By: Wes King
As a parent one of the things I’m always looking for is fun outdoor activities for the kids. This does come with some caveats such as not having their legs get burned on slides, not getting splinters on outdoor play lands, not scraping their knees on deteriorated concrete around the playground – you know, all the lessons we learned growing up. The great part is that many of the newly build and newly renovated playground developers learned these same lessons and are building structures that work to prevent these issues. Equal to that the new wave of dry-land play structures local park districts are investing in spray parks.
This is drastically much cheaper then redoing outdoor concrete pools that myself and parents grew up swimming in at the local park. This is also safer because there is almost no measurable drowning risk in splash pad park. (I know that with any water there is a risk, but in perspective of a legit pool, it’s much safer). Equal to the improvement in safety, anyone that can walk can have fun in a splash park/pad area. I have seen many of these with soft padded flooring, bumper pads on the spray features themselves and even timers to safe water. These are popping up in the most rural of areas and big cities alike (see downtown Cincinnati for a really fun splash park). Many of these have covered awnings for picnics, decently updated bathrooms, and lighting for evening play.
Granted, this is a summer activity, but when I was growing up it was either swim in the freezing cold local pool or burn your rear-end on a sun-soaked metal slide – neither were that appealing. But now, once again, many families I know locally and nationally are gathering together – hosting their kids birthday parties outside in the these once abandoned and rusty outdoor parks and rec’s areas. In my opinion the cities should have someone managing these areas and even creating safety events, local gatherings, even adult activities – and possibly charge a small fee. I know the team I manage would love to have a good ole’ fashion water balloon battle a local spray pad.
About the Author
To say that Wesley King has water running through his veins would be quite an understatement! For the last 25 years Wes King has dedicated himself to not only making pools (and fitness/recreation) safer and more profitable, but also to create a real and positive impact in this industry.
As a professional consultant Wes combines all that he has learned from holding nearly every position in nearly every aquatic/fitness/recreation organization in this country. He started his consulting business to ensure that your pool, your fitness center, your park district, etc. can learn of new ways to becomes safer and ultimately operate at a higher level.
Wes has become a subject matter expert with the Medical Fitness Association, where he has earned Fellowship, is a Lead Examiner, and Chaired the National Education Committee for several years. He has presented at multiple regional and national conferences on aquatic (and non-aquatic) subjects such as; emergency preparedness, organizational structure, and program and revenue growth.
He and his teams have also created award winning aquatic programs and safety standards. Wes has had the pleasure of working with most, if not all, of the leading organizations for aquatics, fitness, and recreation in the country. From those experiences Wes launched his own consulting company, where he has developed his own risk assessment &staff audit programs (just to name a few). He is proud to have won national aquatic program and safety program awards as well authored an all-encompassing Aquatic Management “How to” Operations Manual (available 2020).
Wesley’s unwavering passion to ensure every pool in the country is operating at the safest and most optimal level is tangible. He shares his love for this industry, and his love for his Chicago Cubbies, with his wife lovely Meredith, and their two children Colby (6) and Sadie (2 ½) and their dog, Winnie!