The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 PHTA Scholarship. The PHTA Scholarship Program was founded to honor public swimming pool or spa operators who have pursued further education to better protect public health.
This year’s recipients are Kate Perry and Kaitlyn Hamacher.
To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be a PHTA certified pool professional or an immediate family member of one, and must submit an application package for the PHTA Board to review. This year’s essay prompt was: If you had $100,000 to develop a water safety program in your community, what program would you develop and how would the program give children the ability to feel confident, inspired and empowered in and around the water?
Kate Perry, who attends Georgia Southern University, received the $2,000 Board Scholarship. Perry is a PHTA Certified Pool & Spa Operator (CPO) and has earned several certifications from the American Red Cross for lifeguarding and first aid. She has already held many jobs in the aquatics industry, including swim instructor, lifeguard, service technician and aquatics manager. Perry’s essay focused on generational barriers resulting in fear of the water and developing a learn-to-swim program for both children and their primary guardian. She highlighted the importance of ensuring the swim instructors are properly trained and certified in water safety.
Kaitlyn Hamacher, who attends Western Michigan University, received the $1,000 Foundation Scholarship. Hamacher is the daughter of a PHTA CPO Instructor. She has already earned an Associate’s Degree in studio art and is now double-majoring in studio art and psychology. Her essay explained how layers of protection, including pool covers and swim safety education, can decrease the drowning rate. Her suggested program would help residential pool owners equip their pools with safety covers, as well as provide additional learn-to-swim programs through initiatives such as PHTA’s Step Into Swim.
“I was very impressed by the thought and consideration that went into the two winning essays this year,” says Olympic Gold Medalist Rowdy Gaines, vice president of Partnerships & Development at PHTA and head of the Step Into Swim drowning prevention initiative. “Perry and Hamacher both understand that drowning prevention is a community-wide effort that has tangible results. Drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages one to four, but with water safety programs like the ones described in this year’s essays, we can have a positive, life-saving impact.”
Formal recognition of this year’s recipients will occur at the World Aquatic Health Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., during the CPO 50th Anniversary Luncheon on November 13. To learn more about the PHTA Scholarship Program, visit https://www.phta.org/education-and-events/grants-and-scholarships/scholarships/.
For more information, please contact Amy Willer, PHTA Associate Director of Marketing & Communications, at [email protected] or (703) 838-0083 ext. 121.