“Adopt-a-Chair” Campaign for Calais Pool

By Jayna Smith

A unique program has been put in place to aid in the safety around the Howard Fox Memorial Pool.  Calais Recreation Director Toby Cole announced the “adopt-a-chair” program that began recently just in time for the summer season.  For a $55 donation, businesses, organizations, and individuals can “adopt” a lounge chair.  The new chairs will replace existing ones at the pool which are worn.  “They have served their purpose and are beginning to break,” Cole said of the existing chairs. 
When one sponsors the purchase of a chair, he or she also has the opportunity to do so in honor or in memory of someone which will be indicated by a vinyl name plate on the chair.  Parents can even sponsor one in honor of their child(ren)) who may currently be avid pool users.  Businesses may opt to include their logo on the name plate.
Cole, who is approaching his second year anniversary as the city’s recreation director, said the idea of the adopt-a-chair program was introduced by the former pool director Charity Williams.  He then discussed the idea at a recent Recreation Association meeting, and Tina Erskine became a driving force behind the initiative.  “She put in a lot of leg work with this and it would not have been possible without her,” Cole explained.  After exploring the idea with other recreation directors throughout New England, the details were put in place.
Those choosing to sponsor a chair will be pleased to know they will not only be benefiting the users of the pool, but will also be supporting two local businesses.  “Ace Hardware was able to beat the prices found online,” Cole said of the chairs.  “It’s important to me to do everything I can to purchase locally and this is one example of making that happen.”  He added that Cabin Fever Embroidery will be producing the vinyl name plates that will adorn each chair.
Originally constructed in 1956, the Howard Fox Memorial Pool was later reconstructed in 1987.  Many activities offered through the recreation department have proved successful, making the pool a long-time favorite among Calais residents.  Children and adults enjoy the public swim for only $1 and $2 respectively.  Family passes are also available for purchase.  Public swimming is offered every afternoon, seven days a week.  Swimming lessons, life guarding courses, and aerobics are also scheduled each season.  
To learn more about the adopt-a-chair program, or other programs offered by the Calais Recreation Department, one can contact director Toby Cole at 454-2761 or via email at calaisrec@calaismaine.org