If you’ve never been to the Northville Swim Club, you might get a little lost along the way. Hidden in a field of trees, you’d be surprised to know it actually opens up to a wonderful family resort-like private getaway.
Jennie Patterson, a member who’s on the all volunteer board and in charge of communications, describes it as one of the cheapest vacations you can take.
Beyond its charm though you'll find professionals whose focus is on swimming.
“The main objective is to promote swimming for Northville and to get kids to learn how to swim,” Patterson said. “We have a very strong lessons program. We’re also part of a summer swim league that we compete in.”
The private club, which has been around since the early sixties, is owned by its members and has been known to have a pretty lengthy waiting list (for membership) to get in. However, in today’s economy, families move out of state more often, which frees up room for new members. Compared to 2004, when the club only accepted 14 new families, this year saw four times that amount of new members accepted.
“New membership is now running about two to three years,” Patterson said. “Once you’re a member, you buy a bond and hold as long as you’re a member, then, once you resign, you get reimbursed for that bond.”
Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the club sees a lot of use. There’s more to the club then just recreational swimming.
“We offer diving lessons, water aerobics. The other thing we do is we have an adult lap swim very early in the morning at 6 a.m. So this place gets quite a bit of use,” Patterson said.
Tristan Nelson, a manager at the swim club, worked as a life guard for five years prior to joining the staff two years ago. He really enjoys the family bonding he sees daily at the club.
“It’s a really family-oriented club. Most of the time, moms bring their kids here during the day. Families will come and barbecue for dinner in the evening,” Nelson said. “It’s a great way to meet different families, especially for kids who are younger, maybe before they get into elementary school. It’s great on a social level.”
Kathleen Mozak, a fourth year member, takes her kids to the club two to three times a week. She enjoys the children's programs and relaxing with her family.
“It’s a great community resource. We enjoy coming up and spending time with the many families we see from school and just getting to know all the other families from the area,” Mozak said. “You get a real sense of the Northville community here.”
Second year members, Wensdy Von Buskirk and her family were on the waiting list for several years. Now they enjoy the club regularly, even though things have changed since they first applied for membership
“We were accepted the same year we moved from Northville, but we are willing to drive from South Lyon because we haven't found anything like it here,” Von Buskirk said. “I really love the lessons. The swim coaches are great with the kids, and because the lessons are for a half hour every weekday, instead of once or twice a week at most places, the kids grow a lot."
Just like the day when the club first opened, families and the community are brought together with the common theme of fun in the sun – and water. With their ‘home away from home-like’ atmosphere and a little sunshine, learning to swim can be a relaxing, joyful experience.
Click here to visit their site to learn more about the Northville Swim Club.