LETTER: Huge THANK YOU to Aquatics Management Group for Mt. Rainier Pool

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

Mt. Rainier Pool is closed for renovations and when they reopen, the Metropolitan Pool District will self-manage. I would like to give a huge THANK YOU TO Aquatics Management Group (AMG), specifically Ken Spencer and Gene Achziger for their exemplary service to the users of Mt. Rainier pool and our Waterland community.

When King County dropped the pools in 2003 and turned the title over to a very reluctant City Council, AMG was formed to keep the pool open in very financially trying times. The recession of 2008 led to the formation of the Metropolitan Pool District in 2009 when the City and School District could no longer support the operation of the facility. AMG was instrumental in getting the district formed to save swimming in Des Moines.

Under Ken Spencer’s creative managership, AMG has provided a safe, positive community center for dozens of user groups including: Mt. Rainier High School Swim teams, various swim and dive clubs, synchronized swimming and water polo teams, SCUBA training, essential training for companies such as Alaska Airlines, Boeing, South King Fire and Rescue, local police Departments, Boy Scout troops, etc. Fitness classes, water exercise, lap swims and other programs kept our citizens of all ages healthy. And, of course, through the years, THOUSANDS of local children were taught not only water safety, but more importantly…how to SWIM safely.

Of course, these programs could be successful only because of the outstanding guards AMG has trained and employed through the years. Due to everyone’s diligence, every Health, Fire and Safety Audit was passed, and not one major incident occurred under these guard’s watchful eyes!

Several years ago, Gene Achziger (who spearheaded the Save The Pool campaign in 2008/9 and past president of the Metropolitan Pool District), was hired as community outreach coordinator. Gene has gone above and beyond providing and participating in events to non-conventional swim groups: The Pumpkin Plunge, Winter Wonderland, No School?Come to the Pool!, Farmers Market, Summer Concert Series, Zombie and Winter Fests, the Highline School Districts Back to School Fairs, and Many More. However, Gene didn’t stop there. He worked with area school’s PTSA’s to provide swim nights for their schools, and worked with Highline College to help diversify our pool for our rapidly changing demographics. Gene is also the man who procured a $25K grant from Kaiser Permanente which allowed us to resurrect the AquaGuard (Jr. Lifeguarding) program as well as provide middle school students who had an interest in lifeguarding to learn the swim skills needed to become one.

For 14 years, AMG has made Mt. Rainier a valued community resource for its citizens of all ages at a sustainable responsible cost. The Pool District has some very large “flippers” to fill and I look forward to them building on the foundation that AMG has created.

My heartfelt thanks,
Schell Ross
Teacher/24 year pool employee&volunteer/Past Pool District commissioner

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One Response to “LETTER: Huge THANK YOU to Aquatics Management Group for Mt. Rainier Pool”
  1. Melina Mantey says:

    Thank you for writing this Schell! I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. As someone who was employed with AMG for 8 years, I owe a lot to them for the memories, life experiences, and friendships that I walked away with. Job well done Aquatics Management Group; and a special thank you to Ken Spencer for steering the ship 🙂

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