Letters to the Editor

Save the pool and save a life

I’ve sat by long enough and now I must share a story or two. I am a senior citizen with many health issues that prevent me from using a gym or walking for exercise. A pool has been my salvation many times during my life. In high school, being on the swim team gave me confidence I lacked in myself. Later I was the first woman lifeguard hired by the Parks and Recreation Department of San Diego County. It increased my skills, taught me responsibility and gave me one of my first jobs. I’ve proudly taught hundreds of kids how to swim and hopefully along that line saved lives.

Now in my golden years, I again return to the pool to stay as healthy as I can. I’m a single woman living on a limited and sinking retirement and am so grateful I can afford to do my laps. Unfortunately, I can’t afford the membership or monthly fees or I’d belong to the Masters program.

I marvel at two individuals that use the pool, one is blind another a paraplegic, both seniors, both on low incomes. I’m sure there are others I haven’t met.

The kids on the high school swim team face the same problems. What if their parents can’t afford to pay for one, two or even three kids to belong to the USA swim team that uses the pool? Where do they build their skills and self confidence and achievement?

What about individuals who suffer from arthritis or are recovering from hip, knee or shoulder surgery?

With all the beautiful rivers, lakes and oceans, what would you do if there weren’t swim lessons for your children? I’m sure drowning accidents would increase.

We should honor our military by not charging them higher rates, they’ve given up enough “rights” to defend and protect us and our country.

For the little children who come with their parents during open swim or the “special” once a month event, it would be hard to replace the bonding of their families and the fun they are having. I think it is much more rewarding than sitting at home watching TV while the kids are on the computer or iPhone. There is already very little for them to do in the afternoon or evening after they get out of school.

This is just about the pool, as that is my area of expertise. It will also affect the soccer program, running club and other events. Are we willing to dismiss all these activities? The Parks and Recreation Board, all unpaid representatives, are just asking for an extension of what we’ve had the past six years. No increase in taxes! Let’s pull together to make sure this pool stays open to all individuals, old or young, healthy or infirm, and everybody in between. It is the only program that can reach everyone.

Carol Chaplin
Oak Harbor

 

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