With opening day right around the corner, Royse Memorial Pool in Oakdale has made some changes to the facility. Along with revamping the pool house and changing up their concessions menu, pool program officials have decided to add an extra hour for certain patrons.
Sensory Swim Saturday is not a new concept for pools, but it’s something fresh for Oakdale. After hearing about the concept at an Aquatics Roundtable – a place where local aquatic management from around the county would meet and talk about pool safety, staff, and regulations – the Parks and Recreation department decided to add it on to their summer program.
“We thought it would be good to pilot this program and see how well it is received,” Jane Finkenbine, Recreation Services Coordinator for the City of Oakdale, relayed.
Just by posting a poll on Facebook, the City of Oakdale got an immediate positive response. With over 100 ‘likes’ to the post and over 60 comments, the overwhelming support for the special hours was evident.
Thanks to the community’s excitement, the Plunge will open its doors a little early to children with special needs and their parents. The goal is to provide an hour of quiet, unobtrusive time for easing kids into the water, offered biweekly.
“Parents and their children with special needs will be able to come in an hour early, 11 a.m. until noon, every second and fourth Saturday of both June and July,” Finkenbine explained. “And if it’s doing well we’ll extend it into August as well.”
During this time, lifeguards will only use their whistles in emergency situations. Rather than blowing their whistle to get someone’s attention, they’ll be encouraged to handle the situation more directly and sensitively.
Management also plans on training the lifeguards by bringing in a local educator who works with special needs programs. This way, guards will be more proactive in giving lessons and guarding for patrons across the spectrum.
“We wanted to give an opportunity for kids with special needs especially those with sensory issues to enjoy the pool ... it’s just a next level of customer service for us to reach those community members,” Finkenbine added.
This is just another step that Royse Memorial Pool is taking towards ensuring safety and fun for all local swimmers.
Opening day for the pool is on Saturday, June 1 with free admission, fun games, and water safety demonstrations. The pool will remain open seven days a week through June and July, then on weekends through August. More information on regular hours and swim lessons can be found on the city’s website or at https://hostedpr.tylertech.com/ParksRec_OakdaleCA_Live/Ho