Wednesday November 25th, 2020
TVA Giving Tuesday
Please join us for #GivingTuesday to raise $5,000 to support Virtual and Socially Distanced Water Safety Education Programs in 2021!
Jessica’s Story: A Passionate Executive Director's Quest to Meet the Needs of Her Aquatic Loving Community During a Pandemic
BOOKS. I have read A LOT of books, especially over the last nine months. From cookbooks (bread anyone?!) and DIY, to fiction and children's, the list goes on and on! Books for myself, books for my three young children, and books to help me try and figure out how to maintain a somewhat normal sense of life during a worldwide pandemic and lockdown.
I joined Teton Valley Aquatics as the Executive Director in February of this year. I had an amazing transition and training period during February with Katie, the outgoing ED and come the first of March I was on my own! With excitement and momentum behind me from our amazing community (who so desperately needs and wants an aquatics facility) I was eager to lead TVA into a busy summer of water safety education both in and out of the pool. I had strategies developed, marketing plans created, all ready to implement in order to get us to the next stage. Than BOOM...March 15 comes and everything changes.
I don't need to get into the details of how everything changed, you know, I know, the world knows. But what you don't know is the impact that those changes had on what Teton Valley Aquatics had planned for 2020. This year was going to be the year that we educated and taught more children than ever about the life saving skills of water safety. Giving them the confidence to be safe and have fun in and around water.
It was a hard decision, yet necessary to abandon swim lessons this summer. Instead, TVA's Board of Directors and myself pivoted from offering those crucial resources to our community and instead chose to direct all of our energy to assisting our partner, the City of Driggs, in their effort to secure land for a facility. Looking back it was the right move, as we are just signatures away from the City of Driggs officially owning the land where the future aquatics facility will reside.
However, that doesn't mean I didn't think about the fact that water still flowed during the last nine months. That people still used the rivers, pools and lakes.And that children not taught water safety strategies were put at heightened risk from drowning. This pandemic has taught us that creative measures are called for to bring our children water safety education and swim lessons. There has to be a way to get these life-saving skills to our community in the time of COVID. We need to have offerings for our children that we know will equip them to use water safely come summer time. I am making this a priority for myself and my board.
Our ask is simple. Please donate to our #GivingTuesday campaign to support the research, creation and implementation of virtual and socially distanced water education programs. This is new territory for myself and my board, but we are willing to invest our time and energy into finding fun, interesting and successful ways to get this knowledge to our communities youth. One of my sons favorite books that we read over summer was “The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim,” which taught him useful tools that he loves to reference, like how you do not go in or near water unless your are with an adult. At TVA we are currently working on what these programs will look like and I am sure it will evolve as the pandemic evolves. One thing I know for certain, is that it will include BOOKS!
"All I have learned. I learned from books." Abraham Lincoln
Swim Safely, Jessica TVA's Executive Director