying competitive.

“With the JLC, people are actually paying the same price per hour in the pool that they would for Red Cross lessons. Our costs are pretty feasible straight across the board because we want kids swimming and safe around the water. We want kids healthy and active as much as possible,” Mitchell said.

“We’ve got a focus on making programs more accessible for families, especially if they have multiple kids and all of them want to participate. Now, it’s more financially feasible for them.”

New this year is the new price for public swims, Monday through Friday, with new programs each day. The cost is $2 and children aged eight and above may enter the pool without needing parental guardians.

“Parents can send their kids here on their bikes with a Toonie, and they can swim from 1-3 p.m. We do lessons for a few hours and then open the pool back up to the public at 6:15 p.m. With our 1-3 p.m. swims, each day of the week will be a different theme,” Mitchell said.

Mondays will surprise guests with themes such as games, competitions or one-on-one lifeguard skills training. Tuesdays offer kids a chance to step into a leadership role and earn seals to use towards the Junior Lifeguard Program. Thursdays offer families and kids a chance to see what a pool party event would be like, and Fridays kids can bring in their personal floater toys. Toys must be clean.

“For all of these programs – the kids can participate if they want to but are free to just swim and play with their friends if they want too,” Mitchell said.

Other new programs include adult lessons from noon to 12:45 p.m. on weekdays, a new lane swim from 7-8:30 a.m., and a caregiver and baby fitness class.

“The only reason we exist as a facility is that we have support from the community. We want people to know we’re thankful, and we brought these programs in to support them and meet community needs. This is a City pool, and we want to be here providing programs and opportunities that the City wants.”

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com