Earlier this month, Gov. Phil Murphy signed two executive orders allowing for increased activities and gathering limits at various indoor and outdoor areas beginning June 22, including recreational pools.
For the Voorhees Swim Club, the announcement couldn’t have come at a better time.
Like most businesses, organizations and nonprofits, the club was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so much so that it set up a GoFundMe page before the recent executive order was signed to help its bottom line.
“In a world without COVID-19, we would’ve typically had a big party and open house during Memorial Day weekend, where we invite the local communities to come see what the club is all about in hopes of signing up new members,” said Matthew Burns, a member of the club’s board of trustees.
But because of the pandemic, the club saw a drastic decrease in new memberships and it has not been able to host many of its regular events.
“It’s not just about when the pool opens for members, it’s also about outreach and trying to engage with the community about fundraisers and other events that also involved the club,’ Burns said.
“When [COVID-19] first started, we basically had to halt any membership or sponsorship outreach, as well as event planning, so as to not lead on residents or the community with events that ultimately weren’t going to happen,” said Lynne Cona, president of the board of trustees
The long-awaited state approval of pool reopenings, coupled with increased maintenance costs last year, thrust the club into a dire situation that ultimately led to the GoFundMe page.
“Ultimately, what we’re looking to do is not just survive the year but actually grow and thrive,” said Burns. “We recently had to go into our reserve funds to address a few maintenance cost items last year.”
The GoFundMe page has a goal of $60,000. Since the announcement that pools can reopen later this month, the swim club has received an influx of membership requests from Voorhees and surrounding municipalities.
The club has reduced its new membership cost from $495 to $400 for families. Find more information online at http://www.voorheesswimclub.com/.
Additionally, the GoFundMe can be found here.