As part of celebrating their 25th year in operations, the members of the Nose Creek Swim Association (NCSA) wanted to give back to the community that has supported them for more than two decades.
As with many initiatives this year, the COVID-19 pandemic derailed their plans, but it didn’t take long for the swim club to find new ways to volunteer their time.
“Our team culture is designed to focus on athletes as individuals, build the person, build the athlete, build the swimmer,” said Swim Coach Robin Loyola.
“We are teaching lessons beyond winning.”
Some of the initiatives the swimmers and coaches were taking part in before the pandemic included visiting seniors at Luxstone Manor Senior Residence, volunteers their time to read with the Airdrie Public library reading buddies program, participating in the Airdrie Adopt a Family for Christmas and more.
Loyola says she was disheartened when social distancing put a stop to their traditional ways to give back, but an idea came to her when she was walking her dog on a pathway in the Thorburn/Meadowbrook area. She noticed that with the increased foot traffic and the melted snow, there was quite a bit of garbage in the area.
“It occurred to me that if everyone picked up just five pieces, this would all be gone in a few days,” she said.
“It would be a great way to give back to the community, so we thought we could challenge our NCSA family to do the same.”
She says her swimmers have stepped up to the plate and she is impressed with the continued team spirit despite the fact that the swim season was cut short.
“This pandemic has definitely made us stretch our creativity to ensure we are still connecting with our athletes and come out of this stronger and more appreciative of the simple pleasures in life,” said Loyola, adding that the team is holding meetings via Zoom, participating in mental training, club-wide dryland workouts and virtually hosting guest speakers.
The swimmers are also handwriting letters to the seniors at Bethany Care Centre to brighten their days.
“The most valuable thing you can give someone is time; it’s the one thing you can never get back,” said Loyola.
“The silver lining (of the COVID-19 pandemic) is that time has slowed down. Use it well.”