Stocking Stuffers

By Jim McCloskey

My Christmas stocking saw its first visit from Santa a couple weeks early this year.

It arrived in the form of a press release from the National Swimming Pool Foundation with a progress report on its Step Into Swim campaign, which started in 2012 with a mission of creating a million new swimmers by 2022.

The program, which should be familiar to all watershapers by now, is for children who cannot afford the lessons required to learn the life-saving skill of swimming as well as for the children of fallen first responders and members of the military.  The numbers tell an impressive story:  In 2016 alone, the New York park system’s “Learn to Swim” program taught 11,773 children to swim throughout the state.  In Fort Worth, Texas, local efforts saw 363 individuals learn to swim just through the summer months.  These programs come big and small, statewide and local – and the job is getting done.

I’ve long been an advocate of fostering swimming skills on every level and in every age group of our society.  As I see it, this is the best and perhaps the only way to ensure that future generations will be as comfortable around water as they need to be to make them interested in making watershapes part of their lives.

NSPF focuses on pools, but I see far broader relevance and benefits:  Basic comfort around water may well be the key driver behind the markets not only for swimming pools and spas, but also for ponds, streams, waterfalls, fountains and all other conceivable forms of contained, controlled water.

As NSPF CEO Tom Lachocki said in the press release, “When we deliver water into people’s lives, we deliver more life for people.”  It’s all about the future, and Step Into Swim can use your support.  For more information, click here:  If you see the positive implications of this program, please send a donation that will enable Santa’s helpers to stuff the stockings of thousands of eager children heading into 2017 – and beyond.


You may have noticed it when, last October, we added a new wrinkle to the home page of  Many of you spotted it right away, but I wanted to give it a big shout-out here to make certain this new feature becomes a routine part of everyone’s experience.

What I’m referring to is the “Crystal Fountains Video Showcase,” a sponsored space on the right-hand side of the home page that lets you know what’s up at Crystal Fountains, a Toronto-based design/engineering/consulting firm that has been responsible for many of the world’s most innovative and spectacular fountains and interactive waterfeatures.

Each month, they’re embedding a link to a fresh video about one of their projects.  So far, they’ve covered the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort in Orlando and Polk Bros. Park at the entrance to Chicago’s Navy Pier.  A new one will appear January 1.

The videos are brief, entertaining and do a great job of demonstrating what happens when bountiful creativity meets up with leading-edge technology.  To get to our home page, click here.  You’ll see the Crystal Fountains Video Showcase partway down the page on the right side.


To you and yours from me and mine, please accept best wishes for a safe, happy holiday season and the very best in a great New Year!

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