This week at the pool...
8/27 - 9/3/2018
Let the Good Times Roll!
With our summer at the pool coming to an end, now is a good time to contemplate what brought us to KMSC in the first place -- and what makes so many of us come back year after year.
For some of our longtime members, the answers are family and friends, respectively.
"My kids made lifelong friends at the pool," said Ellen Shuster, who with her late husband Albert joined KMSC in about 1962.
Dan Schultz said he and his late wife Jean were drawn to the pool 50 years ago as a way to make friends for themselves. "It turned out to be a great way to meet other families," he said, "especially through the [swim] team."
"We made a lot of friends through the pool; we also introduced a lot of our friends to the pool," agreed Margie Epstein, who with her late husband Sy became a member in 1977.
The Bergers knew the pool could be the focal point of their summers when they joined in 1973. "Fran grew up at [the] Wheaton Woods [pool]," Harvey Berger said of his wife. "She understood the community pool experience."
"Our friends have changed, but the pool still is the center of our summer," said Len Wagman, who joined the pool with his wife Myrna in 1965.
The pool has changed a lot over the years.
Built by the Kay Co. as part of its housing development along the county's watershed, the pool opened in 1960 as a whites-only membership club. "We fought to get rid of that," Len said.
Amenities included a volleyball court and a horseshoe pit, with basketball added by the '80s, according to everyone's best recollections. The ping pong tables appeared by the ‘00s.
Notice the deck in the foreground is narrow in the early photo above. Back then, families would set up playpens for their babies in this grassy area, Fran, Ellen, and Margie said.
Families picnicked on the grass, too, before the picnic tables and cabanas arrived and the vending machines were replaced by the Snack Bar by the '80s.
The club widened this portion of the deck sometime in the '70s, they said.
Notice, too, that there are two low diving boards and only five lap lanes. One of those diving boards was replaced with a high dive for about a decade before insurance costs prompted the board to remove it sometime before the late-'90s, leaving us with only one board.
The lanes were reconfigured sometime in the '70s to better accommodate swim meets. By the early '00s, the pool's large size and deep lap lanes had made it a popular choice in the Montgomery County Swim League for large multi-team meets.
The slide and the old playground with its metal monkey bars were not replaced until the 21st century.
KMSC has a 99-year lease for the property.
A very young Michelle Berger prepares to race.
The swim team in 1982 when we still had a high diving board.
Paper 'Roos cheer on our swimmers at the 2005 Division championships.
Back in the early decades, there were wine and cheese parties when the pool opened for the summer, yard sales to raise money for improvements like the electric water fountain, Margie said, and a big midsummer party when the lifeguards grilled steaks while adult KMSC members danced to a live band.
"Once my wife and I danced right into the pool," Dan said, laughing.
There were games, too. Dan remembers water balloon fights with the lifeguards and a video some members made to "Singing in the Rain" while buckets of water were dumped on them. "You should ask Harvey [Berger] about that," he chuckled.
Volleyball games every Sunday, ping-pong championships, daily pick-up games under the basketball hoops, diving for pennies – even skinny dipping was mentioned by these members.
“It’s a wonderful facility,” Ellen said.
There was no swim team at first, although the Montgomery County Swim League was established in 1959. And once the team got started, it had no mascot. That came later, former team members told me in the Kemp Mill/Wheaton Facebook group. Nancy Stolinitz Hoetker, who lives in Arizona, sent us her team patch from the mid-70s (top right).
“I was on the team before it was the Kangaroos,” former member Lisa Clesner wrote. “The year we decided on the name Kemp Mill Kangaroos, my family found a big (truly big) stuffed kangaroo which [became] our mascot.”
The team has never been higher in the rankings than the Division I, J, or K, or roughly the middle of 90 teams countywide, from what I could learn of its history. But by the late ‘90s, it was winning Relay Carnivals and Division championships, and sending swimmers to the All Stars from its mighty force of about 120 swimmers (see ‘Roo News above).
We never paid a nickel for camp,” Fran said; the pool – and especially the team – kept her children busy every summer.
Fran described her daughter, Michelle, as something of a water rat. She was about seven when she joined the team.
“She saw the kids using kickboards and wanted one for herself,” Harvey said. “The pool manager said you had to be on the team to use one, so she asked to join the team!”
Michelle’s younger brother, Howie, was not interested until one day the coach couldn’t fill all the team's the lanes at a meet. “It was a B meet at [the] Strathmore [pool],” Harvey remembered. “Bruce [Tobias], the coach, came over [to us] and asked Howie to swim an event.”
Howie didn’t win, but he was hooked.
Both he and his sister eventually became ‘Roo coaches once they aged off the team, an experience shared by many other former team members in the Kemp Mill/Wheaton Facebook group.
"My years swimming in Kemp Mill were the best," Lisa wrote. "I have very fond memories of those years."
Howie Berger ready for liftoff (top). Fran Berger working a meet (2nd standing adult from right in bottom photo).
The long-gone Montgomery Journal used to run key results from every week's MCSL swim meets.
The 1996 team when Howie Berger was a coach.
The sense of community that emerged from the fun also came with a sense of obligation, these long-term members agreed.
Len said he used to go door-to-door as membership director, inviting residents to join the pool. Both Ellen and Margie remembered receiving such visits. He also has been the pool's president -- twice.
In fact, Len has been a board member in some capacity for nearly 50 years, most recently as chairman of its nominations committee.
Margie also was on the board for years as socials director, organizing events like the yard sales, opening day cookouts, and the ice cream promotions on Father’s Days.
And Harvey served on the board for nearly 15 years, including ten as treasurer. He still audits the pool’s books annually. At the same time, he was a referee for the team while Fran worked other deck positions.
Five of Dan's six children also were on the team and he brings his grandkids to the pool now. "This pool has a strong community feeling," Dan said. "I enjoy it too much to give it up."
"The friends have changed, but the pool is still the center of my summers," Len said.
- Mary Crowley-Farrell
Member, 26 years
The team honors high point winners on a plaque in the front office.
Fran and Harvey Berger's 15-year swim team service plaque.
One of the team's many stuffed mascots from over the years.
Dear fellow pool members,
The end of summer is drawing near! The 2018 pool season will officially end at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 3rd. Our college students will already have settled into their dorm rooms, and Montgomery County Public School students will begin classes the next day.
This summer certainly has had its challenges as well as joys.
A severe storm in early March left behind several downed trees that damaged part of our fence and two of our cabanas. A break in a water line by our driveway caused additional damage. Addressing this damage was an expense for which we had not planned. We will continue to have financial challenges in 2019, given the increase to the Montgomery County minimum wage and expenditures needed to keep our facility attractive and functioning.
Additional storms in the weeks before opening overwhelmed our pool management company, as it had not only our Club to clean up but all of the other pools it served. The board will more closely monitor preparations in the weeks ahead of opening in 2019 to make sure we are fully prepared to receive members and guests on opening day.
We are fortunate to have among our members the Shelton family (see photo above right), who helped to clear the trees off the pool deck and took care of some much needed painting. Tim's company, Dynamic Strukturs, also did a fabulous job repairing our damaged fence. The Sheltons’ commitment to our pool has made a huge difference in our facility’s appearance.
We also were fortunate to be able to find donated replacement refrigerators for our snack bar and Kangaroo Kafe. Thank you to Chris Farrell and Jonathan Bryson for helping to schlep the fridges from the donors’ homes and to get them onto the deck. The snack bar and Kangaroo Kafe are an important source of income for the club and for the swim team; having good refrigerators to keep perishable items at safe temperatures are a necessity and not a luxury.
Our swim team may have not risen in the ranks of MCSL, but our ‘Roos had fun and developed their skills as swimmers. Thank you to Alyssa Parness for serving as our Swim Team rep, a role that requires a very high level of commitment.
As president I have been fortunate to have an active and supportive board: Jonathan Bryson, treasurer; Bob Carnevale, director of operations; Mary Crowley Farrell, communications director; Dawn Felsen, former president; Leslie Manzon, concessions manager; Alyssa Parness, swim team; Sherri Spritzer, socials director; Leonard Wagman as nominating committee chair and Oracle of Wisdom; Bill Waller, who served as director of operations for many years; and Amie Wohlfarth, director of membership. All of these folks balanced their club responsibilities with work and family commitments, and I can’t thank them enough.
We look forward to welcoming at our August 30th meeting Barbara Cleary and Shana Siesser, who have agreed to serve out the 2018-2020 terms for two board members who needed to step down for personal reasons.
Thanks to all of our full and trial members for being a part of our club. I look forward to seeing you all in 2019!
- Cynthia D. Brandt Campagna
President, Kemp Mill Swim Club 2017-2019
Become a Pool Board Member
It’s time once again for all of us to consider how we can contribute our time, talent, and energy to the pool as board members.
The next elections will be March 2019 at the annual general membership meeting. The ballot will be assembled by Thanksgiving. Why don't you put your name on it?
All officers serve for one-year terms while directors-at-large serve two-year terms:
- Director of Plant Maintenance and Operations
- Director of Personnel
- Director of Communications
- Director of Membership
- Director of the Swim Team
- Secretary –Treasurer
(For descriptions of the positions, check out this page on our pool's website.)
Contact Len Wagman at email@example.com or 301-649-3605 today for details on how you can help steer our pool's future.
You also can get a sense of what the board does for all of us by attending its regular monthly poolside meeting this Thursday (8/30) at 7:30 p.m.
Make a difference in your pool community.
Last Pizza Night Coming Up
We're also holding our last Yard Games this afternoon at 3 p.m. Raft Night follows at 5, making this a great night to have dinner poolside!
The pizza comes from Ben Yehuda. Cost: $3 slice, $5 for two slices, $20 for an entire pie, cash or credit (a transaction fee will apply for the latter).
Soft drinks can be purchased from the Snack Bar.
Water Fitness Classes End
The weekly event was made possible by new member Miriam Lasar, of Kemp Mill Women's Fitness , who offers fitness classes year-round
A changing array of about 30 people attended the classes each week, including one of our lifeguards for a few minutes (see photo at left).
The attendees we interviewed all agreed: the classes were terrific and they'd like them again next summer!
What's Left of Our Summer...
Here's what's left of our summer at the pool:
Thursday, August 30th - Next pool board meeting, 7:30 p.m., poolside. We'll be talking about what worked and what didn't this summer, how we used your dues dollars to spiff up the place, and more. Please join us -- we need to hear from our members!
Sunday, September 2nd – Last Raft Night of the season - 5:00 p.m. to closing.
Monday, September 3rd - Labor Day. Pool closes for the season – at 6:00 p.m. Come celebrate the end of summer and help stack the deck chairs at the end of the day. We could use some help re-strapping chairs, too.
Here are our hours through September 2nd:
- Mon.-Thurs., 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Friday 12, noon to 9:00 p.m.
- Sat./Sun., 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
On Monday, Labor Day, September 3rd, we'll be open from 11:00 a.m. until 6 p.m.
To stay on top of KMSC news in the coming months:
Make sure @firstname.lastname@example.org has your email address for the weekly emails!
And join the Kemp Mill Pool group on Facebook.
We also post on Pinterest, Google+, S'more, Instagram, Next Door, and as @KempMillPool on Twitter.
Or just check for our messages in the Twitter feed on the Kemp Mill Swim Club website.
Editor: Mary Crowley-Farrell