The fourth-grade girls at Jefferson Elementary School figured if they were able to learn how to swim at the Rotterdam Boys & Girls Club, the newest crop of girls at their school should be able to, as well.
And since they had to earn their Power of Community badge anyway, which requires taking action that has a lasting effect on the community, it made perfect sense for Girl Scout Troop 2336 to host a fundraiser to help save their dear old pool.
The old pool at the Rotterdam clubhouse finally had to be closed in 2011. It was more than 30 years old and in bad shape — its shell, gutters and dehumidifying system all needed replacing. After extensive research, administrators from the Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady learned it would cost about $400,000 to rehab the pool. Since then, they’ve raised money vigorously and received donations from community organizations.
Saturday, the girl scouts hosted a community block party at Poppy’s Ice Cream to raise some of the final money needed to save the pool. There was a bounce house, face painting, vendors, carnival games, music and food.
“We’re on our last legs of the Save the Pool project,” said Julie Rouse, program director at the Rotterdam clubhouse, “and we’re just doing everything we can to get the community involved to save the pool.”
The community appears to have their back. Local businesses showed up to set up vendor booths, including Madison Handbags, Printz and Patterns, Pampered Chef, Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Thirty-One Gifts, ItWorks Body Wraps and Time Savor Solutions. Each donated items for various gift bags that were lined up at a raffle table.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, stopped by later in the afternoon to show his support, as well.
The Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady, which oversees the Rotterdam clubhouse, voted to put $200,000 of its own money toward the overall project cost.
“It was a bold move by the board,” said Shane Bargy, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady, “but when you consider that 3,000 kids have taken swimming lessons there over the past five years, it just made sense to do.”
Other funds have come from the Schenectady Foundation, the Carlilian Foundation, leftover donations from last year’s Extreme Remodel project and individuals from throughout the community. The club now has about $2,500 left to raise.
“We’re just a breath away,” said Bargy. “This is our last milestone.”