Waterfront: February 2005

Aq 205 13pg 0001

Snoezelen Program A Splash!

Relaxing in warm water while listening to soothing music in a room with dimmed lights sounds like an environment in which almost anyone could unwind and experience relief from stress.

That's why in October 2002, the Bloorview MacMillan Children's Center in Toronto, Ontario, launched its "Water Snoezelen" program, described as the first of its kind in North America. Snoezelen, a Dutch word, is a unique sensory environment that uses music, lighting effects, gentle vibrations, aroma and tactile sensations to create a stimulating yet relaxing atmosphere. "Water Snoezelen" combines this environment with the physical benefits of aquatic therapy.

Originally developed in the Netherlands for individuals with severe developmental disabilities in the late 1970s, Snoezelen (pronounced snooz-uh-lun) is a combination of two Dutch words: snuffelen, meaning to seek out or to explore, and doezelen, meaning to relax or to be in a wonderful place.

In an effort to give clients with moderate to severe disabilities breaks from therapy schedules as well as an opportunity to develop social skills, motor skills and communication abilities, the center outfitted its therapy pool and adjoining room with Snoezelen equipment, which was carefully selected to appeal to clients' visual, tactile and auditory senses.

The 15-by-18-foot oval therapy pool, which is kept at 94 degrees Fahrenheit, and its surrounding deck, features a Wizard of Oz theme complete with murals and a ceiling-high rainbow that spans the width of the pool. Snoezelen equipment such as a 5-foot-high, 6foot-wide bubble tube filled with water, color-changing bubbles and miniature floating fish; fiber optics; a moonbeam projector that casts colored geometric shapes onto surfaces; and an underwater speaker so clients could feel vibrations were also added to the pool area. Water toys such as grab balls with raised bumps, squirt toys, jingle balls and rubber rings contribute to the engaging atmosphere.

The Snoezelen room has a white floor and white wall mats, as well as sparkling-cloud ceiling fabric, a black light, and purple and green bean bag chairs. The room also includes reflective prism panels, a shimmering fiber-optic curtain, an interactive Catherine wheel, a revolving mirror ball and more.

But it wasn't all exploring and relaxing when the center was tackling this project. The primary concern was lighting, says Lorraine Thomas, Snoezelen coordinator. In Canada, all provinces conform to standards regulating the safety of community recreation facilities. Because of the reduced overhead lighting in the aquatic environment, the Center keeps all overhead lights on until everyone enters and exits the pool. A dimmer switch allows the lights to brighten over five minutes time, signaling the end of a session.

Pool PR Aloft

In-flight magazine tempts travelers with exotic pools.

If you flew United Airlines to the AQUA Show in November, you may have seen a story on Miami's coolest swimming pools. Small photos and vivid descriptions of a dozen or so of the area's most intriguing pools — all of them on the grounds of swanky hotels or resorts — filled the pages of a story in United's in-flight magazine, Hemispheres.

The story shows that the Miami area traces its reputation for hip water holes to the early 20th century. Its historic pools include the 23,000-square-foot oasis at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, built in 1926. Performances by swimming movie stars Johnny Weissmuller and Esther Williams helped put this enormous pool on the map.

Miami's modern pool wonders include the Westin Diplomat's new two-level, vanishing-edge pool, which appears to empty into the Atlantic Ocean. Swimmers in the lower-level pool get a different point of view looking through the see-through floor of the upper pool. Other far-out features chronicled in the Hemispheres article include the Four Seasons' palm-forest pool, where waiters will wade in to serve guests sunning themselves in the water, and the Fontainebleau's new kids' pool with its lazy river and an enormous water-spouting concrete octopus.

Images of sun, water and exotic aquatic design leave the reader contemplating a field trip to Miami to find out more.

New & Improved

Completely revised CPO Handbook worth the wait.

If you judge a book by its cover, then you'll figure the glossy, full-color cover of the 2005 edition of the Certified Pool-Spa Operator Handbook is a clear sign of the improvements to be found within. And you'll have gotten the right impression.

Whereas the old manual was all black-and-white with no photos, the new edition, published by the National Swimming Pool Foundation, features color photos or diagrams on most every page. Many pictures are instructive, showing what safety signage should say or how chemicals should or should not be stored, and the color diagrams are easier to read and understand.

Almost 100 pages longer than the previous handbook, the new edition has been entirely rewritten to include the most up-to-date information on everything from heaters and chemical feeders to facility safety and management. Of course, the handbook still has all the essential and useful information that the old edition had, including chapters on water chemistry, filtration, rules and regulations, maintaining commercial pools, dealing with pool contamination and more.

However, the new edition covers almost every topic in greater depth. Of note is the chapter on troubleshooting, which includes tips on what to do if the motor fails to start, if the pump fails to prime, if the heater won't ignite and suggestions for a host of other pool ailments. In addition, there's an appendix with a variety of forms and checklists for facility managers, including a comprehensive 148-item "Pool/Spa Inspection Checklist"; an appendix with water chemistry guidelines and equations; and a glossary with explanations of pool/spa terminology from algaestat to zeolite.

The improved aesthetics and content make the 2005 edition of the CPO Handbook an excellent resource whether you're a CPO or not.

—K.E.

Certified Pool-Spa Operator Handbook By Ronald L. Ford National Swimming Pool Foundation ISBN 0-97539480-0

Eggtoberfest

Creating customer loyalty and lots of good eats.

A good party with good food is sure to be a hit. So it's really no surprise that the annual Eggtoberfest, which started in 1998 as a relatively small gathering of Big Green Egg aficionados, has grown into an event that last October drew 700 attendees from 27 states plus Canada and Mexico. Held each year in Atlanta, where Big Green Egg is based, the event was started so that "Eggheads who absolutely love their Eggs can get together and exchange ideas and methods of cooking," says Ed Fisher, president and founder of Big Green Egg.

And the weekend of food and fun has gotten bigger and better each year. In 2004 more than 100 Eggheads cooked a variety of dishes on the grounds of the 57th Fighter Group, a restaurant in Atlanta modeled after a WWII non-commissioned officer's club. Attendees cooked traditional favorites like pulled pork, ribs and chicken wings on the ceramic barbecue grills and smokers, but many less-common dishes were also served. Two especially intriguing offerings were smoked turkey necks, which were gobbled up before they could be put on a platter, and turducken — a stuffed chicken placed inside a boneless duck, which in turn goes into a boneless turkey.

Big Green Egg provided 97 Eggs for the enthusiasts to use, and when the party was over, these Eggs were loaded into the vans and trucks of Egg fans who'd bought them in advance at a special discount. And though sales are not the primary goal of this event, Fisher admits the goodwill that emanates from this event is very powerful and positive advertising. "When you have one happy customer with a Big Green Egg, he may tell a couple of others who then buy them and tell a couple of others more," says Fisher. "That type of word-of-mouth advertising is invaluable."

Just by attending, the Eggheads demonstrate their loyalty, as well, since they pay for their travel, their hotels and the food they cook.

For more information about next year's Eggtoberfest, go to biggreenegg.com.

Buyer's Guide
Find manufacturers and suppliers in the most extensive searchable database in the industry.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
Content Library
Dig through our best stories from the magazine, all sorted by category for easy surfing.
Read More
Content Library