Hi everyone,

 

I'm interested in finding out what types of aquatics programming you have at your facility.  At my current facility we have a ton of programs, but we are always interested in finding new ways to bring in more members and users. 

 

We currently have swimming and diving teams, from both the community and the university in which I work.  Other programs we have include a synchronized swimming team that uses our facility, underwater hockey, Red Cross Learn to Swim and Preschool classes, other Red Cross Aquatics courses like lifeguarding, water therapy courses, water aerobics/fitness, and a masters team.

 

What programs do you offer at your facility?  What have you tried that worked well?  What didn't work so well?  What techniques did you use to get the word out about your programs and increase the amount of users in your facility?

 

I'm really looking forward to hearing from others about this!

 

Thanks!

Tags: activities, facilities, programs, users

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Bob:

Well you seem to have some good programs there. Of coarse, things to consider are what type of facility you have, how many pools, municipality or a college setting?, overall mission/goals of your department and your aquatic program, hours of operation, size of your staff, sometimes budget (but not all the time), location, accessibility, type of population, etc, and much more.

Here are some:
1. You can offer scuba diving and collaborate with local dive shops if any.
2. Offer kayaking.
3. Work with your local boy scouts troops with their aquatic badge requirements.
4. Offer a water egg hunt for kids (plastic eggs, put diff surprises/prizes inside) during Easter in the Spring.
5. Offer swim/water polo clinics.
6. Offer an education activity to promote water safety anytime during the year, or in partnership with CDC/NRPA or NDPA. Use radio and TV stations, get sponsors and do give things away like life jackets and other stuff, promote and have fun! Showcase your programs, increase awareness, there is so much you can do there.
7. Collaborate/partner with your fire department and police department in the use of the pool for water rescue, or scuba diving training.
8. Offer dive-in movies.
9. Offer your facility to host a sprint triathlon.
10. Work with your ROTC programs at local schools/universities they are always looking for a swimming pool for their water training requirements.
11. Run a mentoring junior lifeguard program.
12. Run an adapted aquatic program.
13. Run snorkeling, water safety programs in general. (By the way do you know that some states may require that parents undergo a water safety class if they area adopting children and live within a certain distance from any body of water?)
14. Collaborate with corporations nearby and offer team-building activities/programs in the water.
15. Host lifeguard games at local or state level.
16. Annual Employee and their families BBQ/swimming pool time appreciation day.

And so on.....so many things you can do! There are different ways to go about doing these things, and they will be shaped, adjusted, or modified depending on many things like I mentioned before. Explore with your travel agencies, convention center, chamber of commerce, housing associations, and more for exploring ways to promote your programs. Today, the social media 'bug' is growing fast and will help you market, in addition to TV, radio, word of mouth, and any printed marketing materials you may have.

At times it may be challenging to think about marketing strategies in the tough economic times we are currently experiencing. But in my experience I have found many other neat ways through many partnerships and collaborations to promote and market programs, that have been successful in reaching out audience and maximizing exposure.

Have fun!

Tomas
Hi Bob;

If it's open to the local community, try bringing in an Aqua Zumba instructor to teach a class, or the kids' gyms into the pool for activity
maybe some physical therapy sessions would work, too
Regards,
Lori
Thanks for the replies!

I'm working at the University of Cincinnati Keating Aquatic Center. My facility is an urban college campus, and though it's not open to the community, people who are not members can sign up for activities at a slightly higher fee than those who are members.

We already have some of the things mentioned by the two of you, I just neglected to list them. We will have some swim clinics coming up, but we don't have any water polo clinics. However, we do have a club water polo team that uses our facility, so maybe they would be open to that.

We offer rentals for all types of parties and groups that can combine multiple parts of our facility for a single event, including our leisure pool, gymnasiums, and climbing wall. Kayaking is certainly something we could add in the future, and adding something like Aqua Zumba would add a new and interesting dimension to our current programming.

One of our biggest obstacles is parking. Unless the users are faculty, staff, or students who already have a parking pass for campus, any users will have to fend for themselves in whatever happens to be open on the streets surrounding us. How can one overcome that or work around the limited possibilities for parking? How does one market to people who will be forced to park in the off campus area and walk to the rec center, especially in winter?

I posted this three years ago and have decided to revisit it.  Looking at suggestions, we do have some of these things, but we have groups that reserve space in our facility that host them.  For example, we rent space to groups for water polo tournaments and clinics, SCUBA, adapted aquatics, ROTC and lifeguarding courses.

We started offering our own lifeguarding courses, run by our staff, and even got into hosting Battleship.  However, when it comes to partnering with a corporation or trying to get on a news broadcast, there's a lot of red tape that makes it very difficult.  We routinely offer aquatics fitness courses, but fail to get enough enrollment to actually hold them.  Kayaking caused pool cleanliness issues in the past that soured wanting to allow them in the pool again.  Our main demographic is college students, so things like dive-in movies aren't well attended.

So, what programs do you have at your facility that are successful?  What have you tried that isn't working?  Most, if not all, of our facilities will have standard programs like swimming lessons, but what other programs can be offered that we're missing?  Do you offer anything that's unique to your facility?

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