AOAP Celebrates a Successful Year of Diversity & Inclusion

By:  Tara Eggleston Stewart, AqP, AOAP Board Member & Diversity Liaison

As a member of the Board and the Association’s Diversity Liaison, I am thrilled with the commitment AOAP has made to being inclusive and providing members with valuable education, discussions, and opportunities to engage with other members of diverse backgrounds, abilities, gender, and sexual orientation.  For the past year, I have led the Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee with an outstanding team of AOAP Board Members and Association Members, all committed to doing we can to increase learning and engagement opportunities that support Diversity and Inclusion.

The primary goals of AOAP’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee include:

  • Develop Diversity and Inclusion content for AOAP’s social media, quarterly roundtables, and e-newsletter 
  • Recruit Diversity and Inclusion speakers and education sessions for the annual conference 
  • Recruit new members and promote AOAP to professionals from diverse backgrounds 
  • Promote AOAP’s Diversity Scholarship Program for Professionals and Students and Recruit Applicants 
  • Serve as the liaison for AOAP’s partnership with Diversity in Aquatics (DIA) and support AOAP’s Executive Director with implementation

The 2021-2022 Diversity and Inclusion Committee exceeded our expectations and accomplished even more than we imagined.  Some of the committee’s major accomplishments included:

  • Developed and submitted multiple Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) articles and content to AOAP’s e-newsletters
  • Worked with AOAP’s Professional Development Committee to incorporate Diversity & Inclusion learning and continuing education into the Core Requirements for the Designated Aquatic Professional (AqP) program for new and renewal applications.
  • Committee member, Kate Connell, developed a DEI webinar for the AqP Core Requirement for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Recommended Dr. Regina Lewis for the 2022 AOAP Conference Endnote and the DIA Convention Opening Session
  • Recruited speakers and submitted education sessions for AOAP’s Diversity and Inclusion Track for the 2022 Conference
  • Worked with AOAP’s Conference Education Committee to review all submitted education sessions for the new Diversity and Inclusion Track and offered recommendations for the selection of 10 sessions.
  • Submitted recommendations to AOAP’s Conference Education Committee Chairs to consider ways for improving Diversity and Inclusion within the session selection process.
  • Developed and hosted the Basic J.E.D.I. Considerations webinar for AOAP’s November 2021 Quarterly Roundtable
  • Continued to serve as the liaison with the Diversity in Aquatics Organization supporting their collaboration with AOAP to offer their 2022 convention in conjunction with AOAP’s annual conference

As we move into the next work year for 2022-2023, we invite AOAP Members to submit an application to join the Diversity and Inclusion Committee!  Below are just a few of the goals this committee will work toward and we need additional members to join us in accomplishing this work!

  • Increased Manager and Executive Leadership Development Opportunities – working toward acceptance and inclusiveness (bridging the gap)
  • Promotion of adapted aquatics training and certification opportunities for staff/instructors
  • Develop and distribute annual DEI member survey to gauge perceptions, ideas, challenges
  • Present to the AOAP Board of Directors DEI Best Practices (i.e. Statements, Code of Conduct, Goals, Strategies, etc…)
  • Create spaces for open discussion, communication, share experiences and challenges
  • Develop guidance on working with international populations/staff
  • Develop actionable items that can be implemented to support DEI in the workplace and/or school

As you can see, the Association of Aquatic Professionals Diversity and Inclusion Committee has much to accomplish and we look forward to implementing this very important work!

If you are interested in serving on AOAP’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, please click this link and complete an application today! 


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