Every few months we load the kids in the car and head to the picture postcard town of Hope, British Columbia. This small Canadian town (pop 6000+) happens to house one of our favorite pools. The Dan Sharrers Aquatic Centre opened in 1997 and is a tropically themed oasis, providing a warm respite during cold and grey fall and winter days. It features a crystal-clear 25 meter pool (if you drink spring water bottled by Nestle’s you are likely drinking water from Hope’s underground aquifers), a fun little figure 8 lazy river, a kids depth splash and swim area with hot-tub like bubbles, whirlpool, diving boards, rope swings…you name it, they have it. Sunday family swim will set you back $4.50 Canadian, which with exchange rates and the glorious views of Beautiful British Columbia right outside the front door, is one of the best bargains going.
The staff and lifeguard crew are top notch and appear well-prepared for anything that may happen and typical Canadian courtesy is always on display (“sorry” is both a cliche and a welcomed though often unnecessary surprise). Lots of families were in the pool this past Sunday and for some reason I was more aware of the conversations going on, on deck, in the pool, from the deck to the pool…it made me think about the lessons we share in these environments and how a pool/aquatics center may provide a unique venue for some of these life lessons.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE LITTLES
This isn’t so much about safety (though it can be), but rather was shared by a parent or two across our time at the facility as a general reminder to be mindful of younger siblings and friends. Make sure they are included and share the things you know with them to help them swim better, play safer and enjoy themselves more.
HAVE YOUR FRIEND’S BACK
Bullying and truly aggressive behavior should be reported to lifeguards and/or parents, but we all know when groups of kids get together things can get heated. Standing up for (and beside) your friends is an important lesson, whether it is helping identify
CHEER LOUDLY FOR EVERY SUCCESS
Hope has a high dive that to a little kid must loom like a skyscraper over the surface of the pool. When a little one graduates from the pool edge to the low dive to the high dive it is absolutely the right time to whoop it up. Oh sure there will be curmudgeons who don’t like the sudden burst of noise, but in most cases, it is like singing happy birthday in a crowded restaurant. Everyone gets swept up and shares in the moment.
STRETCH YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLES
This one goes for the kids (and adults). So much of the fun we have in pools is around games and group activities and extending your circle to include others is usually a solid recipe for success. We encourage our kids to reach out and include others and it always seems like this is a lesson parents in Hope share with their kids. One thing we do find funny is the kids will play for an hour or more with others and when we are leaving we find out they never exchanged names!
SAY THANK YOU
From the front desk staff to the lifeguards, everyone is deserved of a thank you for the role they play in your fun day out – make sure they know it. Especially the lifeguards. They tend to fade into the background of our swimming memories but they are there to bail us out in our worst moments. A simple thank you on the way out towards the locker room is a nice gesture and plenty of kids in Hope provided a great example to our kids.
What are the lessons you teach your kids around the pool? We’d love to read your comments.