by Chris Little


It Started with a Pool

If you’re of a certain generation, summer afternoons may bring to mind memories of hours spent in a pool—playing Marco Polo, doing cannonballs off the diving board, and learning how to avoid that awful (but short-lived) sinus pain that comes from getting water up your nose. You’d go home right before dinner, tired and happy, your skin smelling of chlorine and your hair stiff and (if it was late enough in the year) sporting a greenish tinge.

Maybe you thought you were just having fun, but you were also learning crucial water-safety skills, like never dive into shallow water, always swim with a buddy, and never, ever, swim within a half-hour of eating your lunch (okay, that last one is a myth).

If you have fond memories of summer afternoons by the pool, you’re not alone. And if you suspect that having access to a pool as you were growing up was good for your body and soul, you’re in good company. In the late 1970s, Muriel Rice and a group of committed local citizens recognized that everyone in our community, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, should have access to a swimming pool, so that they too could learn to be safe in water and reap the many benefits of water recreation.

Thanks to these far-sighted leaders, the pool at the YWCA Gettysburg Adams County—the only public pool in Adams County—has built a legacy of inclusion, empowerment, and community by serving our neighbors at every stage of their lives.

Children come to the pool for swimming lessons. Young people develop fitness and focus on the Sharks swim team. Families gather for recreation on weekends. Adults of all ages come year-round for fitness and community.

Clearly, a successful and inclusive aquatics program is worth it—but it’s expensive.

So, to celebrate the YWCA pool’s 40th birthday, another group of committed local citizens has launched the YWCA Aquatics Endowment Fund to further strengthen the YWCA’s aquatics programming and expand access to aquatics in Adams County. What does that mean?

It means expanding the reach of the YWCA’s learn-to-swim program so that every child in Adams County has the opportunity to learn to swim.

It means expanding access to the Sharks swim team so that young people can learn the great lessons that come from swimming on a team—like sportsmanship, courage, work ethic, perseverance, and leadership—regardless of socioeconomic status.

It means expanding access to affordable lifeguard training, so we can get more good lifeguards on our pool deck.

It means expanding access to the YW’s community-oriented aquatics programming so that more folks can take part in all the fun and fitness the pool offers.

Our goal is to build an endowment of $300,000 over the next three years—and we’re well on our way!

You can help ensure that every resident of Adams County can join in the fun, fitness, and community that our only public pool provides by making a donation to the YW Aquatics Endowment Fund. Just email Alex Hayes at gro.grubsyttegacwy@seyaha to get started. All contributions are tax-deductible, and if you’d like, you can spread your donation out over up to three years.

Won’t you join us?

Chris Little is a former YWCA board member and chairperson and is currently a member of the Aquatics Endowment steering committee.

Translate »