Officials at the American Red Cross are reviewing results of a survey meant to further address concerns over a new pricing structure. The survey asked providers for feedback on learn-to-swim programs, and while results are not yet public, it may mean price changes.
“It could result in changes to the pricing structure,”
said Connie Harvey, Red Cross manager of aquatics programs.
The online survey was created in partnership with the National
Recreation and Park Association. It was sent out in late December
2011 to providers, instructors, NRPA members and Red Cross partner
organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America and the American
Respondents were asked directly about the cost of their
learn-to-swim programs and level of satisfaction with their current
programs. As of press time, results were still being assessed and
shared with officials and NRPA partners.
“We had great response, more than 2,700 people,” Harvey
said. “That clearly tells us how important an issue this is
The new fees were implemented abruptly last June, and a number of
program providers have found that they are unable to meet the new
prices. The Red Cross has stated that is willing to be flexible and
work with agencies that have an issue; however, some agencies have
opted to look to new provider options.
“We’re planning for summer and soon fall programs. We
have to move on,” said John Berlin, programs branch manager,
Park Services Division, Fairfax County (Va.) Park Authority.
His agency has collaborated with other local organizations, forming
an aquatics group to create its own learn-to-swim curriculum.
Berlin said the Park Authority did receive the survey, and a
colleague responded. He added that earlier, the Red Cross offered
them a discount for the first year, but at this writing, Berlin was
not able to accept that. For his organization, an increase in fees
to even $1 per learn-to-swim student violates purchasing rules,
requiring that the agency go to bid for a lesson provider.
“We’ve long hoped that there would be some rethinking
about the timing and the approach,” Berlin said. “We
have no desire to have to drop the program, but we’re put in
an awkward position.”