Parker Recreation Center
Many children have picked pumpkins at a patch, hunted Easter eggs at a local park, or visited Santa at a mall or festival. But how many have made these memories at the swimming pool?
It was the inspiration for the main events of the Aquatic Event Series at the Parker Recreation Center. Over the past year, the Parker Parks and Recreation Aquatics division has launched several new or enhanced events for families to create unique memories and traditions.
“We were able to provide a glimpse of normality at a time in history when ‘normality’ did not exist,” says Hannah Quaney, aquatic programs coordinator at the center.
Prior to these events, Quaney said, existing examples were few to non-existent, so she had to start from scratch. “I only had one or two meetings with our marketing team to update our community, and one or two meetings with my supervisor to make sure I was on the right track,” she explains.
She used the first event, Pumpkin Patch Splash 2019, as a kind of template. Once the event was over, she created a timeline and a checklist on how to coordinate, schedule, and execute the event. Then she adjusted the model for other events. “My main meetings are with our marketing team to make sure we’re targeting the right audiences and the information was clear when signing up,” she says.
She developed detailed descriptions of each event, with appropriate timelines and responsibilities for volunteers and support staff prior to each event.
The series consists of five events in 2021:
• Pumpkin Patch Splash: Sold out in 2020, even with COVID-19 restrictions and precautions in place. They added several sessions to meet the guidelines, and all of them were fulfilled.
• Egg Splash and Dash: The Quaney team filled over 2,000 Easter eggs with safe, pre-packaged treats and placed them all over the pools. Some even had “golden tickets” for big gift baskets and other prizes. All three sessions sold out during pre-registration, and the Easter Bunny visited and took pictures with the families around the pool.
• H2O Spirit Week: This week-long extravaganza included free entertainment for guests and staff, and allowed staff to accumulate points towards their end-of-season Lifeguard Olympics. Theme days included First Responder Day, Superhero Day, Clingy Tourist Day, and Luau Day.
• H2O Glow Swim: To close out the summer, the team used thousands of LED strings and Christmas lights, hundreds of glow sticks, light-up glasses, hats, beach balls and a few lanterns to transform the pool deck into a luminescent aquatic spectacle. Safety was a major concern for this event, so pool and building lights were left on and all exit routes were illuminated with construction lanterns.
• Swim with Santa: The inaugural event will take place in December, giving community members the opportunity to not only take pictures with Santa in the pool, but also splash around with merry old Saint Nick.