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Aquatics Committee considering possible ‘OP-palooza’

By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer

(Nov. 24, 2022) The Ocean Pines Aquatics Committee is brainstorming ideas for a special event that will promote all that the association has to offer.

Committee chair Ellen Hench described the effort as one of her pet projects, saying it’s something that could benefit the community in light of current events in Ocean Pines — a way to lift the OPA’s reputation.

“It would be timely for us to have an event to bring people together in a community-pride-type of event and at the same time we can showcase our wonderful amenities and perhaps bring on reluctant people to sign up or even renew avid members of golf, swim, et cetera,” Hench said.

She listed potential targets such as those who may have dropped off the membership roster and those who just haven’t gotten around to exploring all the community has to offer.

“I just thought it’s time for us to have some sort of ‘lollapalooza’ Ocean Pines … event to bring people together to provide opportunities (for members) … to see firsthand what’s available to them. It would also be a showcase for people who own property,” she continued. “There are a lot of different benefits.”

Hench did stress, however, that these ideas are just in the planning stages and said that nothing concrete is imminent.

“We’re (expressing) our thoughts to other committees and asking for their input and we will be asking (the Ocean Pines marketing team) for their input as well,” Hench said. “(Ocean Pines General Manager) John Viola said it sounds like a decent idea. But certainly, we have to be cognizant of the cost versus the benefit. That’s what we’re trying to establish (these parameters), to see what it’ll take.”

Some of the committees she mentioned are the Recreation and Parks, Golf and Racquet Sports committees, as well as reaching out to the Matt Ortt Companies, which handle the association’s food and beverage amenities.

Again stressing that nothing is firmly established, Hench allowed herself to speculate on what the event could look like.

“Being a former actor with the Ocean Pines Players, if you ask me, it’s a very different thing than asking someone else,” Hench said. “With me, you’ve got bands going, drinks, food, you name it — fun, fun, fun — games and all sorts of different activities. (There could be) kiosks designated to different amenities, maybe some videos and demonstrations going on, live demonstrations with golf.”

“But there’s no money associated with (this project) at this stage. It’s just us talking.”

After this discussion, the committee mulled the benefits of perhaps broadcasting their meetings live online, which could be a benefit to committee members who struggle to attend live and also give association members a look inside the committee.

The committee is also looking into family memberships regarding the association’s pools.

Hench said there are some perceived feelings of inequity when it comes to what constitutes a family — a two-person household or perhaps a family with two parents and multiple children for example.

“We’re just looking at different options to level the playing field a little bit, exploring and brainstorming different ideas,” she said.

Currently, there are no more scheduled meetings of the Aquatics Committee in 2022.