Teton Valley Aquatics is keeping its head above water in a busy summer.
Holding free swim lessons in the Driggs City Park, TVA had to get inventive when designing the curriculum for this summer.
“We decided in January that Teton Valley Aquatics was gonna try and do this portable pool program, which we’ve seen a bunch of places,” said Stacy Stamm, TVA Executive Director.
The portable pool program has done a good job filling a need for a place to hold lessons, in an area without any.
“No one is running swim lessons, Targhee is not running swim lessons, Teton Springs isn’t running swim lessons, there are no swim lessons in the valley,” said Stamm. “We felt like it was really important to offer that from our standpoint. What we’re looking for is just to get more kids in the water, people more active in aquatics.”
Swim lessons can fill a very important need for young children, who are in heightened danger from drowning. The safety that knowing how to swim can provide can mean the difference between life and death.
“We luckily have not had any kids drown here, but just five years ago, there was a kid that drowned in an irrigation ditch near Boise,” said Stamm. “Getting kids the safety skills at least until we get a full-size pool is really important.“
Besides the safety skills that swim lessons offer, it is also a great way for them to expend energy and get great exercise.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm when they show up,” said Stamm. “When they leave tired it’s nice. I’m happy the parents brought them because you can tell they need to get some energy out.”
Stamm and her instructors have also seen progress in the pool from many kids.
“The girl right now that’s in the water, I was just talking to her instructor, she started as a non-swimmer,” said Stamm. “Never taking any lessons at all, she is now almost onto doing full strokes. “She is fully capable of swimming on her own which is super awesome to see that we’re getting kids out of that danger zone and into swimming.”
The pool was made possible through donations of funds or resources from Driggs, the Community Foundation of Teton Valley, Holiday Propane, MD Nursery, the Reiser family, and Western Fence Inc. While TVA is grateful to have a pool to practice lessons in, they still have a need for a more dedicated facility. As with any process, there are hoops to jump through, but TVA has seen progress on that front.
“We selected a site down near the 5th Street skate park,” said Stamm. “That land is being donated to the City of Driggs, and we’re just working on the finalization of that donation which is why no announcement has been made.”
Once the donation of the five-acre parcel is complete, geothermal drilling will be required to gauge the need for hot water.
“A year-round facility is the end goal, but it’s all determinant on the geothermals,” said Stamm. “If we don’t get geothermal we’ll likely start with a seasonal outdoor facility, just from a cost standpoint.”
TVA is poised to grow as Teton Valley does, and has garnered support from local government and city leaders.
“We’ll work as that’s successful and we’ll grow with the community towards the year-round indoor facility,” said Stamm.