Waterfront: May 2009

The Gift Of Swimming

Florida-based program gives all kids a chance

Ojj 509 AqcopyWhen The Gift of Swimming was established in Central Florida in 2003, its goal was to provide swim training for disadvantaged and developmentally disabled children. Since that time, it has provided swim scholarships to more than 1,500 recipients through the help of business sponsors and grants. In 2009 alone, the nonprofit organization is hoping to help nearly 1,600 children in the area.

"In Central Florida, several clubs, organizations and instructors give swimming lessons. Unfortunately, these are generally group lessons that do not include physically and mentally disabled individuals and do not offer fully paid, individual scholarships for disadvantaged children," says Kathy Baldwin, executive director.

"Our goal is to increase the number of underprivileged children with swim survival skills who would never be able to afford lessons. Every child needs to learn to swim. Every child deserves to learn to swim. Every child deserves to live."

Each scholarship costs $375 and includes 25 one-on-one lessons over a five-week span. The children also meet with a registered dietitian to learn about health and wellness. For more information about The Gift of Swimming, visit www.giftofswimming.org.

Don't forget, May is recognized as National Water Safety Month. Be sure to get involved in your community. For more information about National Water Safety Month, visit www.apsp.org, www.waterparks.org or www.nrpa.org.

Hot Tubs And Strangers

MTV's The Real World is at it again

Oll 509 AqMTV's The Real World based its 21st season home in Brooklyn, N.Y., and staying true to form, the network wanted to give the housemates a place to relax, gossip and party. And what better way to do that than to include a hot tub in the house?

The network contacted Emerald Spa Corporation, based in Kentwood, Mich., and asked them to outfit the home's nautical-themed deck with a spa big enough to accommodate all eight cast members.

"It may not have been our target demographic," says Ray Lohner of Emerald Spa, "but it expanded our exposure to a different demographic."

Emerald provided MTV with the Manor 870. The model features Emerald's signature Lucite acrylic shell in Pearl Shadow, three high-speed pumps, a MassageAir system, 70 adjustable jets, intensive neck therapy, a turbo jet, a tsunami jet and a waterfall.

Step-By-Step Design

Outdoor kitchen design workbook aims to inspire

Obb 509 AqIf you're striving to make your client's backyard dreams come true, Scott Cohen's Outdoor Kitchen Design Workbook, is a good reference.

The workbook is filled with plenty of ideas on location, sizing, layout, construction and much more. It's filled with plenty of visual inspiration, too, as many top-notch projects from The Green Scene showcase the details Cohen writes about.

"No two backyard cooks are alike," writes Cohen. "A well-designed kitchen should meet the unique cooking, entertaining and dining needs of the homeowner. It must be sized to meet the space available and should be located to take full advantage of the property's assets. Most of all, it should be equipped to make cooking outdoors as fun for the chef as it is for the guests."

Cohen includes tips, schematics, layout guides and areas for personal notes to help make the workbook beneficial to the reader. Overall, it's a good read for anyone wanting to add an outdoor kitchen.

Aquatics Center Goes Green

Eco-friendly pool has all the bells and whistles

The East Portland Community Center recently opened the doors to its $11 million natatorium - a model of energy efficiency and conservation.

The center features a water system that will save about 1.5 million gallons a year, reported The Oregonian, and will achieve a 30 percent savings on drinking water due to its low-flow showerheads with metered controls and low-flow faucets. The pool water is treated with UV, supplemented with minimal amounts of chlorine.

The majority of the structural and finish materials were recycled, saving an estimated 25 percent compared to a typical new build. Nearly 95 percent of the construction waste was recycled, and the center has an outdoor system of bioswales that will retain and treat all storm water runoff.

But the biggest news regarding the center is that when its 87-kilowatt solar electric system is installed this summer, it is expected to become the first public swimming center in the United States to achieve the platinum certification of the Green Building Rating System. The solar system should power about 15 percent of the center's needs.

"This is a happy confluence of energy efficiency and design," Lisa Petterson, project architect for SERA Architects, the firm that designed the center, told The Oregonian.

Community Outreach

Radiant Pools hits the streets and the small screen

Iii 509 AqWhen Radiant Pools, Albany, N.Y., was asked to build a pool for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, they jumped at the chance. As longtime fans of the show, it provided them an opportunity to help out a family in need, as well as the environment.

Radiant Pools, an Energy Star Partner, helped Mahoney Design & Build earn points toward its LEED Certification by including a pool with energy efficient and eco-friendly features.

"The great thing about this pool for this family is that it won't overburden them in energy costs to heat it, and it will extend the swimming season in the too-short summers of Central New York," says Kelly Liberty, director of marketing for Radiant.

Liberty worked with numerous companies, including Tarson Pools (see March Waterfront), to make the project a success.

"I was in awe of the way all these disparate companies and individuals came together so seamlessly to get everything done in the crazy amount of time we had to do it," says Liberty.

When the time came for the pool professionals to join the site, Liberty brought her son to help out, as well. While he sorted hard hats and safety glasses for volunteers, she went on to the site to help a family's dream come true.

"People came from all over, volunteering to do all kinds of things," says Liberty. "Honestly, I haven't felt this kind of connection to such a huge group of people genuinely committed to such a great cause. To me, it was an honor to be involved and an experience I'll not soon forget."

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