It isn’t much of a secret the Wendell Swim Club is searching for new members.
The club posted signs soliciting new affiliates at several locations in town prior to the start of the summer swim season. Wendell’s elected officials even eased up on signage rules for the town’s only swim club to help in its efforts to reach more people.
“We always need the members to consistently keep our doors open,” said club representative Julie Riddle. “We’re always having people move from our community, there’s always people aging out, so we’ve always got the perpetual turnover.”
Little has changed since 2011, when 42 of the private club’s 250 maximum shareholder spaces were vacant. Nancy Grissinger-Parmer, the club’s administrative assistant, reported that there were 232 members as of last week, but said that figure might be closer to 210 factoring in unpaid dues and stock that the pool owns.
The club’s youth swim team, the Wendell Waves, had 76 swimmers last year. There were 61 swimmers on the roster as the team entered its first meet of the summer season on June 17.
Riddle said modern school schedules are another factor affecting membership at the pool at the end of the gravel driveway off Selma Road.
“When I think of the traditional summer, I think of mom at home with kids and it being a long summer break,” she said. “With year-round schools, they have a shortened summer, so it’s not the ‘get out in May and go back to school in September’ paradigm anymore.
“I think the location is not highly visible, but at the same time, when you go to our club, we are a little slice of heaven just on the outskirts of town.”
Club leaders say reaching full capacity would ensure the pool’s financial stability for years to come. The operation includes administrative costs and paying for lifeguards, managers, utilities, water control and social events.
“We would love to have people come be a part of the pool and community, the camaraderie, the exercise, the swim team if they have age-appropriate children, learning to be water safe,” Riddle said. “There are so many positives of being a part of the pool.
“It’s relaxing, it’s calming. You don’t hear the hustle and the bustle.”
There’s also an incentive to helping the pool meet its goal.
The fee to join is $425. But Grissinger-Parmer said once the membership is full, that price would likely increase to something in the range of $800 to $1,000.
“(The current cost to join) is amazing,” Grissinger-Parmer said. “We have a state of the art salt system in place. It is more sanitary that an exclusively chlorine-based pool and the water doesn’t taste salty. Our swim team is a good selling point as well.”
The club has an air-conditioned clubhouse, concessions, a diving board and slide, a playground, and basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.
“It’s a great family environment,” Riddle said. “We’re on a quest to fill our membership to capacity. With any social thing, the more people you have, the more fun it is.”