Glyndon Swim Club holds 'family' appeal for members

Community Times

Milton Dodge and his family often go to the Glyndon Swim Club to relax, especially on work nights in the summer. The Glyndon resident and his wife and two children will also head there on the weekends to simply chill out.

Dodge said they will arrive at the club three to four times a week as they love what they say is a family-friendly environment there.

"We've got a lot of friends who come here," Dodge said. "On Friday night, we'll get a pizza and hang out here."

That is a primary reason why the club is still very much alive and doing well at age 86 and why families pay the $655 membership fee for the season. The Glyndon Swim Club, which opened in 1931, remains a popular part of the community each summer when it operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The club, tucked away on Central Avenue, just off Butler Road, minutes from the end of Route 795, offers plenty for children and adults. The main attraction is the long swimming pool, which draws both swimmers and nearby loungers.

But the club is not just about swimming. Patrons can play volleyball or shoot hoops, and the children can have fun on climbing equipment they could find on a playground.

In other words, there's something for people of all ages during the hours of operation — Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday, 11:30-9; Saturday, 11-9; and Sunday, 11-8.

"I feel like it's summer and so many kids are tempted to stay in … I think parents are worried about that," said Jennifer Harrison, the club's general manager. "If they are at work, they want to get their kids out. This is an easy way to do it; they get to be with their friends."

Harrison, a teacher at The Sacred Heart School of Glyndon during the academic year, is in her eighth season working at the club. She said 100-125 people could come by on a busy day, and the club has about 150 family memberships — numbers that have been increasing.

In addition to the normal pool hours, every other Friday the club stays open for events aimed at teens, like movie nights and crab feasts. Harrison said the kids and families all seem to enjoy the atmosphere.

"When people come here, we're careful about language and (being) appropriate, and the way people behave," she said. "Our staff is super vigilant about watching all the grounds, not just the pool."

Jack Clements, 19, is part of the staff, but he also has been with the pool for many years. This is his fourth summer working there, but the Towson University student began coming to Glyndon around age 7.

He learned how to swim there and became enamored with the possibility of becoming a lifeguard. That's just what he did when he reached the required age, 16.

There is no question, though, that holding down the job at the club means more to him because of all the time he has spent there.

"It's a great area, a great community, and a lot of people come out to this pool," said Clements, a Franklin High graduate. "There's no pool that really has this connection with the lifeguards and the staff. It's really a big family here, and I think that's what makes this a really popular pool."

The word "family" repeatedly comes up when talking to people who work at the club and those who attend. Harrison said there isn't much turnover at the Glyndon Swim Club.

In general, Harrison loves working with her staff. Most are high school or college students whom she has watched grow up — just like a family.

"I get to see the staff for years," she said with a smile.

And while there are plenty of things for people to do at the club, swimming or socially, most times just the experience of being there seems to be what members enjoy most, and why people like Dodge keep coming back.

"Our soccer community, our lacrosse community, everybody sort of congregates [there]," Dodge said. "It's just sort of the overall experience."

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