I remember it like it was yesterday — June 1955. It was the day that Laura and Arnie Wolf set to clean and open their underground pool after a long cold winter. There was no lack of volunteers for the job. The wolfs were kind and generous people who often invited neighbors to enjoy their pool during the hot summer days.
We kids spent many hours splashing and swimming and honing our skills in the water. Years later when I attended Lock Haven State College, I enrolled in the swimming and lifesaving course taught by coach Hacker. It was a great opportunity for students. As a result of that course, I was able to get a summer job at the pool in my hometown of St. Marys, Pa.
It was quite an experience dealing with a lifeguard staff of 8, working with pool schedules, monitoring pool chemicals, and watching so many young people learn to get along with others. I soon recognized the importance of recreation in a community. It developed far more than the body; the need to get along and follow some rules is a paramount skill.
Years later my daughters learned to enjoy swimming; so much so that I often suspected that there were fish genes in them somewhere. My older daughter eventually got involved with the local High School Band and the younger daughter joined the Lock Haven YMCA swim team. Those experiences were, I am positive, life aging activities. They both learned to get along with others and the interaction with others often teaches that we have more in common with our fellow man than we might otherwise realize something that will likely promote the success of society.
Societies sometimes run off the rails, and I think that that is more likely to happen when our differences are emphasized. In fact, lately our media has gone on a binge emphasizing our differences, which is nothing other than a curse on our society. It all too often leads to vilification and denunciation of the “others” among us. Recreation may be one of the best ways to avoid just such divisiveness among people of all ages, and what is better than a swimming pool to effect such ends?
The YMCA swimming pool has for years provided that recreational opportunity, and now we do not have it. And the pool gave us much more—rehabilitation, which is vital to those who have been injured. People from 2 to 102 can gain enormously with a pool. One of the really great features of the Y pool is that it can be used year-round. I know from past experience that the pool was busy daily throughout the year. Learning to swim and to respect water can be lifesaving in some instances, so it goes beyond recreation and rehabilitation.
Please consider donating to the current fundraiser for a new pool. Please write the check now as the longer it goes the more likely we are to forget about it. Make the check out to the Lock Haven Branch YMCA and in the memo line please note that it is for the YMCA Pool Project. Send the check to: RVR corporate office, 641 Walnut St., Williamsport, Pa., 17701; Attn: Jessica Servano.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox