Uniting The World Around Water Safety

Episode 4 May 25, 2023 00:49:52
Uniting The World Around Water Safety
The Water Safety Podcast
Uniting The World Around Water Safety

May 25 2023 | 00:49:52


Show Notes

Beth Root, Director of The Worlds Largest Swimming Lesson™, opens up about a painful experience as a lifeguard and the moment she created The WLSL™, and the difficulty of navigating awareness in the digital age.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 N D P A presents the Water Safety Champion Podcast. Speaker 2 00:00:10 All right, everyone, welcome back to episode four of the Water Safety Champion podcast. It's Adam Kemarie, the executive director of N D P A, and I am so fortunate again to be joined by my fabulous guest co-host, Alyssa Maru. How you doing today? Okay, Speaker 3 00:00:28 I'm great. Speaker 2 00:00:30 I love it. Did you, did you get a swim today? Speaker 3 00:00:33 I got a bike ride in today. I did not get a swimming today, but tomorrow What's Speaker 2 00:00:37 The weather like down there in, uh, in central Texas? Cause I mean, it's, it is Speaker 3 00:00:41 75 and sunny right now, which is very nice. Speaker 2 00:00:45 Oh, I thought it'd be a little warmer. We're getting into the seventies and eighties this week in Pennsylvania, so I figured you might be a little bit warmer Speaker 3 00:00:50 By the end of the day. We might. Well, I don't know. I haven't been in the outside world for the last few hours, so it might be warmer at this point. Well, Speaker 2 00:00:56 Here's, here's a question cause I know you're a lake swimmer too. Has the water warmed up yet? Because, Speaker 3 00:01:02 So we were having this conversation, we swam in Barton Springs on Sunday, which is 68 degrees all year round. Um, which is a little bit cold for me, but, you know, whatever. We swim there all year round and the lake is, I have been saying to my friends we were, I'm ready to get in. We are gonna get in last week. And it rained every day. So I believe that it's about ready. We just don't have a lot of water in the place where we usually swim, cuz we're in the middle of a drought other than last week. And so we have to move down the lake to get in, uh, to get into swim. But we're gonna try this weekend, I think. So I'll let you know. Speaker 2 00:01:34 That may be because California's finally getting rain and ca Texas can't have rain when California has apparently. So I don't Speaker 3 00:01:40 Know, but I plan to test it out, so I'll let you know. I hope so. Cause I'm, I, I am much happier in the open water than with the black line in the pool, to be honest. Yeah, totally. Speaker 2 00:01:49 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, well, let's get to our guest today. And I, um, I think this guest is the epitome of a water safety champion. Um, we are joined today by Beth Root of World's largest swimming lesson. Hi Beth, how are you? Speaker 4 00:02:04 I am very good, thank you. That's quite a cha, quite a compliment. Hello, Alyssa. I am so glad to talk with both of you guys. Two of my favorite water safety champions to speak with. Speaker 2 00:02:15 Oh, I feel the same way. And no, I say that because I mean, you have been championing water safety for, for a really long time, and I know, you know, especially with world's largest swimming lesson and a number of the, uh, endeavors that you're passionate about. Um, and you bring such a, you know, a really great way of looking at, uh, amplifying our messaging and water safety and drowning prevention out to the masses. So I was really excited to, uh, get you on the podcast. And you know, Beth, we, we start out these discussions, um, uh, wanting to know, you know, your background as a water safety champion, but we start out by asking what is your water story? Because oftentimes what brings people into water safety is a much broader water story that, um, you know, has come through their life. So I'm, uh, you know, really wanna start back and, you know, figure out where did Beth Ruts start in, um, in aquatics or with Speaker 4 00:03:06 Water? Aquatics? With water. Um, so I think I had the benefit of having, um, uh, I had the benefit of having a mom who was very pro, uh, swim pro water safety. Um, she had us, you know, in the water at very early ages and used to bounce around the pool with my sisters on her hips singing the Abi Yoyo Pete Seager song, whatever. I mean, she just really, um, got us connected to the water early on. Um, and then we, we were always in swim classes and, you know, participating in camps and all that kind of stuff. And then when I was in seventh grade, actually, we moved from, uh, Cleveland Heights, Ohio to Ashland, Kentucky. My dad was a, um, petrochemical engineer and he went to work for Ashland Doyle for a short period of time. So I was in seventh grade. We moved to this small non-urban place when I was used to living in an urban place with lots of neighbors. Speaker 4 00:04:07 And, you know, we just kind of ran around the town everywhere and had plenty to do to, um, a short stub Street that had like six houses. The closest thing you could bike to was a hospital. So the big deal was like, oh, let's go to the, um, use the vending machines at the, in the hospital. I don't know, there just was not much around her much happening. Right. So, um, she got me into some club swimming, and that's where I started competitive swimming. So I swam with the Ashland Aqua Bears, I think was the name. Speaker 3 00:04:39 The Aqua Bears. That's Aqua Speaker 4 00:04:40 Bears, yes. That'ss Speaker 3 00:04:42 A good mascot. I would like to know what an aqua bear, what that mascot looked like, you know, Speaker 2 00:04:46 So there, there are those AI softwares now where you could like tell it like what you're working for. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and Aqua Bear is now going on my list. I I need to Oh, Speaker 3 00:04:54 Please. And I would love to know what comes up, Adam, I'm sorry, but it might not be appropriate for this conversation, but I would like to know what comes up when you start, start. Speaker 2 00:05:02 I know, I know you also write down, write down like, you know, really inspiring things from the podcast. I write down what I can put into an AI software, ai, it's Bear, it's on my left. Speaker 4 00:05:13 <laugh>. I am so fascinated with ai. We should have a separate podcast discussion all about ai, cuz Yeah, I think it's amazing. But I think I'm pretty sure that the mascot looked like Yogi Bear with a snorkel. I, I think it was probably, you know, hey, somebody, he, we'll find Speaker 3 00:05:28 Out and let's, we'll remind you. Speaker 4 00:05:29 Yeah. Ripped off somebody's trademark, whatever. I don't know. But, so that was my first, uh, venture into the pool and it was a really good fit at the time, you know, it, it filled a need and got me pretty far up about it. Um, and then when we moved back to Ohio, I continued along that vein for a while though, um, and naturally then went into, you know, got my W s I and became a light. My mom was all about, well, look, if you have a Lifeguard Cert certification, then you'll always be able to have a job. So, um, this is true. Yeah. So this seems like this is very true. Really, really good idea, honey. Why don't you go, go get that done. So, um, got that done and started working as a lifeguard. And um, then, you know, climb was really involved with the Red Cross. I was very proud. I used to wear my Red Cross gear all the time. My husband makes fun of me because, um, the first time we met actually at a waterpark. I had my, um, American Red Cross, like w s I zip up white hooded sweatshirt and a clipboard. You know, I was like all about, well, it's love Speaker 3 00:06:31 It. Yeah. It's really quite fitting that you met at a Speaker 4 00:06:34 Right. Yeah. It's crazy <laugh>. Yeah, definitely crazy. Um, but so, you know, I think back when I first started lifeguarding, um, I was probably in all kinds of situations that one shouldn't necessarily be in. Like I would be the only teenager at a, um, homeowner's association lake. Right? Like, and sitting on a bench, like with probably no safety equipment. No. Yeah. I mean, just, you know, no life jackets, none of the things, no cell phone, no way to just, you know, to sit there and watch the lakefront for the neighborhood kids. Um, so, uh, eventually I was actually in a lake environment. It was not a homeowner situation. It was a, a different lake environment. And, um, and I had not shared this story with anybody of that, any of my N D P A people. So here you go, breaking news. Um, but I was guarding a lake and it was dusk and there were two teenage boys, I wanna say 14, 15, that swam out past, you know, tr and Old Lakes used to have, right? Speaker 4 00:07:45 Like, there'd be a buoy line where you could, where it went out to where you could stand up and then once you got past the buoy line, you were into water where you could not stand any longer, right? So you were supposed to not go past the buoy line unless you were comfortable swimming and, um, there would be swim docks out there, right? Because you could go out to the dock if you could get there. So, um, again, in today's day and age is probably not a setup that we would ever have, right? So, um, you know, encourage kids cuz you want to go out and, and get on the dock and, you know, dive off and do all those kinds of things. So it's dusk. Two boys swim out, um, and I'm watching and, uh, when, and I could, you know, there's like the line of sight to all the areas around the dock is not necessarily great. Speaker 4 00:08:32 And, um, one of the guys goes missing. So I, um, you know, swim out and I found him again, I would say thanks to my, uh, at the time, American Red Cross training and skills. Um, I literally was able to retrieve the sky from the bottom of a lake by myself there nobody else, you know, nobody else was out at the time dealing with it. Um, brought him all the way to the shore and, um, did C P R did all the things until the squad and stuff got there and he didn't make it. Wow. Um, so it was, um, I mean, as you can imagine, it was a pretty impactful situation. Um, I was treated really well by the people that I was working for. I had to go through depositions and all those kinds of things. Um, and they were very respectful of me. Speaker 4 00:09:30 And, um, you know, it, it, it ju it just was a really unfortunate incident, right? It wasn't really, it wasn't, it wasn't my fault as a guard. It wasn't the fault of the facility based on the way that things were set up. It was what happens so often, which is, you know, those I didn't know. I didn't know that if I wasn't strong enough that I shouldn't be out there. And I think as a lifeguard, like another, um, at a waterpark at one point there was a group I was guarding a wave pool and there was a probably a middle school football team, maybe high school, but I think they were probably middle school guys. And the whole team came, you know, come it's after summer football camp, whatever, right? So they, uh, are like coming to the waterpark. They're super excited. They kind of trot around, um, the deck at the waterpark, or excuse me, at the wave pool. Speaker 4 00:10:24 And they come like the backside of my chair and I'm over the looking at the deep end, every single one, like one after the other, right? They're in line, they go into the pool, they go into the pool, they go into the pool. The last guy, um, really big, solid young black man, you know, looks super strong. Whatever follows everybody into the pool, jumps right in and obviously cannot swim at all. So, I mean, I just, so I had these and everything was mine, you know, we got him no big deal. But, um, I just was, I guess really touched by the fact that, um, things can happen and so many people don't know. And I appreciated all the training and I was interested in the industry. And so I've kind of continued that passion to this day, I guess. Speaker 2 00:11:07 Well, I, I wanna, you know, just highlight the fact of what you just kind of shared. I mean, and I think this is something that, you know, we don't talk about enough, you know, cuz you know, drownings are preventable, right? And we wanna prevent these mm-hmm. Incidents from ever happening. And we talk a lot about response. But, you know, and I I I bring this up more in a context more often around around C P R with aquatic staff that I talk to because, you know, you can have an adult, you know, fall into cardiac arrest for a number of reasons. You know, mainly being a heart attack, right? And, you know, when you really dive into statistics of like, out of hospital CPR care, it, it's not great survivability rates, even if you have someone that knows what they're doing, CPR training, things like that. And, you know, we, we obviously know these types of incidents happen, but, you know, there is a trauma side to this. And not just the family, but, but the rescuers involved too. Speaker 3 00:12:01 Yeah. I wanted to just say, first of all, Beth, thank you for sharing that. I mean, that is, I I I've known you for over a decade and, and you know, like you just said, you haven't shared that. And so I just wanna like, take the space to say, Hey, thank you for trusting the space and also acknowledging, I think what Adam is getting at is like the, the trauma and the impact on you as a person and whether it caused part of your trajectory into this field, but also just knowing that that is, um, gotta still be there somewhere. And anyway, I don't know. I'm just, I'm, I'm sending you a hug, I think in that Speaker 4 00:12:38 Moment. Well, I'll, I will, I will take the hug and I'm sure that, um, oh, we need emotional. Um, I mean, I'm sure the reason that I haven't really talked a lot about it is because it's why, you know, why do you want, why would you wanna talk a lot about that? But, um, but I, I think it certainly gives me a sense of empathy for the, for the people mm-hmm. <affirmative> within N D P A, the, the families and Families United that just, um, yeah. I mean, you just have a sense of empathy of what a horrible, horrible situation it is for the families, the, the, the rescuers, the staff, you know, whoever it is to, to deal with that. And, um, particularly when it's preventable, Speaker 3 00:13:23 I think it's, I think it's definitely a lost that the rescuer, um, or the first responder, the person on that side in, in my opinion, of, of working in this field for, you know, almost 15 years and working a lot with families and also working with lifeguards. And that is, that piece often gets left out of the equation of the impact. So it's the ripple of a drowning or an aquatic incident. You know, how many people we were trying in, in Texas, we were trying to come up with some sort of like formula for when there's a drowning, how many people are impacted by that incident. Like there's some sort of formula, I think, for suicide that they have like a, a, a, you know, formula to say for every suicide this many people are impacted or something like that. And we were trying to figure out if we could do that for drowning, because it is huge. Sure. Um, and, and I think a piece, this this side of it is a piece I think is, that is often not given attention to about the impact. I mean, I know anyway, not to get down that o off of what we're talking about and down that rabbit hole, but it's a, it's definitely something that you just touched clicking around really loudly right now. Speaker 4 00:14:37 Well, and I think it's also, um, something that as, as facilities try to recruit lifeguards and train lifeguards, um, there's all kinds of things that have impacted that trajectory, right? Like, people are not moving, people doing all different kinds. It's summer jobs. People are not necessarily getting into the funnel as we use so frequently now in terms of a term to come out the other end as a lifeguard or wanting to work in aquatics. There's just like a million different ways to go. Um, but I also do think that parents now feel a much greater sense of, um, not a sense of exactly, but that sense of responsibility now. It's Speaker 3 00:15:21 A huge responsibility. We talked about that you and Rick and I about Speaker 4 00:15:24 Yeah. About Speaker 3 00:15:25 Her own kids. Like, I was really happy when my daughter decided she didn't, that wasn't a pathway in the summer job that she wanted her a job was lifeguard. I felt a relief around that while at the same time, like wanting there to not be a lifeguard shortage. Like, when I looked at it for mine, I was like, oh, I'm actually glad that she doesn't have the potential. And it's, it's, it's such a, it's such a tough thing, but it's real. Speaker 4 00:15:50 Yeah. It's, I mean it is real and it's, and it's, it's, um, probably even more real in terms of the responsibility or the liability mm-hmm. <affirmative> those issues with regard to operators and families and so on. Then it was when, when I was, you know, working in that area, even though, you know, I dealt with the legal side of it and all that sort of thing, which is the natural thing to have happen, right? Like, if any time a life is is lost, somebody wants to know what happened, what can we do better? What, what, if any good can come out of this situation or, I mean, there's a million reasons, but, um, yeah, I think it's a much bigger, um, issue impacting lifeguarding in that area of work these days than it once was. Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:16:40 <affirmative>. Yeah. Yeah. Well, Beth, I want to turn to, um, you know, uh, well, I, I'd love to jump, this is gonna be a little weird transition going from what we were just talking about, but, um, you know, I, I want to, you know, I want you to talk a little bit about how you and Reba, I mean, you know, it, I don't know that our whole audience is, is familiar with the fact that your, your, uh, husband is also the, uh, uh, c e o at World Waterpark Association. And, um, I know there has to be a story there. You've already mentioned the fact that you met at a waterpark, so, uh, Speaker 4 00:17:13 We did. Speaker 2 00:17:14 Yeah. Speaker 4 00:17:15 Um, so yeah, we, we met at a waterpark, um, and he, the, the guy that we both worked for, I don't know if you know who Wally James is, do you know, Speaker 2 00:17:26 I've heard I've heard his name before. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:17:28 He passed away just, um, fairly recently, but, um, he was very foundational in, um, training and sa basically the development of the industry. So, um, he, I worked for Wally initially at a ski area, and the ski area had a waterpark named Dover Lake Park. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, um, they built concrete water slides for tubes into the side of a hill cuz they had a hill, right. So they were trying to figure out, you know, they'd do company picnics and stuff like that. They had a pavilion. Um, and then eventually they started building fiberglass slides and putting a wave pool and all those kinds of things. So, um, I worked there and, um, he and w he brought in, um, Rick to, and he didn't, I didn't know he was coming in, I was coming back, I'd been working in like supervisory kind of capacity, whatever. Speaker 4 00:18:25 He, and he brought Rick in and he said, um, that he, that we were gonna share this job. And, um, what did he say? I can't remember back in the day, but something about, I don't know, there'll be no pissing contests or something. I don't know. He was <laugh>. Yeah. It was like really old school, right? Like, okay, I'm just decided this, you guys are doing this. And he brought 'em in and um, uh, Rick's an electrical engineer by way of education. So he had, you know, he brought a lot of things to the table that I, um, did not. So we were a pretty good combination, I think, in terms of, of what we could offer. Um, and he was one of, we joke about this all the time. He would be, he would die if he knows talking about this on a, on a podcast. Well, he Speaker 3 00:19:08 Is gonna serious soon hear it. So Speaker 4 00:19:11 <laugh> <laugh>. So, um, anyway, he was very well, he was very well certified. So, um, yeah, so we got along and we, um, we were friends for a long time and then, um, eventually a while later we, we started hanging out and that was it. Oh, Speaker 3 00:19:33 That's, and how many years ago was that? Speaker 4 00:19:35 Um, a long time ago. Yeah. <laugh>, we were, we were together for quite a while, um, before we actually got married. And um, so I went like, it's, so this fall will be our 25th wedding anniversary and we Oh, Speaker 2 00:19:55 Congratulations. Speaker 4 00:19:56 Thank you. And we, I appreciate that. Um, and you know, we were hanging out for a while before that, so Yeah. Been a good, long time. It's been a good long time. Speaker 2 00:20:06 No, that's so cool. And, um, so, you know, tell me a little bit, I, you know, feel free to, you know, if you wanna, uh, fill in any holes here, but, um, how did you land on world's largest swimming lesson? I know, you know, this is such a well-known event across so many industries and aquatics and, and, and not just in the United States, I mean globally. Um, but, you know, how did this idea start? Um, you know, cuz I, I, I gotta say like, when I came into this field, I think worlds largest swimming lesson was just starting and it was so exciting to see a world record being broken. So I just wanna know the backstory. Like, how did you come up with this idea and how did it get, you know, legs that really just took off? Speaker 4 00:20:49 Well, we, um, I, I mean, I guess again, carrying sort of that torch for water safety, I'd been, um, working in and volunteering and helping support the World Water Park Association, um, since we started out with, you know, national Water Safety Week, which was like, you know, 20 years ago. Um, and then moving into sort of the National Water Safety Month campaign and the B Water Aware campaign. And so we've been, were you, Speaker 2 00:21:15 Were you pretty involved in those? I mean, I know your background's, you know, marketing and, and PR and communications. So were you, were you, uh, pretty involved in that in the, in the early Speaker 4 00:21:24 I was, yeah. I, um, I helped come up with some of the, I don't know if you guys have seen, there's a, there's a little, um, a little black boy photo where he's wearing a towel and like a cape. He looks like a super, like, like he, you know, is a piece of suit here. So it, um, that's a stock photo <laugh>. And we, we grabbed it and started using it in the first line, um, that I came up with for the program was his superpowers don't work in water. And, um, so we used It's yours. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. So we, um, so we ran with that and we built a bunch of different, um, campaigns around that. And then the W w A came up with the B Water Aware campaign, um, and which I was not really involved with. Um, but yeah, so we kind of, so we kind of kicked it off there. Speaker 4 00:22:15 And that photo has been used, I don't know, a million times I think since and yeah. Since we used it. But, um, so anyway, that was all about May, right. National Water Safety Month. And then at the time I was working for, um, a promotions agency that did, um, most of its work in entertainment. So we did a lot of work with, um, table television and, um, like M T V and C M T and Showtime and, um, a and e. And so, so I was working on, um, like buzz building campaigns for promotional things. Like, um, we'd come up with different ideas and then we'd kind of blow that out. We did a lot of work with radio promotions and, um, so I would do things just like, as an example, we did a promotion for, um, uh, gene Simmons had a show on Annie called Family Jewels. It was a reality show. I don't know if you guys know him or I Speaker 2 00:23:14 Remember that. Speaker 4 00:23:15 Yeah. So at the time, there were rumors going around about this idea that Gene Simmons had been involved with many, many, many, many, many, um, partners. So, um, we did a whole promotion really kind of trying to leverage that idea. And then we s we did a mailing to like radio station DJs where we sent out this thing that would sh that it supposedly shocks you if you're not telling the truth, <laugh> about whether or not this was, was true or false. Um, so we would do those kinds of things to try to build, but like for show to the show Weeds on Showtime, we did a mailing for, um, to radio station DJs that had like, um, like a bright green Fredericks of Hollywood thong and brownies and all this stuff tying into what, you know, whatever the voice of the show. The theme of the show. Speaker 4 00:24:05 Yeah, yeah. Um, so the, so the universe that I was living in working in was all about like building buzz and, you know, making noise. And so Rick and I were talking about the idea of what can we do to kind of expand or really kind of get some press for National Water safety month? Cuz lots of stuff was happening, but, you know, just, we needed bigger, bigger noise. And I said, well, maybe we could set a Guinness World record for the world largest swimming lesson. And, um, yeah. So, so we went with it <laugh>. Yeah. And Speaker 3 00:24:38 I guess you did go with it because you did set one and you did break one I think a couple times. Speaker 4 00:24:43 We Yep. We, we did. So I, um, yeah, I mean that's, that's how it started. And Speaker 2 00:24:50 I gotta say though, I, I love, you know, and I, I I'm sure all of you have been through this is, you know, sometimes, um, you know, the marketing and PR teams that I work with, you know, we're, we sit around in these calls and we bounce around ideas and stuff and sometimes it's just like that one idea pops off and you're like, oh my God, that's Yeah, that's great. And I mean, so that, that kind of feels like that's what the moment was with the Birth of World's largest swimming lesson. Speaker 4 00:25:16 It, it, um, it definitely felt like it clicked and that it was, you know, doable. And, um, it was, once we started doing, it was a <laugh> lot more work than we were initially thinking. Um, but because Speaker 3 00:25:30 There's a lot of paper involved in breaking a world record or setting one and breaking one Speaker 4 00:25:36 So much paper, which of course is the reason we do not do that. I know. Cause we were like, okay, wait, no, the gu we know the Guinness World record. We got it. We're not. Um, and, and we just, it got to the point where we didn't wanna burden people with that. Like everybody was busy enough and we wanted, if they were doing this event, we wanted them to be focused on the event and spreading the message and all those kinds of things. So, Speaker 3 00:25:58 So what was, Beth, what was the first year that you did it? Speaker 4 00:26:02 Um, it was 2010. Speaker 3 00:26:04 Okay. So I think that is the first year that Colin so participated in it mm-hmm. <affirmative> and we participated at Schluter Bond. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I'm now remembering all of this because Schlitterbahn is a member of the World Waterpark Association mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we had been, you know, in a partnership with them. And that was, I was trying to remember how, how we participated in the first one, but it was, this is all making sense now. Cause that was where we went and for years we partnered. I love the walk down memory lane cuz I don't think I've knew the full history or even how it began. I appreciate that question. Um, wow, that's so cool. Speaker 4 00:26:38 So yeah, it's been, it's been fun. It's Speaker 2 00:26:42 Been fun. Well, you know, and I think that to me, what's so great about worlds largest swimming lesson is, is really driving that important message, right? Like, I, you know, I get so frustrated sometimes, and I'm sure the both of you do too, because, you know, sometimes it feels like, it, it, and don't, don't get me wrong when I say this, I mean, drownings a complex problem, right? I mean, there's, there's a lot of different variables and things, but, you know, a lot of our prevention methods, I mean, are, you know, quite simple to understand, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> put, put fencing around pools, the use of life jackets. Um, but learning to swim is so critical, right? And sometimes, you know, and there are challenges with that too, right? There's, there's cultural challenges and there's, you know, access, access and geography, all the, and, and the financial piece, right? Speaker 2 00:27:27 But I mean, you know, N D P A, we've really taken a new approach with our messaging around swim lessons, which is, you know, don't live, like, things like financial costs be a barrier, right? I mean, there are, there are scholarship programs, there are, you know, community initiatives that can help get your child into swim lessons, right? So we're trying to eliminate those barriers. But I think so many parents, you know, maybe feel swim lessons are out of reach or maybe they don't prioritize swim lessons. And, you know, I think this, this, you know, kind of stunt of world's largest swimming lesson to, you know, uh, and you know, we know no child's gonna learn to swim just in one lesson. Oh yeah, of course not. You know, the, but the idea that, you know, that, you know, we get this high, you know, one inflection point of the year to remind parents mm-hmm. <affirmative> of the importance of learning to swim as a layer of protection to prevent drowning, I think is so, so critical. And, and, you know, really, I mean, to get that kind of mass attention on the issue over one day in the media attention. Um, let's talk about the sizzle reel here, here in a second. But, um, Alyssa, did you, uh, did you have something you wanted to throw in there? Oh, Speaker 3 00:28:29 No, I just, uh, this is all I remember the first time we did participate, I remember I wasn't, I was like, no one's gonna learn how to swim. Exactly what you were saying and this, yeah. Like, why are we doing this aha moment of, well, duh, this is about the awareness and bringing attention and talking about it and providing a media platform and getting, you know, news reporters talking about it and, and pushing, you know? And so it, it's, it's brilliant, Beth. Well, Speaker 2 00:28:53 You know, I love the, the scissor reel that we get to show every year at the conference and highlight on social and, and really that's it, the media, right? The media coverage of swim lessons and getting the attention out there. So Beth, I want you to share with people, what was your goal when you started World's largest Swimming lesson? Because I, I think it was a billion media impressions. Was it something Yeah, Speaker 4 00:29:12 I don't even, I don't even know if we had that as, I mean, when we first started it, I think we were n we didn't even perceive that it would go on and on and on, right? Yeah. Like, it was, it was, okay, let's see if we can, um, let's see if we can get this done and, and, and make, you know, create a new story. So the first year we had 3000 people participate or something like that, but we still had, I don't know, five continents or something. Um, and we, and we set a Guinness World record. So, um, the fact that we were able to do that, I think, um, really just sort of opened everything up. And then, then we started talking about, okay, well what, what can we really do? And, and tracking, you know, media impressions and identifying what we could potentially do with it. Speaker 4 00:30:04 And yeah. So we figured maybe we'd set, maybe we'd reach like a billion people in 10 years. And, um, we, truth be told, we don't even ha we don't even know how many people we've reached because tracking of that has become so complex. And we, we only look at the United States. We don't, you know, we don't evaluate anything beyond the US and we don't spend the, we don't spend the money to, um, you know, really dig in and, and analyze all the different places that it comes out. So I'm sure we're, well, well, well beyond what, what we talk about, but we also don't want people to think we're just blowing smoke. So we try to Speaker 2 00:30:46 Yeah. Speaker 4 00:30:47 Try to, you know, have a realistic ish number based on what we do know and what we do track. Speaker 2 00:30:53 I think the coolest part is, you know, I know the goal was a billion media oppressions in the first 10 years, but you like crushed that. I mean, it wasn't, it like you're seven or eight, you kind of said, oh yeah, we've already, we've already hit that mark. Speaker 4 00:31:05 Yeah, yeah. We're, we're definitely well over two and a half and, um, probably onto three. So yeah, it's pretty, it's been pretty cool. It's been pretty fun. And I think what's been interesting about plugging along for the number of years that we have with this event is we've been able to kind of watch it evolve and we've been able to, you know, mold it and shape it and, um, help it become what it is today. So we've, you know, we, we've always made a point to say, well, no, you're not, your kid's not gonna learn to swim in these 30 minutes. But, um, you know, we try to be very laser focused to say, like, the first year we were super laser focused, right? You had to say this and you had to do this event at 10, you know, or 3:00 PM G M T, right? Speaker 4 00:31:50 Like, everybody in the on the planet had to do it at exactly the same time and do exactly the same thing. Obviously we don't do that anymore. We just say, you gotta do it on this day. Um, but it still gives us an opportunity to kind of use one voice to send one message. Um, and that I think gives us a lot of traction. But we expand on that a little bit, right? Like we've been, we've been really focused on trying to add, um, adult supervision as sort of a, you know, layers of protection and adult supervision as a, as a second sort of subm messages to what we're talking about in terms of swimming lessons, save lives. Um, and, you know, we've, we've evolved, the curriculum's evolved a little bit, like to make sure that some of the other key safety messages that we want can at least be in that material within that 30 minute time period. Cuz we also realize, holy cow, we're, we've are providing, you know, the, the whatever the universe with tens of hundreds of thousands of hours of, in most cases, free water safety training mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that wasn't happening before. So I would love Speaker 3 00:32:55 See that, the value of that, I dunno if you've ever calculated in some way, shape, or form, but that would be a awesome thing to calculate on a, so Speaker 4 00:33:06 It would, it would be cool. We, the closest we've come is really just to try to make a ballpark estimate based on the fact that we know, you know, we have this many facilities providing 30 minutes worth of stuff. And that's really all we know. So like, I mean, technically if you have a facility that has, you know, 200 and Speaker 3 00:33:25 Then you multiply people Speaker 4 00:33:26 Participating and then you have like however many, you know, two lifeguards or two instructors, whatever, for every 15 people, then I'm sure there are many, many more hours than that. But we haven't broken it down that far. But it really, I mean, it feels like a very, um, positive, positive thing to have been able to accomplish. Speaker 2 00:33:45 You know, I Beth, I I, I gotta give you one other accolade. Um, and it's how so Speaker 4 00:33:51 Many thank Speaker 2 00:33:51 You. I know, right? Well, you know, and I bring this up because I watched how you approached world's largest swimming lesson through Covid. And you know, I can tell you, I mean, just in my local community, the university I work for, um, and just what I've seen across the country, and I'm sure you've both seen this, is there were a lot of programs and a lot of campaigns and a lot of things that were existing pre covid that just have not come back, you know, at Post the Pandemic mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I, you know, I remember talking to you right as the pandemic was starting and we were going through the whole like, virtual conference and, you know, God, that feels like so long ago, even though it was just a few years ago. Yeah. Um, Speaker 4 00:34:33 Lifetime, Speaker 2 00:34:34 Right. But, um, you know, I, I gotta say, I mean, you were never of the mindset of like, oh no, we're just not doing it this year. We're not, we're just gonna, you, you figured out a way, whether it was virtually, whether it was, you know, meeting people where they were at to be able to do this event, um, you know, with their local guidance and stuff. And I just want you to talk for a second about that. Like, you know, because it would, it would've been frankly so easy to just say, Hey, we did it, it was great. Now we have these, you know, challenges and we are just not gonna do it anymore. And, you know, you took like the complete opposite approach that, and I'm so thrilled with that cuz you know, it's, it, it, it's still out there and we still celebrate this every year. So, you know, what went through your mind when that happened? Speaker 4 00:35:17 Well, that's, thank you for, um, thank you for those accolades. I appreciate that. And I, I guess I Sure. Really talking with you, talking with Alyssa, talking with the people in this space that feel really passionate about the needs and the problems and the challenges and, um, I don't know, Adam, were you guys, is that when you guys were like, drowning won't stop, so we won't either. I'm not sure when you guys came up with that, but maybe that would, you know, I think there was this drive to say, well, okay, that everything has shifted, but there's a very real threat out here and it's a different situation. And if, if folks don't have, if if we do nothing to help people be aware or try to like move through this, then we're, it's a missed opportunity. And, and, and there's a huge risk. I mean, we were, we were super grateful for all the people that were willing to step up and do things with us. You know, like our virtual stuff, Alyssa and, and, and Kim, um, Schult, am I pronouncing her name right? Schultz. Schultz, Speaker 3 00:36:26 Yep. Schultz Speaker 4 00:36:27 Swim Kim. Yeah, swim Kim. You know, that helped us do things like, uh, here's what to do if you have a hot tub at home and your kid is, you know, um, just a couple years old and a way that you might make them feel comfortable. Here's what to do if there's, you have a backyard pool, you know, talking with you, Adam, when we're like, okay, people are gonna bite buying these plastic backyard pools and putting them in their yard and they sure as heck better be aware. So, you know, did we meet, did we reach the kind of people or the numbers that we did when we have all the media exposure? No, we did not. But um, but we did certainly want to be able to use the network and the influence that we did have to, to, to stand up and say those things. Speaker 3 00:37:13 I, I remember Beth, those conversations. I mean, I, I distinctly remember cuz I, my office during Covid was in front of the windows and my literally had those big characters behind me and I sat in front of the computer all day every day it felt like, which weird cuz we kind of do that now, but it's normal <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:37:30 It's become the new Speaker 4 00:37:30 And I, it's the new normal. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:37:32 But I remember having this conversation with you when you called or zoomed or whatever we were doing, and was like, how can we do this? And we strategize like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and I love, love now being a couple years out and, and looking back and saying, wow, aren't you glad you did that? And you didn't just like to skip a year? You know? Speaker 4 00:37:52 Oh, yeah. Because Speaker 3 00:37:54 Awesome. Like the master of the pivot. I, I know that that was something that I was like, really glad that we were able to do that in the field. Those of us who were able to really, like, now I'm spacing on the quote we just said, but the drowning won't stop, so we won't either. But it was just like mm-hmm. We're gonna pivot and do whatever. And this was a great, um, Speaker 2 00:38:14 You know, I'll tell you where that actually came from. I mean, we were, God, what, four weeks out from the National Water Safety Conference that year? Oh yeah. Speaker 4 00:38:22 The timing, timing was, and I, Speaker 2 00:38:24 I have no problem saying this. I mean, NDPA is not a, you know, super big organization where, you know, we had a huge budget available to go, Hey, let's just back out of a conference and suffer the consequences of it. Right. And, you know, and mind you, at that point, you know, things were shutting down. We didn't have a choice. We had to move, you know, but we had a big discussion as our team at N D P A and the board of directors and kind of said like, I, I, is it better just to do nothing this year or can. And I remember going to my board of directors like three and a half weeks out from the conference and going, oh no, we can move this whole thing virtually. And they were like, you're, you're nuts. Like, what are you doing? And, uh, they as they usually do, said, all right dude, if you want to try it, go ahead and do it. Speaker 2 00:39:08 And I came back to the team and they were like, they really said, yes, we're gonna do this. And I, I think I said like something to that effect of like, well, drownings aren't gonna stop, so why should we? And that ended up being like our mantra through the conference that year. And, you know, really it, it, it's interesting because, you know, drowning has taken such a negative turn since, since Covid. I mean, you know, our drowning numbers for the first time in 20 years have increased. And I think that is, you know, really, you know, to me that's really central to keep some of these things going because this isn't slowing down. The problem is actually getting worse since the pandemic and, you know, to get that media exposure and, you know, really, and I think both of you'll agree with this, it is so hard to break through to, you know, the masses in today's world because it's not just cable news. It's not just, it's, it's so many different media platforms. So to be able to break through and really get a message across that that is universal, that is every something everyone can get behind. Um, I think it's so important today's, in today's world. Speaker 4 00:40:15 And I, I mean, it's really challenging, I would say like g going back, particularly knowing how long we've been doing this and, and what our, some of our strategies were initially the, the focus we had on news media, traditional news, media, prints, newspapers, all those kinds of, of things, we got big, big numbers from. We got big exposure from those. And we've, you know, watched as local news numbers have just fallen and fallen and fallen and fallen and fallen. And it's not, I, I'm, I will be the first to stand up and say, no, I don't think you should do everything online. And it's not all digital. And, and, and I, I, I hope and pray and think that it's super, super important to support local press and media for all kinds of reasons. But, um, but things have changed. There are, you've gotta have a very comprehensive, um, communications plan to be able to get your message out and to break through. I mean, between, they're just, it's mind blowing the number of, of ways that people can just get sucked into spending their time and the content and the messages. And it is, it is just a different universe. So it's mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, it's an ongoing and constant challenge that hopefully we will all continue to keep rising up for <laugh>. Right, right. Yeah, it's tough. Speaker 2 00:41:42 As we, uh, you know, coming up on the last few minutes of today's podcast, I I'm gonna ask you a question and our audience knows it well. So does Alyssa, that I ask every podcast guest that comes on, um, and sometimes this can be a hard question and that's, if, if I gave you a magic wand, so I'm handing you a magic wand right now, and you get to change one thing in water safety, um, for the better. What, what would it be, you know, what would you, what would Beth route change if she, if she could Speaker 4 00:42:12 Don't want just one thing. Can't I have three wishes? <laugh>, Speaker 3 00:42:15 This is such a tough question for everybody, us included. Speaker 2 00:42:19 I know Alyssa put, turn that question on me a couple weeks ago, and I, I struggled to answer it myself. Speaker 3 00:42:26 You're in good company. Speaker 4 00:42:27 I'm in good company, but you only Speaker 3 00:42:29 Get one or Speaker 4 00:42:29 But you only get one. I only get one. So after I answer the question, then are you guys gonna gimme the answers of some of the other, you know, like what your answers were, some of the other key answers I kind of wanna know. You Speaker 3 00:42:38 Have to listen to the podcast. No. Well, Speaker 4 00:42:40 Okay. Okay. But I dunno if I can get 'em all in like, <laugh>. It's a, that's a fair statement. Speaker 2 00:42:47 I forgot. It's a pre preface. The rule is you can't wish for more wishes, so, oh, Speaker 4 00:42:52 Yes. Okay. Disclaimer. Speaker 2 00:42:53 A little asterisk. Speaker 4 00:42:53 Disclaimer. A little, yeah, a little asterisk. <inaudible>. Um, okay. It's a, it's, it's a tough call. Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:43:02 <affirmative>, Speaker 4 00:43:03 I'm gonna make my wish and then I'm going to, I'm gonna make a footnote. Okay. So, but are Speaker 2 00:43:09 Allowed, we'll allow it. Speaker 4 00:43:10 So, um, one of the things that we've put out in our communications, uh, through the years is that we want to have the world, and oftentimes this is like culturally most appropriate, I guess, within the us. So, um, but we want the world to think about, um, learning to swim in water safety in the same way that they think about seat belts and in the same way they think about helmets for kids. Um, just that it's, it's like a given. It's just the way you know that, that there's no pushback on wearing seat. I mean, not everybody does, obviously, right? There's still, you drive down the highway and there are still signs that say, you know, these people didn't make it. And if they'd been wearing their seatbelt, they probably would've. And the numbers still amaze me, like, what do you mean you're not wearing your seatbelt? You're not wearing your seatbelt. But for the most part people are like, okay, we wear seat belts cuz that's just the way it is because it's safer in the world when you're in a car and you have a seat belt on. So I guess that would be my wish, is that we get to that point. So the two footnotes to that, I guess I said one, so two footnotes. Two footnotes, yes. Two footnotes <laugh>. One is she's messing Speaker 3 00:44:23 With us, Adam. Cause this is really like three wishes, but one is, Speaker 4 00:44:26 No, no, no one is, one is more of like a, I just wanna clarify that I, yeah. That the way we got to seatbelt and bike helmet awareness and, and activation and compliance I guess, um, is multifaceted. And I know a lot of that came from, um, legislation mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I don't know. Um, and I realize that that's a very long road and I'm not necessarily wishing for legislation to demand that those cause that's very complicated. So I just wanted to clarify that as a footnote. So then I guess the sub footnote, and maybe this is a different wish, but, um, we'll Speaker 3 00:45:06 Allow it, sorry, <laugh> Speaker 4 00:45:08 Was, was is more about, um, I guess a, a parent's parent, new parent understanding about water safety and, you know, both the joy of aquatics and swimming, the risks. Um, I, I just, it, it's sad, it's really sad to me how many people in the world don't ever get to experience the joys and the benefits of swimming. The, the exercise benefits. I mean, like, the list of, of positive things from swimming is, is very, very long. Right? It's great for you. And lots of people don't get that because their parents weren't necessarily into aquatics or they don't swim or culturally it's never been a great thing or they don't have access to water or what, you know, again, another word will you ask, Speaker 3 00:46:02 You asked about our wishes, so mine kind of dovetail with that. So I'll share a version of it with you. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was around ensuring that everyone had equal access to water and the benefits and learning to swim and all the things. And so it's kind of, you know, kind of, there's, you know, you have to listen to the whole thing. And cuz I can't remember exactly what I said, but it was along those lines of like wishing that everyone and I support that too. Like un enjoying the benefits and um, it should be a Right. Not a privilege to learn how to swim that. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:46:34 Yeah. Oh wait, I have another one. So I am making, I'm making three wishes. Nanny, Nabu ha, <laugh>. Um, the, so the other one is really just wishing we didn't ever have to hear a parent saying, I didn't know. Speaker 2 00:46:48 Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. I can't remember mine, but I think that it may, that might have been somewhere around something around, yeah. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:46:57 It's just heartbreaking, right? Like, it's just heartbreaking. That's Speaker 2 00:47:01 Something we, we talk about all the time. And it's not just that I didn't know drowning was the leading cause of death for children ages one to four. I I didn't know the simple steps to take to make my family safer, right? Like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's something we're constantly, um, you know, really having to step back, um, and address. And, you know, I'll tell you, it's, it's interesting you bring that up because that's something I've been saying for the last couple years is, you know, we Yes. Education, yes, the prevention steps, yes, that's all important, but how do, do we get a parent to actually care about this? And we've gotta break through that. I did no factor. Cause if they don't know it's a problem, they're less lucky to take any action on it, right? Speaker 4 00:47:38 Yep. They're so busy and overwhelmed. And I, I mean that's, I guess that's one of the reasons I continue to be really excited about the work that N DPA's been doing with the American Academy PT of Pediatrics. And I know that's a very long road and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, there's many, many challenges related to working in that en environment and accomplishing what, what everybody's trying to. But, um, I think, I think you're making headway and that's a big, big step. So I'm very, Speaker 3 00:48:04 We're in the right lane. Speaker 4 00:48:05 Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. Speaker 3 00:48:07 I wanna go Yeah. Further into the OBGYN lane before the pd, you know, on the Yeah. Further upstream, right? Speaker 4 00:48:13 We No, I, I agree a hundred percent I think because, because when you're in that lane, everybody, the kid's not there yet, right? So they have more time. Yeah. And, and there are, so I feel like there's so many opportunities to dovetail and, and, and hook our kite, if you will, to that. Speaker 2 00:48:31 Well, and I, I think too, I mean it's, it's hitting so many different sectors with this message, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think that's, you know, to me that's another great thing about worlds largest swimming lesson is it, you know, crosses c uh, cultural boundaries. It crosses borders. It, it's such a simple, easy message bringing in, um, the importance of learn to swim. But, um, well we have reached the end of our podcast and thank you for joining us, Beth, today. And, um, Alyssa, I know you're dying to say something else. I am Speaker 3 00:48:57 Dying to say something. So I think the title of this podcast with Beth should be Nanny, nanny, boo Boo. Cuz as she just said that, and I think that's like the best Speaker 2 00:49:05 <laugh> that makes Speaker 3 00:49:07 Sense. Like that's make something Speaker 2 00:49:09 Not appearance in the description for the podcast for people. Learn about Beth and, and, yeah. Speaker 4 00:49:14 Yeah. Nanny, nanny Boo. And Speaker 3 00:49:15 Why she said Nanny, nanny boo. Why Speaker 4 00:49:17 Did she say anything, nanny? Speaker 2 00:49:19 I love that. I love that. Well, Beth, thank you so much for joining us on the N D P A Water Safety Champions podcast. Thank you for being a water safety champion. And um, Lisa, as always, my Water Safety Champion co-host, thank you so much for joining us and, uh, join us for episode five here next week. Thanks so much for joining us. Stay safe, Speaker 4 00:49:37 You guys. Thanks so much. It was a great opportunity and I really, really enjoyed it. Speaker 3 00:49:41 Me too.

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