Judge’s Comment:

“This facility is one of the best for overall programming,

attention to safety and staff

Judge’s Comment: “This facility is one of the best for overall programming, attention to safety and staff development.”

The economy was at rock bottom when New Holland Recreation Center opened in January 2009, but a commitment to the young, and the young at heart, has enabled the facility to thrive.

The 75-by-65-foot pool is divided into two sections to maximize programming options. The zero-depth entry splashpark side offers a spray feature and water slide. The other side features safety swim lap lanes, designed with the shallowest part in the center, allowing tired swimmers to stand and rest more easily. Lap lanes are a maximum depth of 5 feet.

The shallow water allows beginning swimmers to practice without fear while providing swim space for more advanced swimmers who do flip turns at the wall. Children who can’t touch the bottom can stand on the underwater benches during lessons, making participation easier.

When it comes to seniors, New Holland has seen the size of its 60-plus aquatic fitness classes quadruple over the past two years. Because 20 to 50 people attend each class, prices can be kept low. The Wednesday class costs $2 and the Friday class $1. The low prices let those on a fixed income have a regular exercise time, and the high attendance makes the classes fiscally viable.

Community members of all ages also are welcome at special events held at the pool. Each January, youth groups can raise funds by participating in the cardboard boat race. The monthly Floatin’ Flicks dive-in movie program also is popular, as is the annual Beach Bash open house and fireman’s tug-of-war.

One challenge at the facility has been staffing. A common problem with teen lifeguards is that they don’t show up for a shift because they have something planned, but couldn’t get the time off. To alleviate issues, Aquatic Director Tracy Carlson asks team members to turn in availability sheets. Then she creates a tentative schedule. The lifeguards have three days to review the schedule and make changes. They also have the option of asking for a sub if they have something to do on a date when they are scheduled to work.

“We rarely run into any staffing problems with this flexible scheduling,” Carlson says. The water safety staff also has a lifeguard’s-only party after hours, so they can have fun without worrying about patrons in the pool.