Monday, June 8, 2020

Pools Mean Everything to Me.



As a child my father volunteered in the community to operate its 50 meter outdoor pool. He became certified as a pool operator and with the help of several teens cleaned and prepped the pool for the summer. I enjoyed playing in the bottom of the pool with my brothers. As his daughter, I  had the privilege of a parent who showed me the value community service.

When I was about six years of age my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons. Once I could swim across the pool, I wanted to swim with the summer swim team. It changed my life. I was surrounded by other children and families in the community. I learned social skills and team building while eating pancakes and pizza. Summer coaches were college students and encouraged each of us to strive to attend college while many of our parents were only high school graduates. This social experience was essential to obtaining my first job and later successes in life.

Upon my sixteenth birthday, I took the Red Cross Life Guard training class and got my first job as a life guard. Pool managers taught us how to interact with guests and each other, but most importantly talked about the value of a college education. I continued on to manage  pools and work as a summer swim team coach, remembering the value of each of these experiences. I recognized the possible impact I could have on young children and valued the time I had to mentor them. I continued to manage swimming pools as a second job to pay for my graduate school education.  

And, then there were my children, a boy and a girl, who learned to swim. Both had the privilege of swimming in the CNSL. My daughter has gone on to swim winters, work for CA, and coach winter swimming in Wisconsin. I could not be more proud of the lengths she would go to engage her staff and mentor your young winter swimmers. I have CA Aquatics to thank for the positive influence they have had on my adult children.  

 So, as you can see, pools mean everything to me.

And, then there is today. As a member of the Columbia Association (CA) Board of Directors I was faced with a heart-wrenching decision, whether or not to close the outdoor pools. I had to choose between two  competing values, community and financial solvency. CA has operated for years without cash reserves or a rainy day fund, a current ratio of less than 1:1 (inability to pay bills without borrowing), and a capital spending budget funded by a line of credit (similar to a credit card). As a voting member of the Board of Directors, I had to exercise my fiduciary responsibility of care or financial solvency. It costs approximately $200,000 to operate an outdoor pool during normal times. Today, given enhanced sanitation measures, extra training, and limited capacity, the losses from operating the pools could be financially devastating to CA. I voted to keep the outdoor pools closed to prevent a further deterioration of our cash flow. With careful financial planning, much of this could have been avoided.

Without a restructuring of CA's Balance Sheet and the reassessment of programs and assets that operate a loss, CA's financial situation will remain tenuous. CA must first finance its core services, open space and the village operations, and then prioritize its programs/facilities. CA will have little cash flow into the immediate future and cannot operate its programs/facilities at a loss. As a Board member I will request a "ramp up cash flow projection" for each program opening. Further, I am open to hearing your suggestions about improving CA's operations and financial solvency.  My cell phone number is 443-686-0702.       






2 comments:

  1. This is devastating news. So many will be effected by this decision.

    We are depriving our youth of invaluable life lessons.

    Rejoice O young man in thy youth... Ecclesiastes

    ReplyDelete
  2. Isn’t it possible to open just a few strategically located pools?

    ReplyDelete

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