Special needs swim party a first for Pleasant Grove 01

MARIO RUIZ/Daily Herald Ten-year-old Clint Flinders of Provo slides down the water slide at the Veterans Memorial Pool in Provo Monday, June 11, 2007. With midsummer approaching the Veterans memorial pool is gearing up for it's busy season. "Come with parents and listen to lifeguards," suggests Carl Christensen, supervisor and lifeguard at the pool.

Crowds in a pool are often accompanied by yelling voices, boisterous laughter, loud music and large numbers of swimmers.

This is usually a happy experience by many at public pools during the summer. But, these conditions can make for a difficult swimming experience for those with special needs. That is why members of Pleasant Grove’s recreation department decided to try something new this summer.

For the first time, Pleasant Grove’s Veterans Memorial Pool will be hosting a Special Needs Swim Party from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. All people with special needs are invited to attend with family members or caretakers. For the two hours during the event, the pool will be closed to the general public.

“We’ve had some discussions with members in our community that thought we should do something that would better serve those with special needs,” said Brett Waters, pool manager. “So after speaking with a few parents and caregivers, we decided to hold this swim to give them an opportunity to enjoy a couple of hours that they may not get on a regular swimming day at the pool.”

Waters said a lot of people with special needs visit the swimming pool regularly. This event is designed to give them a positive experience with possibly less noise, more swimming area and a calmer environment. Many of their family members have helped in the process of planning this first-time event.

According to Waters, the atmosphere at the pool will be somewhat different than usual during the party.

“We’ve reached out to family members and caregivers to those with special needs. We hope to cater the event to them by playing softer music, hopefully smaller crowds that will be less overwhelming and also they will be around people that understand those with special needs better than what you would find on a regular swim day at the pool,” he said.

Admission to the party is 50% off regular prices. For ages 1-3, there is no charge. For ages 4 and older, the cost is $2.50. The pool is located at 532 E. 300 South.

“We are always looking at ways to improve and hope that this will be something that is well received,” Waters said. If the event proves to be a success by those who attend, it will become an annual occurrence at the pool.

The Veterans Memorial Pool has been open since 1996 and hosts a variety of activities every summer. These include water aerobics, swim lessons, private swim lessons, private pool parties and a swim team program. There are about 150 people employed at the pool, according to Waters. The pool will be open through Labor Day, after which it will close for the fall and winter. For more information about the swimming pool, check out the Pleasant Grove Veterans Memorial Pool Facebook page or go to http://plgrove.org.