It is the love of swimming that motivated me to become involved in the Union County MPAC project and join the planning committee for this project. This love resounds from my youth until this day.
I grew up in a town not too different than Creston but had a troubled and sheltered childhood. My parents never took me to the swimming pool in my hometown (or anywhere else fun), so I never got to enjoy it until around my ninth birthday, when I was able to ride my bike across town. Because it was affordable, my parents fortunately purchased a family pool pass, probably just to get us kids out of the house. Well, I didn’t disappoint them. From that age and up through my teen years, I lived at the swimming pool from open to close 80 days a summer. Being an introvert and socially awkward, I could have fun because I didn’t have to be outgoing to make cool splashes from the diving board.
With a rough childhood at home and at school, I longed for the summer. I was cool when I was at the pool. I met my first true love as a teenager while at the pool, and there are so many other memories, from victories at splash contests and slide races to all the attention I got from the ladies. I attribute the fact that I never drank or smoked, like my parents did, in large part due to the fun and great memories I had while swimming. After meeting them as a teen at the pool, I have many lifelong friends that have shaped my life, and I would not trade them for the world. My summers at the pool helped keep me in great shape, kept me out of trouble and provided great mental health for me. As I got to be an older teen, the younger kids would look up to me to learn how to do tricks off the diving board, so I enjoyed mentoring them in this way (and I still do this summer).
Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but the role of the local swimming pool in my positive upbringing is immeasurable. While I had some of the social and other disadvantages in school, I still graduated near the top of my class in both high school and college, and today I am a productive member of the Creston community.
Today, I am the parent of children in the Creston school system. They don’t have quite the same love for the swimming pool as I did growing up, and I think some of that is because Creston’s pool is not as exceptional as some that they have experienced. My children are not as sheltered as I was growing up, but not all kids in Creston are this way. Some of those I see when I go today come from rough home lives, and they go to the pool to get away from the brokenness. A viable community pool offers a refuge for people who need it.
Yes, MPAC is expensive, but the future MPAC will provide an exciting place for this generation to make memories like I did as a youth. Creston deserves a pool that is worthy of the good people of this town. The Dekko Foundation was gracious enough to extend our dollar-for-dollar matching grant through the end of August. The opportunity to double your donation is now. Another bonus: you don’t have to actually give money now. Written pledges — either lump sum or over several years — if turned in by the end of this month, will count toward the match and be doubled. See our MPAC Facebook page, website or any member of the team for instructions. Thank you for changing the lives of Creston’s youth.