Have you seen the new nationally standardized AP fees for H&S courses?
To have a WSI stay current I need to turn in my LTS records, now when I do that I need to pay $5 per participant. This announce came out last week, we did not budget for the next fiscal year to take into account the over $20,000 this is going to cost my agency.
It is too late to pass the fees onto the public as we did our annual fee increases with our annual budget. I am not sure what I will do, but I know that fiscally I cannot to send in course records this year for learn to swim programs.
I do not believe it is too late to pass on the fees to your customers. We were told during last week's webinar that the fees for the courses represent the minimum rates for those courses. Those whose rates are lower than what is reflected on the list must either start raising their rates or find a grant to bridge that gap. Those whose rates are already higher are encouraged to stay with the higher rate.
ARC LGIT, WSIT, WFAI
Wow- you must really work and live in an understanding community. We are still trying to recover from a $5 increase in swim classes that we made TWO YEARS ago to cover chemical increases.
My elected CITY OFFICIALS would suffer if we increased fees after a published catalog went out.
These things are normally lined up about a 1 1/2 years in advance. We are locked in... eating the extra costs until next fall, and probably next summer (if we don't drop it altogether)
Their suggested rates are $350 for a lifeguard certification class, and $200 for a lifeguard challenge course. To get to what I "should" be charging for swim lessons would require a nearly %30 increase. People already have a hard time paying what we charge now. I'm supposed to turn them away and let my lifeguards worry about them until they teach themselves?
The swim lesson fee's are ridiculous.
I can swallow the original certification fee, especially if I can use digital participant manual or print them myself. But $27 per employee each time re-cert comes around?
The only way to meet these fee's are to swallow them, passing them on to patrons isn't an option for us. And what is my option for swallowing the fee? have fewer lifeguards on stand? I already get enough pressure from higher up's that don't understand to do that.
Many people believe that this change in policy will not result in increased revenue for the ARC (at least in terms of LTS recrods), but rather, a dramatic decrease in reporting of LTS courses by WSIs. Technically speaking, WSIs need only turn in 1 course of record during a 2 year period.
Many of the new changes (and re-changes, as it seems, since changes were only made a matter of months ago, poorly publicized as they were) are troubling and worrisome. Some of the policies will clearly have a good impact: more standardization across the organization, less opportunity for individual chapters to "take it upon themselves" to enact pricing or policies that are counter to either the mission of the organization or to some general principles of economics. Still, the way much of this has been handled--including poor communication and poor roll outs of BOTH new policies and new programs may lead to all kinds of confusion, loss of instructor retention, and poor implementation of these and other policies and programs.
It is a very confusing time out there right now for BOTH APs and local chapters (and even some large regional chapters are very confused by all this and what is expected of them at this point)!
Not to mention: the instructor's corner forums were taken down as of the launch of the new IC and there is no current plan in place to bring them back!!!!!
I am a BIG supporter of the American red Cross programs. I consider them to be top of the line. I have "challenged up" on this issue on several points. I hope that others will do the same. Remember- THIS is a NATIONAL decision... not a local.
Large non-profit organizations transition about every 20-25 years from a BIG COMPANY concept plan to LOCAL SERVICE organizations (or vice versa). This current organizational shift shall pass in a couple of decades and we will go back to smaller service units. It is what happens when you pay outsiders to analize your business. They want to make their "fix"
I have heard their explanation that we will get better promotions and excellent support from a national level line. I'm VERY sad the they will be disassembling our wonderful local line of support, but I can only guess at the cost savings!
In the mean time- This is a copy of the letter I sent up the line.
Verbal chitchat about the new LTS fees is not going a positive direction. As a member of the North Texas Aquatics Association, I have the opportunity to hear the frustration rising from our local swim class providers.
Common Issues include:
Unfortunately, it sounds like most facilities will either be bailing on the Red Cross program… or turning in grossly under reported reduced records.
This will not serve the Red Cross goals of providing quality classes for all citizens. It will be putting our ARC Learn To Swim Programs at risk of being diluted, or … ditched.
Additionally, it will have the stark impact of greatly reducing the American Red Cross image in this area. Once facilities pull away and “create” their own programs, invest in certificates and advertising for “other” accreditations, they will not return. I have worked hard to build instructional staffs and promote the ARC as the gold standard in the swim industry. I fear that I am no longer in a position to influence other pools to return to our program after they have been “damaged” by the new fees.
I can understand that you are trying to finance other programs and emergencies around the world, but this is going to endanger your local numbers… and possibly your organization’s reputation. May I suggest that you step back in the fee level to $1, and implement a gradual increase over the next several years?
In closing, few growing experiences are as memorable as the beautiful photos and stories of young children overcoming their fear in a swim program.
Wow a lot of good stuff here, Cliff - I cannot raise fees without a resolution from my Parks and Recreation Commission, we do it once a year, compare ourselves to the market, and suggest increases inline with what our communities can afford and what balancing our budget neccessitates. I think this is a not very well thought out money grab, make the books free but charge more for everything else. Personally, I don't want a two year CPR certification, I want good local affordable services that meet the needs of the hugely diverse socioeconomics that come with my major urban city... The letter our AP's received say the money will go to providing usual relief servcies as well as CPR, 1st Aid and other training programs. Where I live these are all for fee programs so that makes no sense to me, charging fees for classes to provide classes we charge fees for...
Last year, I changed my Lifeguard Job Description to make sure that we REQUIRE fresh CPR certifications EVERY year. We are the employers. We can raise the standard to suit our needs.
I've been in the business for a few years and I'm here to tell you... two years is TOO long for (summer hires) teens to stay on top of their abilities. Nothing like a bit of testing to put the pressure back into "getting it right".
REASONS I WOULD RATHER HAVE A SOLID BOOK INSTEAD OF PAYING THE HIGH COST FOR A "CERTIFICATION USER FEE".
1. I am very sad not to give books to my students that they can write notes in during the lectures.
2. I will be making a library (that I have to find a place to store and haul around!) for student use.
3. Some changes don't suit water based activities very well. We don't have classroom desks that we can put student computers on so that they can access the electronic information during the lecture... Hey- I work at a pool!
On the good side- finally a computer program that works for us. SABA seems to have a solid set up and I like getting to save the certificates in two different formats.
regardless of how long certification is good for, I want my staff re-certified each year:
1. For tracking purposes
2. I want those I have hired that got certified somewhere else, tested by me.
3. It's simply easier and cheaper (in the past) to hold a large re-cert each year than to try and track 50 employees certifications and set up multiple re-cert's for them throughout the year.
Agreed 100% Clint. Although all our skills are tested, re-tested, and tested again with in-servicing, mock drills, "spot" audits, etc., the points you make about consolidating re-certification courses is spot on. I open ours up to outside pools who need their guards re-certified also to attempt to make a bit of revenue, doing it annually makes sense. The new fees, well... I cannot say the same for them....
My new issue is that I complained and now they want to negotiate my prices. They should have different prices from area to area. If Jim is charging more for lessons in California than I am in Utah, maybe he should or has the ability to pay more. But still not as much as he is being asked to pay. If they want to "negotiate" prices it needs to be on a chapter by chapter. One, it's less work for them. and Two, I am a City facility, I don't want to and should have to negotiate for lower ARC fee's than the County facility that is across the park or the city facility in the next city over. I don't want to go to aquatic conferences and meetings and end up comparing what "deals" we were each able to negotiate.
I can deal with the lifeguard cert fee's. I still think they are a bit high, but the new instructor's corner is really nice and should only get better. The same goes for being able to use saba and being able to reload and reprint old certs if the need arrives. But having to pay more than a simple processing fee for re-cert is ridiculous. I'm not looking for revenue, I am trying to keep staff certified and am providing a service for my teenager staff for many reasons. One of them being I can't give them a raise, The least I can do is help them keep their cert's current.
If I am charging $50 or the $200 that the Red cross thinks I should charge per person for a lifeguard challenge course then sure, I can see how they feel they should get a cut of that. But I'm not, and I doubt most of us are. And seriously, $200 for a teenager to come in, take a written test, and run through a handful of scenerios and swim a few lengths? Something that costs me a few hours of my time...
I agree with what everyone is saying. There was a time where our local RC chapter was a great resource for us in the water world. But in the past 3-4 years it has greatly taken the back seat to other RC interests. Our support has greatly diminished as the result of this.
The increase of fees if going to hurt and it is making us seriously looking at other options. Like everyone else, we have set our budget already (1.5 years in advance) so we too are trying to figure out what to do now. Elise, in her letter, make great points. I forsee, a lot of small town communities going away from RC and going out on their own. At times, I don't know if parents care if they are receiving RC lessons or not or are they just happy to see progreess with their kids.
The AP fees of other programs, such as LG course and recerts, is what is going to hurt me. I have been lucky enough to pay for staff recerts each year. But at $35 a person, (up from $5 in the past to $10 this spring and now to $35 in July) there is no way. Not to mention, we are now required to enter the names into the program, we are print the certificates, and RC decides to increase our fees. This does not even start the debate on book or no books for classes. This is also going to cause some hard choices for younger adults, do I pay now around $150 to get certified as LG (not always the best of pay) or do I apply at another job with no certifications required and make equal or in most cases in our area, better pay.
The one month notice we received, seems to me, an effort of the national RC to just push this thru without giving communities time to react and plan. It is ashame. I look forward to others opinions on how they are going to adapt to this both positivily and negatively.