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Support of SOLO Aquatics at Burgess Community Center

From: Ruth Housenbold <jtbold_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 21:57:31 -0700


Dear Menlo Park City Council Members: I’m am writing in support of SOLO Aquatics’ use of the Burgess Community Pool.  I attended the City Council Meeting this evening (11/4) but had to leave to get my children fed and put to bed.  My name was too deep in the comment pile to speak in person. My name is Ruth Housenbold and I am a long-standing (11 year) member of the Menlo Park and Atherton community, mother of three, and Master’s swimmer.   I strongly believe that the ideal solution for the Burgess Aquatics Center and the community is for SOLO and Menlo Swim and Sport to be able to work together fairly to offer services that benefit the whole community.   Choice for your constituents is fair and democratic.  Tim Sheeper has unarguably built a broad set of services that address the needs of many citizens in the community.   His Master’s program most notably showed a tremendous amount of support this evening.   Yet all his services don’t meet everyone’s needs.  Coach Tom McRea has built an unparalleled non-profit swim program for youth that has operated successfully in the community for over 20 years!  Coach Tom’s life’s work is coaching and working with children to help them excel in swimming and sportsmanship.   He has coached thousands of youth from age 3 through High School, teaching them not only the art of swimming but also many important life lessons.  I myself was a swimmer from age 6 to 22.  I had many coaches, however, my youth swim coach was the most excellent.  I have personally experienced the impact that a positive coach can have on children.  They are hard to come by for kids of such a young age.  Coach Tom is an ideal example of a “double-goal” coach and an excellent role model for youth.  He has the skill and the experience to reach and motivate children.  His program, SOLO Aquatics, is also a very important part of this community.   In the niche of youth swimming I strongly believe, SOLO Aquatics is the superior choice for the community.   I firmly believe that the community has the right to “choice” for our children.  Currently, over 275 Menlo Park residents are members of SOLO Aquatics and another 100 or so from surrounding communities. My three sons have been swimming with Coach Tom and his staff for over 5 years.  They learned to swim with him at ages 3 or 4.  This year all three boys are now swimming year round with SOLO and benefit tremendously from the program.  It provides them with affordable daily exercise, a chance to set goals and excel, new friendships, and consistent positive role models.   It teaches them how to be a part of a team, to be a good sport, and to support one another.  On top of all that, they are becoming excellent swimmers who are proud of all the hard work they have put in at the pool.  They have been able to do all this with SOLO Aquatics while having tons of fun. It would be a crime to deprive the community access to such an experienced coach and well-run youth program.  To continue to operate the program successfully SOLO Aquatics needs afternoon access to 6-8 lanes in the late afternoon and early evening (3:00pm to 7:00 pm).  This is when our children are out of school and available for sports before dinner and bedtime.   While adults and masters are an important constituency to the Burgess Community so are youth ages 4-18.  One single operator/owner does NOT meet everyone’s needs and all coaches are NOT created equal.  It is unfair and undemocratic to force a monopoly on American citizens.  We all contributed our tax dollars to fund the renovation of the Burgess Community Center and Pool.  We should all be able to benefit by having access to programs that meet our needs. Thank you for your consideration.  Please consider the unbelievably positive impact a Coach like Tom McRea can have on our youth!   Sincerely,  Ruth Received on Thu Nov 04 2010 - 22:45:00 PDT


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