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Opinion: The Swim Club is Holmdel’s Jewel

A resident appreciates the Holmdel Swim Club, and wants to help make it even better.

At the last Township Committee meeting, the ordinance to increase rates for the Holmdel Swim Club was introduced and the question was raised as to the real revenue potential of the facility.

My family has been a member of the swim club for nearly 20 years. All three of my children took swim lessons there, swam for the swim team, and were lifeguards. One of my children was also the swim coach and I was the parent representative for the swim team. We have been to almost every public pool in Monmouth County, several of which are now closed, and Holmdel’s site and facility on Bailey Lane are top of the line.

Now that my children have grown and moved on, I still belong to the club and enjoy lap swimming and relaxing. Indeed, what I love about the swim club is the four beautiful, well maintained pools, the abundance of lawn area, and the scenic and shade providing trees.

This jewel of a facility has provided recreation to members of our town and surrounding communities while providing revenue and tax relief to residents.

However, with the recent depletion of the swim club surplus, we will not be able to maintain and improve the facility without exploring ways to attract members and increase revenue.

I'd like to share a few of my ideas. I'd like to explore the idea of a summer day camp, adult aqua classes, Red Cross certification classes, enhanced food service options including wait service, arts & crafts classes, private rentals, long term locker rentals, evening lap swim, and movie nights. In addition, the now defunct tennis center can also be re-purposed to generate revenue.

The Township Committee just authorized a new ad-hoc Swim Club Committee. I volunteered to serve. What do you think are some ways Holmdel can attract first-time members, retain the old ones, and generate more revenue?

Post your ideas. I am willing to look into them. Let's keep the shine on Holmdel's jewel. And look for more updates on our progress on Holmdel Patch.

Tracy March 01, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Wow Cathy! I think you have amazing ideas, one better than the next about how to make the swim club more attractive to our town residents! Any one of these ideas might bring me back to the club in the summers! I particularly like the idea of expanding the class focus to adults as well as kids. How about Masters Swim that starts early in the morning before the kids swim team? Water aerobics etc would also be great. How about diving classes? The club has such a wonderful diving tank! Red Cross certification classes would be such a great offering to our community for all ages. Thanks so much for donating your time to this project. You definitely seem like the right person for the job!
Nick J. March 01, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Kathy, thanks for taking this on. You certainly seem to have the right experience to tackle this assignment...good luck. We are former members of the pool club and on the days when our daughter didn't bring a friend, we always thought that there should be some organized activities for the kids. Perhaps some college or high school students could earn some community service hours for volunteering their time. I also like the idea of an upgraded menu....chicken fingers, hamburgers and french fries get boring after a short time. How about fresh Boars Head deli sandwiches and having fresh pizza pies from Salerno's delivered there every hour or so. Is the TC committee looking to add more members to this committee? If so, how can we join? Good luck and keep us updated.
joelyn rios March 01, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Kathy, I think that is a magnificent idea, I also thank you for taking it on. I am a new member this is only my second year. I am not a Holmdel resident. last year i was so impressed with the ground, the different pools, for different age groups, and also the openess that you can see where your children are if you have differnet age groups, which most of us have. I will confess i am a previous Strathmore Pool Club memeber. Believe me I am not comparing the two, Strathmores grounds can't compare to Holmdel's. There is one thing that Strathmore did have that Holmdel doesn't which my children, and other children enjoyed, and miss. A recreation program. example: Bingo, Tennis Racket Basball, Kick Ball, water polo, Sharks and Mino's (which i have no idea what it is, but they enjoyed playing). I just felt it gave our children a better oportuninty to interact with other children. They even had games you can rent for .25 and when you bought the game back, you got your .25 back. I would be more then happy do donate board games, decks of cards. I completey agree with Nick about the menu. The red cross certification, marvelous idea, i would definately have my daughter and myself in that group, I feel that is just a must. Thank you for your time.
Heather McGrath March 01, 2012 at 03:04 PM
What about birthday parties? That always seems like a big money maker-- especially if the snack bar can make pizza.
Cathy Weber March 01, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Wow!! Fantastic ideas from all of you. I do not know the status of the ad hoc committee and while I volunteered I have not been asked to serve on it. I'll reach out to the township committee and ask what their plans are and let them know there are eager volunteers! I would love a Masters program, diving classes, and water polo. Any thoughts on if we could/should partner with someone like the Y to bring in expertise? Holmdel already runs a summer half day recreation program so perhaps we can get those leaders to help with recreation activities. The snack bar is leased on an annual basis so I am not sure when we can make any changes but think the menu ideas and birthday parties are winners!
Mike Simpson March 01, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Swim club concession is on the Agenda for tonight's TC meeting.... 5. The swim club concession is bid for a period of one year with the option to renew for an additional two years. There was one bidder with the following results: 2012: $12,000; 2013: $12,200; 2014: $12,400. The bid amounts reflected the minimum set by the swim club manager.
Christine March 01, 2012 at 04:38 PM
The most important idea to me (and a good number of mothers I know) is to have a well-rounded children's camp. Arts & rafts, swimming, sports, nature, building, etc... Starting at age 3 and up to compete with a local children's day camp that is filled to capacity every single summer. Mothers need a break and most children love attending organized camps and events with their classmates and peers. I knew several mothers who joined the Middletown Swim Club every summer just for the children's day camp. I really hope that Holmdel Swim Club can pull something worthwhile together for this upcoming summer. Even a half day (morning and/or afternoon) would be wonderful.
Cathy Weber March 01, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Want to volunteer to be on the ad hoc pool committee? Just email info@holmdeltownship-nj.com and request an application. I don't know when/how the committee will be appointed but I will keep you posted.
Cathy Weber March 01, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Would love to know more about the swim club concession. Is the bid request public?Does it include the menu/pricing?
Mary March 01, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Since my kids don't swim any more, we stopped the membership. But there are days that I would like to go up and just pay a daily rate. I think that should be allowed for Holmdel Resident's only without having to be someone's guest, which you don't always want to do. Thanks for taking this on Cathy. It is a great place. My husband's family was one of the early Holmdel resident's that started the pool. Prior to Holmdel having a a community pool everyone went out to YMCA in Marlboro. We should keep it going and make it a profit center. It is the most beautiful pool in Monmouth County.
Jennifer March 01, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Great idea.
Jennifer March 01, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Well, the Hazlet pool is really nice too, and they have games for kids. But no chairs and the parking is tough as I recall. My older kids won't go because none of their friends are there. When they were little, there were a lot of kids their age but not so many middle and high school age kids.
Christina Johnson (Editor) March 01, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Regarding new ideas, I'd like to suggest lifeguarding classes. I passed the Red Cross certification course when I was a Holmdel teen and it led to a fun, well-paying summer job at a local hotel pool -- and a lifetime of confidence in the water, which matters here on the Jersey Shore. Certified lifeguards are required in many gyms, camps, beaches, hotels, and public pools. Seems like a job that is in demand.
Susan Zucca March 01, 2012 at 09:59 PM
With regards to the summer day camp idea, perhaps you could offer volunteer positions for kids not yet old enough to work but energetic and mature enough to contribute. Many 12-15 year olds sit home bored during the summer when they could be helping others and getting visibility for that future paid position when they are of age. Little kids love nothing more than doing crafts and games with big kids!
Steve Strickland March 01, 2012 at 11:31 PM
As I mentioned in my earlier comment, the swim club revenue has (at least in recent years) been co-mingled with the general township revenue, so there was never any "surplus." The annual profits were just spent on other township needs. And given the substantial operating profit of the club, I'm not sure that we need to "increase revenue" (particularly if it will just be diverted away from the club). We just need to maintain the existing revenue (increasing fees may be counterproductive). And some way should be established to escrow profits to prepare for big maintenance expenses in the future. When I was on the pool committee, we talked about replacing the building (which is old and leaks), the pump/filter house (which was collapsing), and putting a bubble on the pool (to enable year-round use). All these things would require significant funding. If the town keeps using the club as a cash cow, these funds won't be there. Independent of this, there are a lot of great suggestions above to make the club even better.
Mary March 02, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Wow Steve, great insight. You're so right. I forgot about the huge surplus they took to balance some budget a few years back. Let it be said right here too that the pool was run so well for so many years by the Csulak's - both Inez and Frank (Jr) and they are really the reason its been so well taken care of. I hope it continues to be taken care of now that they have moved on. They ran a tight ship! And yes it needs a new building so badly.
Grace Modla March 02, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Absolutely agree. It's valuable for the younger kids and the "big" kids, who in turn are mentored by the college-aged counselors. Last year, the recreation department piloted just such a junior counselor program for kids 14 years old and up (for a $50. fee). I'm hoping it's offered again this summer for my now 14 year old.
Michael Marzarella March 02, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I have been a resident of Holmdel for almost ten years and have four young children. We have been members of the Holmdel Swim Club for at least six of those years and find it an amazing bargain. I am totally in favor of many of the ideas you have suggested. Thank you for stepping up and look forward to meeting you this summer. I will be the guy chasing down my children telling them not to run :)
Travis Fodor March 05, 2012 at 02:00 AM
I was a lifeguard at the pool club this previous summer. Once or twice a week, a parent in the baby pool would ask me why they haven't put a slide or something inside. I'm sure licensing and insurance applies, but it seems that the pool club would benefit by adding a water slide or something along those lines. As well, working at the pool club I've witnessed the kinds of people who come, and who don't. In the end, the pool club lacks kids between the ages of 13-17. ( who aren't guarding) Drawing in that age group would bring revenue hands down!
Cathy Weber March 05, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Thanks Travis. I agree...we seem to lose the teenagers. Any ideas on what would keep them coming? I'm thinking perhaps a Jr. Lifeguard program and a counselor-in-training program to give them community service hours an training. Cathy
Grace Modla March 05, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Great ideas for teens, especially to continue the counselor-in-training program. How about a Teen Swim Night, similar to the current Friday night pizza and DJ party, but on a different night. Other increased usage/increased revenue ideas (a wish list): A Starbucks concession (or other coffee purveyor). Iced cappuccino anyone? Day passes available to buy at the door (like you can at the shore), Membership passes, also available to buy at the door (instead of having to go to Town Hall), Birthday party packages, Senior Swim Night (although I'm sure there'll be plenty to say about what to call it!)
Joe April 10, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I am looking for a summer swim club. I moved to Matawan in 2008. I notice for places like Holmdel and Marlboro you need to be resident of the town. I thought I saw someone post they are not a resident of Holmdel but have membership. Is this possible? I actually ran an aquatics facility and coached on mutliple levels for a couple years. I'd be willing to volunteer on a committee if I could get into one of these great facilities!
Grace Modla April 10, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Joe, YES, you can certainly become a member of the Holmdel Swim Club as a non-resident. Here's the link to the Parks & Recreation page: http://www.holmdeltownship-nj.com/departments/parks&recreation.html. Sounds like your background would be a wonderful asset to the program.
Eve April 10, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Joe, Holmdel Swim Club does allow non-residents to join, the price is higher than the residents' one, though. Here are all the details: http://holmdeltownship-nj.com/SC%20Brochure_RnR_Appl%202012.pdf
Joe April 10, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Thanks for the info Eve and Grace. The rates seem a bit high, but I haven't seen the facility yet. I was looking at all of the ideas on this board. I'm shocked the club wouldn't be doing some of these already. Some of the ideas are tougher to implement and increase liability, but a few are easy to implement. I would definitley be interested in a masters team. I coached masters for a couple years.

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