IT’S HERE! You’ve been recruiting, hiring, training, filling pools, stocking supplies, updating signage, making in-service plans, marketing, and more, and it’s almost time for the unofficial kick-off of the 2022 Summer Swim Season! I remember Memorial Day weekend being a mix of excitement, anxiety, caffeine drinks, and very little sleep. You’ve done all the planning, so let’s talk about a few easy things you can do to help maintain your sanity for opening weekend.
I’m going to start with the easy one, and I know you know this already, but put on your sunscreen! I strongly recommend SunBum sunscreen and lip balm; it’s zinc-based on reef-friendly, plus it just makes my skin feel awesome! Set a timer to reapply so you don’t accidentally get burned. Remember that sunscreen should be kept in the shade and tossing it in your cooler is a great way to keep it safe and to give yourself a little refresher when you apply.
Have your camera (phone) ready.
This is a great time to get photos or videos of great things happening at your facilities. Take pictures of your team getting ready, the crowd at the gates, or families having fun. Use photos now to promote opening weekend on your social media, save images for team events, and add to your marketing image files. Check out these great tips for getting good photos with your smartphone.
Have your social media plan in place.
If you don’t manage your social media pages, connect with that person now to make sure you know what the plan is for the weekend. Don’t miss an opportunity to engage your team members and your community in all the fun things you have planned! Need help finding good hashtags to improve post visibility? Check out these great ideas from best-hashtags.com!
Be ready to represent your organization at a moment’s notice.
I vividly remember one of my mentors getting called away for a news interview in the middle of setting up for a big event just a few months into my first full-time job. We were all sweaty and dirty, and she took a moment to run her fingers through her hair, applied her lipstick, and pulled on her logo’d jacket; in less than five minutes, she was ready to be the face of our organization and invite our community to a fun event. You don’t have to have a signature shade, but you should have a stack of business cards, comb or brush, pack of breath mints; and be prepared to chat with an angry parent, say hello to a potential sponsor, sign up a new program participant, or do a last-minute news interview.
Map out key things for the weekend.
Look at your schedule and decide which things on the weekend schedule are non-negotiable for you. Whether it’s giving your team a pep talk and then personally opening your gates Saturday, greeting VIPs for a tour on Friday afternoon, or debriefing with your maintenance team each day, know where you have to be. Once you know the have-to items, think about the want-to things on your weekend calendar and build time in. And finally – but equally as important – know what personal things are on your agenda and how you are going to prioritize those activities. (No, really – it’s okay to delegate for a few hours and just BE for a little bit!)
Have your “save-my-sanity” plan in place for Memorial Day weekend.
Whether it’s knowing where the closest is DQ so you can get a twist cone or listening to your favorite true-crime podcast, have what you need on queue when you need a moment to re-group, refuel your brain, or just take a mental break.
Have your emergency kit ready.
If your pool is not your regular office or if you have multiple sites, get your emergency kit ready now. Yes, definitely include the headache remedy of your choice and your multi-tool (my Leatherman saved me on more than one occasion), but also think about a notebook and extra pens, a portable charger for your phone, tape and paperclips, extra cash register tape, extra chargers for on-site radios, Sharpies, scissors, zip ties, rubber bands, and anything else you might need. Memorial Day Weekend can mean brutal hours with very little chance to leave your facility, so pre-plan as much as you can.
Keep your body fueled up and ready!
In addition to your refillable water bottle (remember: multiply your weight by two and drink that many ounces every day!), think about other tasty ways to stay hydrated. Sports drinks can help restore electrolytes, and drinks like Body Armor are great for extra hydration. Don’t forget to stock up on your favorite snacks in your bag, office, car, safe, or pockets. . .well, you get the picture. Water-dense snacks like watermelon, grapes, and oranges, calcium-rich foods like cheese and yogurt, and even whole-grain foods are great if you’ll be sweating it out on the pool deck! And take a minute right now to set a few alarms on your phone to remind you to eat lunch and dinner!
Think about ways to keep yourself comfortable.
In addition to an extra swimsuit and towel, make sure you have a change of clothes, an extra jacket or logo’d sweatshirt, dry shoes and socks (if you wear them – I’m a flip-flop / Chaco girl myself), extra hair ties, a clean hat, and an extra refillable water bottle. If it’s going to be hot out, consider investing in BeKool patches (peel off the backer and stick one to the back of your neck to help keep you cool) or one of those fancy cooling towels (you can get a four-pack from Amazon for less than $15!).
Remember that you are one of the biggest assets to your organization and taking care of yourself is integral to a successful opening weekend (and a successful Summer). Trust in yourself and your team, and take a moment to enjoy the great things you’re doing in your community! Happy Memorial Day Weekend and Opening Weekend!
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