AmiSight 5/24: What’s it Like to Manage an Association of Swim Schools Through the Pandemic?
This week on AmiSights, the podcast, we have Lisa Zarda! Lisa is the executive director of the United States Swim School Association. Today, we'll discuss what challenges faced the over 500 swim schools in the association who turned to Lisa for help during the pandemic and how they survived.
When the pandemic first hit, all swim schools had to close their doors. It’s fair to say that swimming lessons are a "high touch" activity that can't be completed on Zoom, so how could they find a way to reopen? In addition to holding weekly webinars and "sharing solutions" meetings, Lisa helped organize mental health check-ins for all her members. As we all know, owning a business is a very lonely profession, and sharing the pain of laying off workers and the stress of being closed helped. All owners would share what was working for them and what wasn't to help others not make the same mistakes. Finally, if there were a common topic that many of Lisa's members had questions about, she would bring in an expert on the subject to speak to everyone. Finally, once businesses started to reopen, Lisa launched an action plan for reopening that included best practices/policies for the schools to draw on.
What impressed Lisa most was watching some of her members' lobby with legislatures to get swim schools deemed essential. In the beginning, the swim schools were classified as pools or gyms and, therefore, not essential. However, the owners convinced legislatures in some states that swim schools should be classified differently and deemed essential since drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths among children. Those that were successful were able to reopen their doors.
Listen to the Full Episode Here: https://bit.ly/3MBdXkc