“I love my job because I do something different every day,” she said. “It is not monotonous. Today, for example, I got to work around 6:45 a.m., did daily maintenance at Dellinger, by 10 a.m. I was helping cook hot dogs for the youth fishing tournament and by the end of the day I had been to all three of the swimming pools and seen 160 kids come to the pool for swim lessons and 109 for swim team.”
Name: Kristin Strickland
Occupation (title): Aquatics coordinator, Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department
City of residence: Euharlee
Family: Partner, Jennifer Heath. She is in the U.S. Army and currently on a mission deployment overseas. We have one dog, Dakota.
Education: B.G.S. General Studies, Georgia Southern University; M.S. Sports Management, Georgia Southern University
How long have you been working at Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department? What are your responsibilities as aquatics coordinator?
A: I have been working for CPRD (Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department) for seven years and it is by far the most rewarding job I have ever had. I oversee everything that goes on with the three swimming pools inside the city (Dellinger Park Pool, Senior Aquatic Center and Aubrey Street Pool) and I run programs out of the Adairsville High School Pool. I supervise lifeguards, swim instructors, exercise instructors and swim coaches. I run all programs to include swim lessons, Swim Team, Jr. Lifeguard and Senior exercise programs. I maintain pool chemicals and make sure all the pools are maintained properly. Outside of pools, I work with my amazing co-workers to make sure that the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department is one of the best departments in the state.
What led you to this line of work?
A: Like most aquatics people I started lifeguarding and moved my way up from there. I went to Georgia Southern University (the best school in the nation) for college and the university had a pool where I taught swim [lessons] and lifeguarded to earn some extra money. During the summers I would run an aquatics program for a nonprofit off the coast of Savannah. When I graduated with my bachelor’s, Statesboro Parks and Recreation Department just finished building a water park and I was hired to run all the programs there. I worked there for three years and the job here in Cartersville came open and I was hired here. I have been very lucky; I have had three jobs in my life and all having to do with swimming pools.
Describe the improvements made to the Dellinger Park Pool, and what has it been like to see the public’s response to its enhancements?
A: The remodel and construction of the new Dellinger Park Pool turned out better than I imagined. We spent a lot of long hours and asked a lot of favors from a lot of people inside the city to have a new swimming pool. I cannot even begin to say how much my boss Greg Anderson put into this pool. Also our other recreation staff, maintenance supervisor, water department, electric department, public works department, IT department, without them we would not have the pool. Thank you.
We built a new building that includes new bathhouses, new lifeguard room and new concessions. We changed the entrance to the pool. We added a zero depth entry into the pool and 24 water features that shoot water in all different directions. We added a bulkhead wall right in the middle to allow us to move our swim lanes to the deep end of the pool so it will be safer for swim team to dive in. We powder coated the diving board to keep it from rusting. We have new pool lights outside the pool that make the pool much more bright at night. We made the pool ADA accessible so everyone can enjoy the pool.
The response we have gotten is great. We are seeing that more families are coming to the pool. We had 493 people last Saturday come to the pool. We are packed. The pool is more fun now.
What is the most rewarding part about your line of work?
A: I was just talking about this today with some of my staff. It is the relationships I have made — watching the kids, swimmers or young people that are in my programs, or that I hire grow up and become productive citizens in our community. I have staff and/or participants that are graduating college, getting married, having children, going off to the military, etc. … I get to say, ‘I knew them when.’ I did not grow up here in Bartow County and have only been here for seven years, but in those seven years I have met the most amazing people. I am pretty sure Cartersville will be my home for the rest of my life.
What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
A: Professional achievements I have two. The first being when I became certified as a Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP). I became CPRP certified five years ago; I was one of 34 people in the state to be certified in my profession. There are many more CPRPs now. I am the only CPRP at the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department and I believe the only one in Bartow County. The second is when I became District Commissioner over the 5th District for the Georgia Recreation and Park Association.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
A: Dependable, free thinker, impatient.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I am a twin. I have a twin sister and yes, we look just alike. She lives in California.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A: Find a job that you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Sunday Funday. My friends and I have been getting together for Sunday Funday for years. I have the best friends in the world and every Sunday we usually do something like cook out, watch sports, go to the lake, etc. … I also love to read my Kindle.
Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
A: Lake Allatoona. My friends and I have a boat and during the summer if I have a spare moment I get on the boat and find a cove and swim, read or just hang out.