Competitor Aquatics Professional of the Month is a recurring AOAP feature shedding light on an Aquatics Professional who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Aquatics Professional of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one director whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a manager who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite aquatics director wasn’t selected, feel free to submit their name and information below for future consideration (they must be a member of AOAP to be considered).
May 2019 Competitor Aquatic Professional of the Month
Renee Vanselow, CPRP
City of Greenfield, WI Parks and Recreation – Recreation Supervisor
Renee Vanselow has been a Recreation Supervisor for the City of Greenfield, WI since June 1991. She is responsible for the Aquatic, Playground, Fitness, Enrichment & Arts, Dance and Safety programs for a community of 37,000 located in the southwest section of Milwaukee County. In her tenure, the Aquatics programming has grown from just the Greenfield High School Pool to also include the Whitnall High School Pool.
Renee’s love for Aquatics began, when at age six, she saved the life of her infant brother. She was camping with her family when she announced “Look Dad, Robb is blowing bubbles”. She did not realize it at the time but her brother, who was sitting along the shoreline, had fallen face first into the water and was unable to right himself.
Renee is currently a member-at-large and American Red Cross Task Force member of the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association’s Aquatic Section where she has previously served as the chair elect, chair and past chair. She holds current American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, Lifeguard Instructor and Babysitting Instructor Trainer as well as the American Heart Association BLS Instructor Certifications.
Renee challenges her staff to be creative and innovative which is evident from their many recent Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association’s Aquatic Section Outstanding Aquatic Program Awards: 2018 for their Private’s Plus Program which is an internal student retention/quality control function, 2017 for their BY6-Beyond Level Six Swim Level which they developed as a way to keep children engaged in Learn to Swim upon completion of swim lessons so they come back as Lifeguards, and 2015 for their Mermaid Swimming which was created for children who have completed the American Red Cross Level Four as a way to keep swim fun yet develop their dolphin kick.
The Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association’s Recreation Section previously recognized Renee when she earned Silver Star Program Awards for the following Aquatic based programs: 2003 for Pool Cool Aquatic Sun Safety, 1999 for their Boy and Girl Scout Aquatic Badge Workshops, 1997 for their Halloween Water Carnival and in 1996 for CAST the Cooperative Aquatic Safety Team with Greendale Park and Recreation. Renee was also recognized as the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association’s Recreation Section Young Professional of the Year in 1998.
Greenfield Parks & Recreation Aquatics Program is a World Record Holder for their participation in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson in 2013 and 2014.
Renee served from 2003 to 2006 as a Field Coordinator for the National Recreation and Park Association’s Pool Cool Sun Safety Research Project where she received Distinguished Service Awards each year. Renee also served on the Greater Milwaukee American Red Cross Health and Safety Services Instructional Support Committee for 6 years, where they oversaw the Instructor Trainer recruitment and training process as well as quality control for both land and aquatic courses.
During her college years, Renee worked at a Girl Scout Camp in Northern Wisconsin on the waterfront staff for several summers teaching sailing, canoeing, and leading canoe trips down the Wisconsin River. She also worked for many local Recreation Departments, teaching Advanced Lifesaving, Parent Child swim lessons and Babysitting courses. Renee earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, Silver Award, and First class Award and went on to also earn the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge 2 Awards. During the summers of 2011 to 2013, Renee went back to Girl Scout camp, taking a week of vacation, to volunteer and teach Lifeguarding for a unit of campers who went on to work for the camp the following summers.
Since November 2012, Renee has been the Volunteer Transport Driver Coordinator for Tailwaggers 911 Dog Rescue. She herself is a driver and coordinates other volunteers to drive rescue transport from Habersham Animal Control located in Clarksville Georgia to Wisconsin where “fur-ever” homes are found having saved thousands of dogs from euthanasia.
Since February 2008, Renee has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Geocaching Association where they promote geocaching by holding events across the state of Wisconsin.
Renee lives in Waukesha, WI where she is “fur mom” to Maggie and Sandy, both Labrador Retrievers she adopted from the local shelter and Georgia.
After the 2019 AOAP conference this past February, Renee found a number of geocaches local to the Frisco/Dallas area. One just happened to be a virtual called the “Legacy of Love”. It is a monument tower erected to memorialize a couple who gave to their community. On the lower portion of this tower is a plaque with the words “What is Your Legacy?”. It was pretty awesome to be named for this award after finding that memorial and I hope you agree.
About Competitor Swim
Since 1960, Competitor Swim® has been the leader in the production of racing lanes and other swim products for competitions around the world. Competitor lane lines have been used in countless NCAA Championships, as well as 10 of the past 13 Olympic Games. Molded and assembled using U.S. – made components, Competitor lane lines are durable, easy to set up and are sold through distributors and dealers worldwide.