The 2013 season for Old Farm Swim & Paddle Tennis Club was very successful on many levels. We continued and expanded several programs including Water Aerobics and Master Swimmer training as well as the FINS program that were strongly supported and attended by our members. Additionally, we saw in increase in the number of adults using the lap lanes for individual swimming fitness. These programs will continue in 2014, with modifications based on lessons learned, and we hope to include other activities including the newly renovated volleyball, basketball, and shuffleboard areas. We also look forward to additional activities for the kids, including use of our new tot lot, paid for with donations from our members and corporate sponsors, allowing us to continue to be the place to spend our summer. Shortly after we closed the pool for the season, we installed a brick walkway from the foot-wash to the tot lot. The walkway includes the bricks purchases as donations to the tot lot. We plan to continue brick sales and add the donation bricks to the walkway every season. You can buy a donated brick via this link, which is still live: https://www.bricksrus.com/order/oldfarmbricks.
Georgetown Aquatics once again provided us pool management and guard operations this season, and we received many compliments about the quality of our managers and staff. We will continue to work with Georgetown Aquatics to insure we receive the highest quality staff to provide a safe and healthy pool environment for 2014.
We welcomed twenty four (24) new Continuing families this season including six (6) families that were temporary families last year, and three (3) families who have rejoined after retiring memberships, as well as eighteen (18) new Temporary Memberships that we hope will become full members in 2014. This healthy increase is due primarily to the tireless efforts of Board Member Pat May. Our chief priority for 2013 was to increase membership in order to offset members who were planning on retiring their memberships this season. Pat certainly got the word out. Among the innovative activities he undertook, he reached out to new neighbors as soon as the moving trucks pulled away and contacted current members who were undecided on whether or not to join, convincing almost all to continue their memberships. As part of his responsibilities this year, Pat continued his involvement with the process of following through once new members joined, ensuring that we had current contact information in the pool’s database, enabling us to validate membership payments and to ensure accurate information for both electronic and regular mailing.
A challenge we face every year is providing a lifeguard staff that is motivated, well-trained, and focused on the huge responsibility of keeping our members and guests safe. They also must maintain our facilities and equipment to the standards that make us all proud to come to the pool. To enhance the safety of our members, we added a defibrillator at the pool to the equipment available to provide emergency response if needed. Georgetown Aquatics has that responsibility, allowing Board members to focus on other aspects of pool operations. Dave Ohlrich, our Board Member for Lifeguard and Pool Operations, did a great job working closely with Georgetown Aquatics and serving as the liaison between the guards and the Board of Directors, helping to identify and correct issues so that the pool could continue to run smoothly. Our managers for the 2013 season were responsive and proactive to all the many activities and situations that we saw this summer and responded professionally and courteously in every occasion.
Among the major reasons that people join and retain their memberships at Old Farm Pool is the varied and active social programs sponsored by the pool. The strong support from our membership demonstrates that the Club is an important part of our community summer activities, with events such as the Wine and Cheese tastings, Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th celebrations, closing weekend events, and the extra open weekend events after the official closing of the pool. Marla Caplon and Amantha Linkie, our Board Members for Social Activities and Concessions, worked tirelessly to coordinate all the pool-sponsored social events. Marla, Amantha, and their team of volunteers made every event a special occasion, whether it was a Saturday morning swim meet – where bagels, hot coffee and an assortment of healthy foods were available, or the closing weekend barbecue. Marla and Amantha were involved in every detail, ensuring that there was plenty for everyone, and everything served was prepared within the guidelines established by Montgomery County for food service.
When we come up to the pool, we pay attention to items like how nice the water looks or how the guards are performing their duties. What we sometimes forget to notice are the other aspects of the pool that are important, but oftentimes overlooked, such as operational phones, wireless internet access at the pool, the website with latest information on pool events, and the tracking of new members to ensure that they are included in the “MailChimp,” “SurveyMonkey,” and website mailings. Pat May also serves as our Board Member for Business Development and Technical Issues and plays a critical part in tracking these items, helping to increase visibility of the pool in an effort to make the pool much more than just a place to go swimming during the summer. Pat’s efforts have not only provided our membership with the latest technology and comforts (like internet access), but these technologies have also allowed us to reduce our expenses by using e-mail and website notifications rather than “snail mail” to conduct invoicing and keep everyone current on pool activities.
Our swim team oversight was lead by Board Members Jay Matson and Griff Lindsay. I don’t think it is possible to count the hours that Jay and Griff have dedicated to working swim team issues. Their efforts are truly a year-round effort. 2013 was a strong season for our swim team with membership up to 120 swimmers. This year we incorporated our coaches from the FINS program, and that proved to be a great success, bringing renewed interest in the swim team and complements from our swim team parents, who were all very happy with the improvements. We are already in discussion with FINS to confirm their return for the 2014 season. We finished second in Division “K” with an impressive 4-1 record for dual swim meets and a second place showing at the relay carnival. We will be moving up to Division “J” in 2014. Many of our swim team parents have told me how happy they were with the direction we are taking with our swim programs. In addition to his duties as a swim team representative, Griff also serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors. In that capacity he serves as a close advisor and, in my absence, has the authority to act as my direct representative. Jay also serves as the Recording Secretary on the Board of Directors, responsible for preparing and maintaining files of the minutes of the monthly meetings.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who support our Swim and Dive teams, whether it is helping with concessions, serving as a trained official helping with referee duties, starting, judging stroke and turns or dives, or volunteering to be a timer, runner, ribbon writer, announcer or clerk-of-course, the swim team does not work without your help. It takes lots of volunteers to help run each meet, and we encourage everyone to keep volunteering because we can’t do it without you!
Our Board Member responsible for special programs is Suzanne Stack. Suzanne is responsible for coordinating the return of the successful Master Swimmer and the Water Aerobics programs. These very popular programs were great fun for the participants, and we look forward to being able to provide them in future years. In fact, the Master Swimmer program was so successful that we again extended it for two additional weeks so that participants could continue training until the end of August. Suzanne also serves as the Board liaison to the volunteer committee raising funds through the “buy-a-brick” program, as well as several other efforts, for the purchase of the tot lot that we installed this season to improve the pool experience for our very young members. As I mentioned, we will continue the brick sales to continue to raise funds in support of programs to improve the pool experience.
Board Member Ed Rich has responsibility for Grounds Maintenance and is in charge of coordinating our lawn services and landscaping as well as arranging for spring deliveries of sand for the volleyball area, mulch for the vegetation around the pool, and many of the plants on the pool deck and hanging from the pool house.
Connie Jacobson is our Board Member responsible for the Dive Team and coordinating the dedicated volunteers supporting dive meets and practices. We had a strong season. Our dive team membership includes 23 divers, several of whom placed extremely high in the divisional meet for their age groups, including two 2nd place finishes. Our coaching staff did an excellent job motivating our young divers and keeping interest high in the team. As we look forward to the 2014 season, we look to increase the number of divers actively participating on the team.
Previously, I mentioned the large amount of behind-the-scenes work necessary to keep the pool running efficiently. Rob Follit, our Treasurer and Board Member responsible for maintenance operations, voluntarily took on several projects this past season. Rob was responsible for the expanding of the basketball court to a full half-court area. He added the new volleyball net and framing equipment and spent untold hours buffing and grinding the concrete and preparing the shuffleboard court to bring it to competition level as well as leading the effort to plant new shrubbery along the fence line adjacent to the parking lot. As treasurer on the Board of Directors, Rob is responsible for coordinating the development of the annual operating budget and holds each of the members of the Board responsible for staying within budget.
Once the pool closes in September, it is time for Board Member Scott Speier to swing into action with his responsibilities for Paddle Tennis. Scott initiated an effective e-mail campaign to encourage use of the courts, and we are registered with the American Paddle Tennis Association in an effort to encourage league play. Due to Scott’s efforts, we have recently completed a replacement of the paddle tennis lighting that will improve the quality of play, and he is coordinating for other repairs to the facility to keep our courts competitive with other courts in the area. Additionally, we plan to increase paddle tennis activities and paddle-only memberships in order to encourage more league games. We also hope to eventually activate our under-deck heaters and incorporate a warm-up facility to make us more competitive with the Country Clubs that include paddle tennis. We have arranged a Paddle Tennis Expo/Movie Night event on Friday November 8 (starting @ 7 PM), so come on by to check it out and enjoy the party. Scott also works closely with Rob as part of the tree removal/power lawn tool committee!
With the long hours involved in volunteering to serve on the Board of Directors, there comes a time when you need to step back and let others step in and take charge. We will be saying good bye to several long-serving members who will retire from the Board in November. Our retiring Board members are Marla Caplon, Jay Matson, Pat May, Ed Rich and Connie Jacobson. Each of these people have dedicated untold hours to supporting the pool. We will miss their active participation on the Board, but we know that they will all continue to support the pool…and will be able to do so from the comfort of their lounge chairs as they enjoy the summer activities at the pool. Thank you all for a great job!!!
In recent years we have renovated the patio area, purchased replacement tents, and continued the process of replacing our aging umbrellas and chairs. We received many complements about these upgrades and will complete the deck furniture upgrade with new “sand chairs” around the baby pool for the start of the 2014 season. We installed a handicap access chair lift and added access stairs to the shallow end of the pool, allowing those with difficulty full access to the main pool. We completed a white-coat of the entire pool surface that should last for up to ten years. We are also beginning the planning process for the construction of a ramp from the parking lot to the front entrance of the pool building, enabling easier entrée for our members pushing strollers or for those who are challenged by stairs.
As we look forward to the 2014 season, we will be focusing on the fact that Old Farm Pool opened in 1964. 2014 will be our 50th year of operation!! We will be planning several events to recognize this milestone, and we are looking for volunteers to help us plan and participate in events.
To close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the privilege you have provided me to serve as the President of the Board of Directors for another year. I continue to be impressed by the increasing number of volunteers that offer to step in to participate and lead in pool activities. Each of us serving on the Board has asked for volunteers to help run the many activities, and we always have people offering to do more. It is this volunteerism that the members of the Board look for as we look ahead for future members to serve on the Board. The true meaning of “community” is displayed by each of you, and it is an honor to be part of such a wonderful group of neighbors and friends.
Thank you again,
Bruce G. Kay, President