December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 50

OPERATIONS
Post-Pandemic Trends in Aquatics
By Sarah Sharits
I
f aquatics programs operated during the 2020 and/or 2021 season,
they likely were modified to meet the guidelines within the city, county
or state and adapted to fit the needs of each specific community.
While challenging, this innovative and community-focused approach
to programming is a trend that will continue post-pandemic. Some programs
will come and go, but others have, and will continue to, open doors
for a unique and diverse future in aquatics. Here are a few trends in aquatics
programs that will continue to shape the field:
events on the water, or even ongoing
meetups for various age groups.
Inclusivity
Aquatics programs, particularly
those that focus on drowning prevention
and learn-to-swim initiatives,
are essential to communities.
Providing these programs always
has been a key focus for recreational
aquatics, but the changing tides
of
the pandemic offer
professionals
The changing tides of the pandemic
offer aquatics professionals the opportunity
to reassess the who, when, where
and how of essential programs to ensure
they are inclusive.
Outdoor Recreation
Pandemic restrictions on indoor
and close-contact
activities have
encouraged people to move
outside, and the interest in outdoor
recreation is a trend that will
continue post-pandemic. Increased
popularity in water activities and
sports, such as kayaking or standup
paddle boarding, opened new
avenues for aquatics professionals
with access to open bodies of water
to innovate their program offerings.
This might include learn-to-swim
programs at the lake, unique special
50 Parks & Recreation | DECEMBER 2 0 2 1
the opportunity
aquatics
to
reassess the who, when, where and
how of these essential programs.
To be inclusive, programming may
need to be restructured to address:
* Program cost and the ability to
pay
* Special needs of participants
and/or their families
* Flexibility in scheduling, including
early morning or evening
programs
* Physical locations closer to participants,
such as schools, private
gyms, open bodies of water, etc.
Pool Reservations
Whether for lap or open swim,
many participants have appreciated
their community's pool reservation
system. The certainty that they will
have the space they requested upon
arrival and for a specified time frame
| PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
is a huge benefit to participants.
Additionally, there is a sense of
accountability for the participant
who now has an obligation to show
up and/or release their reservation.
From an operations perspective,
reservation
systems
provide
aquatics professionals with the data
to support business decisions, such
as facility hours, programming and
staff scheduling.
Hiring and Retention
Hiring and retention in aquatics
programs has never been more
difficult. Seasonal employment has
its own challenges, but the added
struggles of facility, program and
health
restrictions
impacted this
likely
will
have
greatly
process. As a
result, aquatics professionals are
implementing a variety of tactics
that
the
pandemic.
offering
remain
This
beyond
includes
free lifeguard training,
partnering with local high schools
and colleges on mentor-style
programs, providing incentives and
bonuses for incoming or returning
employees,
or
increasing
opportunities
the
timeline for hiring by promoting
future
six to 10
months in advance.
Innovatively-driven and community-focused
programs are trends
that are leading the aquatics industry
post-pandemic. They blossomed
as a result of a challenge,
but will become the heart and soul
of what communities will expect in
the future.
Sarah Sharits is Strategist for Gilbert
(Arizona) Parks and Recreation
(sarah.sharits@gilbertaz.gov).

December 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2021 - Parks & Recreation

December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 15
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 17
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 19
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 21
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 23
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 24
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 25
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 26
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 27
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 28
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 31
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 32
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 33
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 34
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 35
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 36
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 37
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 38
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 39
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 40
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 41
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 42
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 43
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 45
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 46
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 47
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 48
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 49
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 50
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 51
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 52
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 53
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 54
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 55
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 56
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
December 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com