On June 2 (a week before the school year was about to end and summer break was about to start), I made it to the registration time frame to register my kids at the Summer Swim Program between 5PM - 7PM that evening at Arroyo Grande High School. I was praying that my husband could get home from work earlier than anticipated so he could watch the kids while I wait in that traditionally famous line on the sidewalk of Arroyo Grande (AG) High School to register both my kids for their awesome swim school program. Thankfully, he did. I thought this would make it much easier for me to register them for their swim class. Well, I got in line there by myself at AG High and even arrived 5 minutes before the registration start time and there were already about 30 - 40 parents/guardians in line in front of me! Guess how long it took me to finally get to the front of the line and register my kids for their swim school this year? I'll tell you in this post but right now, I'm going back to memory lane...because I did this before, a year ago.
Last Year's Swim School Registration Experience
Last year, I was in line for 1 hour and 45 minutes at Arroyo Grande High to register my kids for their Summer Swim Program and I even arrived at the school 5-10 minutes early before their posted registration time. I had both of my kids with me as my husband was working a night shift and I had no childcare. I didn't think it was going to take that long as it was my first time registering for them for this swim program. I thought maybe I'd wait an hour tops since I already filled out the online pre-registration forms! Well, I was wrong. My kindergartener at the time was getting antsy but as a friendly little guy, he made friends with a few kids who were playing in the grass. A few minutes later, my older son joined in. An unplanned playdate happened while I was in line! What is this! I'm glad that happened, but I wasn't anticipating it. I didn't want to lose my spot while I was waiting in that growing registration line, so all I could do was holler from afar to my kids if they were doing something they were not supposed to do. Fortunately, I was in a line with other parents who understood and were not bothered by my loud calls.
After about 15 minutes in line, it felt like I was in line for a Disneyland attraction ride; all the parents were eager to get to the front of the line except there were a few familiar faces as most of us are parents with kids who attend at least one of the Lucia Mar School District schools. I started thinking to myself that it would be nice if there were a coffee cart that was selling craft coffee while I waited in this slow moving line. Then, 30 minutes later, I thought to myself that it would be nice if they had a couple of food trucks here selling tacos as it's around dinner time and I'd enjoy having dinner while I waited in line. Well, there were no food or drinks for sale. The only table that was collecting money is the swim school's table that sat right inside the entrance of the pool area. I think they missed an opportunity for some food sales. There were probably close to 50 parents from a glance who I think at least half of them would appreciate some sort of place to get snacks for the kids. And you know, some of us came with kids so each order could be hefty. There were kids who were younger than mine who were getting antsy.
An hour later, I was still only halfway there from the front of the line. Oh boy! My kids were getting hungry and thankfully, I had snacks in my purse. My kids would find me to eat a couple of bites and then continued to play. My kids were having so much fun playing with the other kids, they weren't bothered if I had moved a couple of yards ahead. So, when the distance got too far, I did my loud holler to tell them where I was at. Because you know, from the waist down, I look like a lot of moms in this line.
I've got to say, even though I was only able to chit chat with a couple of the parents around me, I was impressed by this entire tribe. Everyone was patient and resilient. Sure, I heard expressions of annoyance from other parents that they wished that the program would allow them to pay everything online instead. However, I think I've narrowed down to the reason why Lucia Mar District's Summer Swim Program would like parents to pay in a physical line in person like the old days. If you've dedicated this much time to get in line to register, there is less of a chance that the families would cancel their swim school schedule. That's what I think. What other reason could there be? There are so many softwares online that they could partner up to easily collect payment. The tech is there. But what they need is commitment from parents and kids for the summer. It seems to work well for them because they've been doing it this way for so many years.
It's like rushing or pledging for a fraternity or sorority and they want you to prove that you are down enough for the brotherhood or sisterhood! Except this is: are you down enough for the swim school program and commit to your initial schedule!
I don't know for sure if this is the case, but I like to find analogies.
This Year's Swim School Registration Experience
You've scrolled this far down so I'm going to tell you right off the bat that I waited for 1 hour and 50 minutes this year in that Swim School Program line at AG High. Yep, it took even 5 minutes longer for me this time. Without having my kids waiting in line with me, it was easier but it didn't make the line go any faster because it's not like the kids in line registered for themselves. It's the parents.
For the first 45 minutes while I was in line, I put my headphones on and learned about ChatGPT and how to test their API from a tutorial that I found from freeCodeCamp. I figured I'd make the best of my idling in this line and learn a bit about AI.
Just like last year, there were little kids who gathered in the grass to play with each other. There were some sighs and expressions of frustrations about how slow the line was and why can't we just pay online; but the parents stuck around. Some with even checkbooks ready in hand because method of payments were: cash, check or PayPal. There were still no food or drinks for sale (another missed opportunity again).
Is It Worth It?
As I stood in line halfway through, I started thinking: why did I get in this line again? Is it worth it?
Since my kids attended swim school at AG High last summer, I can tell you from experience that this summer swim program is wonderful. I enrolled them for two weeks. My kids progressed considerably more in those two weeks compared to the 3 months when they were taking swim lessons at the nearby swim school business. It's because when you sign up for a week at this summer swim program, you attend every day from Monday - Friday and that helps reiterate what they are learning. I was also impressed by how patient and professional the high school athletes were. From what I can tell, many of the swim teachers (if not all) are water polo players or are part of the swim team at AG High. It's good for little kids to find role models who are teenagers and what better way to see that first hand than if they are being led and taught how to swim by these kind and cool kids?
Things to Consider Before Waiting In Line and/or Participating in the Summer Swim Program
- If you are flexible about which time(s) and week(s) that you'd like to register your kids for summer swim, then I say dodge this registration line and just come in person at their main table during their swim schedule. I even saw a parent do that on the first Monday of the summer swim program and she was able to get her kids registered 10 minutes before the start time of the next session.
- If you are definitely getting in that famous registration day line so that you can make sure you get the spots you want, bring a beverage to drink in hand (non-alcoholic, of course because you're at a high school, man!)
- Bring snacks or your dinner if you know you and your kids will be hungry while waiting.
- If you are friends with other parents who are getting in this line, go together. It could be like a catch up session while waiting in line.
- Bring headphones if you'd like to watch a movie from your phone while you're in line. It'll make it more pleasant like when you watch a movie while you're on a plane.
- Pre-register by filling the registration forms online before coming there to pay. It'll make it easier for them when they are putting your kids' names on their schedule book/sheet. It may be a requirement before paying, as well.
- On their flyer and website, they said that they don't issue refunds on paid registrations so be absolutely sure when you sign the kids up and pay for the summer swim program by Lucia Mar District. The locations include both Arroyo Grande High School and Nipomo High School pool areas.
- I pre-paid for 2 weeks for my kids, not thinking that there is a possibility that they could pass their current level by the end of the week. That happened to one of my kids! Luckily, they are flexible with updating the level that they are placed for the next week, even for pre-paid registration, as long as there is room. There is currently no log-in or a reminder system for parents to confirm or remember which session their kids are signed up for, so you just have to make sure you add it to your own calendaring system on your phone or at home.
- On a sunny day, there are very little shaded areas at the pool area, especially in the afternoon, so bring a sun hat or cap.
- There are benches for parents and guardians to watch their kids during their swim lesson session. Last year, AG High didn't have bleachers out so some parents resorted to bringing their own lawn chairs to sit at the pool area when all of the bench spaces were taken. This year (2023) thus far, there are bleachers are out, so there's a lot of place to sit!
- Every day during the weekday in the summer, Arroyo Grand High School's Pool has Open Swim so they you have to take lessons to use this pool. You just pay per day or can buy a pass. It's only for 1.5 hours a day but maybe that is all the practice you and your kids need.
I don't know if next year will be different or if they'll offer an online paying method without getting in this registration day line, but I know that after getting in line for two years in a row for the Lucia Mar School District's Summer Swim Program, I'm just going to pop in next time after their summer swim program has started to make my life easier. I'm going to dodge this line.
- Read about my personal review of Mustang Waterpark in Arroyo Grande.
- Read about my personal review of Ravine Waterpark in Paso Robles.
- Read about my experience at SLO Swim Center in San Luis Obispo for Family Recreational Swim Hours where my kids got to practice swimming safely in a nice warm pool with lifeguards on duty.
Being outdoors can create such wonderful memories but it comes with a risk. Even if the sun seems mild, it's good to have sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses and a sun hat to protect your skin. Swimming is always one great idea to improve your mood and get a bit of exercise if you feel bummed out for any reason so they are always great skills for kids to have.
In : Mom Life
Tags: five cities public pool arroyo grande open swim lucia mar swim school review line at arroyo grande high ag high swim school review swim school review arroyo grande lucia mar summer swim program