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Grant project: Kiwanis Swimming Pool in St. Johnsbury, Vermont

Jul 25, 2014
Kids enjoy the Kiwanis Pool in St. Johnsbury, Vermont

For 70 years, the Kiwanis Swimming Pool in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, has been a source of summer fun for residents of St. Johnsbury and many surrounding towns. When a shortage in annual fundraising efforts threatened to shorten the pool’s 2013 summer season and reduce its operations, the Kiwanis Club of St. Johnsbury partnered with the Kiwanis International Foundation for a grant to help fill the financial gap and keep the pool open.

The club’s fundraising efforts cover the pool’s operating expenses each year, allowing them to offer free swim lessons to more than 700 children and open swim hours for families with no admission fees. Children ranging from infants to 15-year-olds learn to swim and develop water safety skills under the instruction of Red Cross-certified instructors, many of whom learned to swim at the Kiwanis Pool themselves as children. They’re part of a history that began in 1944, when the Kiwanis Club of St. Johnsbury opened the Kiwanis Swimming Pool in response to local drowning deaths that brought to light a critical need for water safety and swimming instruction for children in the community.

The pool is open for families to enjoy together in the evenings, and it also hosts the Kiwanis Swim Team, which practices at the pool and competes in local swim meets. Over the course of a summer season, the Kiwanis Swimming Pool in St. Johnsbury welcomes around 6,000 visitors.

Each year, the Kiwanis Club of St. Johnsbury conducts a variety of fundraisers to cover the cost of pool maintenance and operations. In 2013 their efforts fell short of their goal, and they faced the prospect of closing the pool two weeks early and cutting back on free swim lessons. Thanks to a grant from the Kiwanis International Foundation, however, the club was able to fund the full operations of the pool—the maximum number of free swim lessons, open swim afternoons, and family swim evenings—for the entire summer.

“The announcement of your grant award revitalized our membership and pointed out the need for their continued involvement in all of the club activities,” reports club treasurer Fred Saar. “The Kiwanis International Foundation truly made a difference for the St. Johnsbury Kiwanis Club and for the residents of the eighteen local towns who use the pool.” As the Kiwanis Swimming Pool marks its 70th anniversary this summer, the club looks forward to serving and educating the children of their community through pool operations and free swim lessons for many years to come.

With the Kiwanis International Foundation, your generosity extends your Kiwanis impact. Please consider making a gift today to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, and learn how you can apply for a grant from the Kiwanis International Foundation.