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YMCA highlights Victoria’s love of regional outdoor pools

YMCA highlights Victoria’s love of regional outdoor pools
November 17, 2021

With Victorians looking forward to an active and social summer as COVID-19 restrictions ease and regional outdoors pools prepare to welcome back their communities, YMCA Victoria has highlighted that the facilities are more than just a place to cool off on a hot day.

Explaining that outdoor pools are a community focal point, notably in smaller towns like Lismore and Skipton, Jason Sheard, Area Manager of Corangamite, Moyne and Hindmarsh at YMCA Victoria, advises "a lot of events are held at outdoor pools. They hold birthday parties, have movie nights-it's where people go to meet each other.

"For example, over the past few years, a group of women have come to Lismore pool a couple of days a week to do aqua aerobics. They stay for coffee and catch up afterwards because there's no restaurant big enough for all of them to gather".

Water safety is another main focus, especially since some children may have gone up to two years without swimming lessons due to COVID-19 restrictions. Many regional children attend indoor swimming pools over winter and they have not been able to do this in the past year.

Sheard states “there are so many rivers and beaches nearby, it's all about water safety. At the pool they are in a safe and secure environment getting their swimming skills back before you throw them in a river or the ocean.”

Employment is also an excellent reason to appreciate regional outdoor pools. For some young people, this is their first real job.

Sheard adds "they work for regional pools, then go on to university in Melbourne and work for some of our metro sites. It's a great work environment and they learn many applicable skills that they then take into adulthood".

Sheard points to the career and life skills path available, noting that pools in Corangamite and Moyne run junior lifeguard programs and that swimmers from the age of 13 can start with shadowing a lifeguard to see what they do. Then they can become a junior lifeguard, a lifeguard, and perhaps become an assistant manager and pool manager.

He concludes that regional outdoor pools are central to connecting and belonging, both before and after COVID-19 lockdown, and will open from 27th November throughout Victoria.

Image: Timboon Outdoor Swimming Pool. Credit: YMCA Victoria.

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