Wednesday night at the Menlo Park Parks and Recreation Commission meeting kids and families showed up in support of the SOLO Aquatics swim program. SOLO is a youth swim program which has been fielding competitive swim teams and organizing swim meets in the Menlo Park Community for well over a decade. Thirty kids ranging in age from 5 to 17 waited two hours for an opportunity to speak to the Commission about their experience with SOLO Aquatics and their concerns about the program losing lane space at Burgess Pool. Kids came directly from practice with wet hair and patiently colored and did homework on the floor while other Commission topics were discussed. At one point a parent called for a pizza to be delivered so the kids could have dinner while waiting.
When it finally was the kids' turn to speak they spoke passionately about how much they love swimming with Coach Tom McRae and the other coaching staff Sean Horan and Robert Peck. They spoke about the difference SOLO has made in their lives and that with SOLO they feel that they are part of a community.
Parents spoke before the Commission to explain that they choose SOLO not only because Coach Tom and his staff are highly skilled at teaching stroke technique, but almost more importantly because SOLO coaches understand kids and know how to motivate them. Erin Glanville, a parent representing the non-board portion of the SOLO community, presented members of the Parks and Recreation Commission with a letter from over 40 SOLO parents that outlined the issues SOLO families have experienced over the past few years and offered several potential solutions, including the establishment of a Aquatic Center User Group Advisory Board. Another parent of two SOLO athletes appealed for the Commission to use the same criteria in awarding pool time at the Burgess Facility as it uses to award athletic field rights in Menlo Park to other profit and non-profit athletic organizations. The bottom line for SOLO families is that they would like to develop a collaborative relationship with the pool operator that promotes community spirit.