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Berkeley Heights Families Speak Out in Favor of BAC’s New Aquatic Center

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BACK the BAC’s campaign is motivated by the children of our community, to provide more services and better opportunities to them and to all the residents. 

It is no surprise to anyone that participation in sports promotes academic achievement and builds valuable life skills. We, as all parents from Berkeley Heights, want to provide our children with all the things that will make them happy, successful and responsible citizens.  Any organization that has been positively influencing the lives of children and families for 36 years, and wishes to expand its services to reach more residents, primarily children, has our support and vote.

We are writing for all our fellow Berkeley Heights’ neighbors that are also disturbed by the continued untruths that are being generated by the Stop the Bac campaign.  Stop the Bac’s campaign has shown that their statements are at worst, intentional lies, and at best, misinformation.  Because of Stop the Bac’s incessant negative campaigning, BACK the BAC has had no choice but to focus on combatting their inaccuracies.

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Let’s talk about the facts: All the professional studies have been completed and all the reports are in.  Our taxes will not increase due to BAC; on the contrary, the town will be getting additional sewer revenue.  Traffic currently 100% on Berkeley Heights’ roadways will move to I-78. Chlorine will not be dumped into our sewer; it will be treated the same way it is treated at Lifetime Fitness’ pools. Emerson Lane could not ask for more considerate neighbors than BAC.  BAC has gone above and beyond what is required to accommodate the families of Emerson, including closing the entrance on Emerson, adding more berms, fencing and trees, and even changing the center’s façade to better blend with its surroundings.  The quality of life in Berkeley Heights will be preserved.  After all, BAC is one of the reasons that make Berkeley Heights such a desirable place to live!  Shame on you, Stop the Bac, for continuing to spread rumors!

Since we are being bombarded with Stop the Bac’s negative campaigning, we want to share with you a few of the many positive stories about the Berkeley Aquatic Club from our neighbors in Berkeley Heights.

 

“BAC is not like any other swimming club.”

By Amy and Joe Meisner, Farm Gate Rd

 

If you believe how some have characterized BAC, you might believe that this is an exclusive organization whose goal is to train only a small subset of elite swimmers.  As Berkeley Heights’ residents and parents of three children who swim for BAC, we can attest that this could not be farther from the truth.  After swimming for the first time with their swim club last summer, both girls decided that they wanted to join a swim team all-year round.   Both tried out for a local YMCA team.  Neither of our girls made the YMCA swim team.  A week later, they tried out for the BAC team and both were accepted, flaws and all.   They had a tremendous first season –going from never competing to both qualifying for two events at the NJ Junior Olympics, which is a huge accomplishment.    We have seen our girl’s confidence soar since they joined the BAC family and it has spilled out into their academic performance. 

Seeing how much fun his sisters were having, our twelve-year-old son decided that he wanted to be part of it too.  Never competing a day in his life, he too tried out for the team.  One of the coaches told us, “Never stand in the way of a child who wants to try.”  Although he has not yet had the success of his sisters, he has shown tremendous improvement and has found a place that offers him continuous encouragement to reach his goals (whatever they may be). 

If it were not for BAC giving our kids a chance, they would not be swimming now.  BAC is not like any other swim club.  The age group teams at BAC offer kids of all levels the chance to see what they can become.  No one expects any of the swimmers to walk in Olympic champions or to even become Olympic champions.  The emphasis is on improving and being part of a team of dedicated swimmers of all levels. 

 

“The unexpected benefits of being a part of a well run swimming community are too many to count.”

By Janice and Jeffrey Gold, Overhill Way

Our experience with Berkeley Aquatic began, when we moved to Berkeley Heights.  My husband was a competitive swimmer as a kid, grew up in nearby Hunterdon County and remembered hearing about the great swimmers coming out of BAC.  Since BAC still had a great reputation, we naturally enrolled our daughter in swim lessons and she quickly moved up to the beginner level swim team.  It was a great way to ease into competitive swimming.  A few years later, she was a gold level swimmer competing in the Junior Olympics.  Her brother also swims for BAC and is inching towards his first gold time as well.   Jeff has started swimming again, too, practicing with the Masters program and competing in local meets as part of the BAC Masters team.  I love that BAC offers programs for all ages!

The day-to-day cardio training that they get at swim practice has helped them succeed in other sports as well; last year our daughter won first place in her age group in both the Berkeley Heights Mother’s Day 5K and the Berkeley Heights Youth Triathlon, and our son took second place in the Triathlon.  The only training they had for these events was swim practice. 

The lessons and training that the kids get at BAC go far beyond the pool.   The unexpected benefits of being a part of a well-run swimming community are too many to count.  The emphasis on goal setting has kept them striving to better themselves the entire time they have been swimming.  They have learned resiliency and determination, and this has lent them a great deal of self-confidence.  They have also made so many friends from amazing families.  All these positives have influenced their every day activities, including their schoolwork and their social interactions. 

 “The coaches want me to be the best, both in and out of the pool.”

By Caroline Henderson, Orchard Road

Being a part of the Berkeley Aquatic Club has been the best experience of my life. I have been coming to Berkeley ever since I was 4 years old. I first started by taking swim lessons and eventually joined the swim team when I was 9 years old.  I am now 18 years old.

BAC is very unique from many other club swim teams. The coaches truly care about their athletes and want them to succeed both in and out of the pool. BAC not only teaches their athletes how to swim but life lessons. The memories that I will take away are not how fast I swam at a meet but the friends I have made and the lessons I have learned. The kids that swim at BAC are the best of the best. Berkeley pushes excellence both in and out of the pool.  The biggest way that you can see that is by looking at all the colleges Berkeley alumni have attended. I would never want to train with any other team because of the atmosphere Berkeley has. Everyone at Berkeley is very friendly and loving. The team feels like a big family.

The coaching staff at Berkeley has helped me continue my passion for swimming and I will be continuing my swimming career at Susquehanna University next year. The coaching staff at Berkeley has helped me form into the well-rounded person I am today. If I never swam I Berkeley I can’t say I would be the same person I am today. Jim Wood, the head coach of the Berkeley Aquatic Club, has impacted my life in so many positive ways. Jim has given me the confidence to do things I didn’t know I could do.  He has pushed me, sometimes even more then my parents, to succeed in school and to be the best I can be.

The Berkeley Aquatic Club has a very good reputation in the swimming world.  BAC has won countless state championships and is one of the top programs in the country.  They are forced to turn away hundreds of swimmers every year due to the fact that the current facility is not capable of having that many swimmers. Every time a swimmer is turned away from Berkeley, that is another dream that is being crushed.   With the new facility Berkeley will be able to reach more athletes and continue its tradition of excellence.

 

We all live very different lives and come from different backgrounds, but no matter what side you are on in this debate, we all share a responsibility to our children and our grand children.   We chose to raise our three children in Berkeley Heights because we knew it was a high-achieving town.  The New BAC will only enhance our lives and the lives of our children.  A state of the art, world-class aquatic center is welcomed in our neighborhood.   Please vote YES on May 7th.   YES to giving more families the opportunity to create their own inspiring stories!  Thank you.

 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

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