It’s a return to her roots for Maggie Darnell, who is the new Aquatic Center Director for Otsego Public Schools.
Pool activity is picking up with the new addition of an Aquatics Center Director. OHS ‘13 graduate, Maggie Darnell, is at the helm of this new position and is thrilled to be back at OPS. “I grew up in the old aquatic facility; swimming helped shape me into the person I am today, and I am looking forward to giving back to my hometown community,” Darnell says.
She has already started new activities at the current pool facility, and is busy scheduling programs for the summer, including swim lessons. During this time, she’s also busy working with the new Aquatic Center committee in planning programs for the new pool. “I really want to get community members of all ages and abilities in the new facility,” she says.
She’s already started on that goal in introducing a pool time each Friday for the elementary Autism Spectrum Disorder classroom. The ASD program is housed at Washington Street Elementary and she’s able to provide one on one supervision for this class. “It’s been incredible to have them enjoy the pool, it’s so important that these students are introduced to water and learn about pool safety,” she explains.
Darnell graduated from Michigan State University in Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism. She was a Community Programmer for the City of Lansing, Waterfront Director for Michigan Out-of-Doors Summer Camp and served as a lifeguard at the Kalamazoo Kik Pool and Disney.
This new position was a perfect fit, “I have felt pulled to the water and helping others explore activities and attend events that combine education and fun! Aquatic activities are for everyone. The benefits of exercise and swimming are life-long and I hope to educate our patrons on water safety to better enjoy all the water Michigan has to offer,” she says.
Darnell is working on a full schedule for the summer and looking ahead to the fall opening of the new facility. “This summer I would like to offer lap swim, swim lessons, aqua aerobics, and open swim on a consistent schedule.
“In the new aquatic center, we will be able to offer lap swims, open swims, and classes throughout the day, welcoming everyone from infants to seniors. With the expansion of lanes we will be able to run multiple events at once, and serve more swimmers. With the community room and expanded spectator seating, we will be able to host a multitude of events, from meetings and birthday parties, all the way to multi-team regional & state meets,” she says.
She is lifeguard certified and can train lifeguards as well. Those classes will also be an additional offering. Much of the programming will be community driven, based on what people want. A survey will be released soon to ask potential patrons what types of classes or events they would like to see. Darnell is also asking anyone with ideas to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I envision this new aquatic center as a hub for safety training and adapted swim lessons for the community and all of SW Michigan. I would love to hear feedback from students, parents, and community members on what YOU would like to see in this spectacular facility!”
Aqua Aerobics is being held at the pool now. Check out the calendar at https://www.otsegops.org/community/pool.
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Increased programming with a community focus is on the horizon with our new Aquatics Center Director.
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