Aquatic Centre staff support Petersens

The following letters of support were submitted by the staff at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre. They were attached to a letter to High Prairie mayor Linda Cox, and copies forwarded to the parties mentioned in the foreword below. The support letters are part of a situation developing at the Aquatic Centre and High Prairie Recreation Board over the abrupt firing of pool manager Ginger Petersen and handyman / maintenance person, and husband of Ginger, Seth Petersen.

ATTN: LINDA COX MAYOR OF HIGH PRAIRIE RE: Seth and Ginger Petersen Termination of Duty completed by staff of the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board [Aquatic Centre Staff Members] April 4, 2017.

This letter will be sent to the attention of:

* Linda Cox, Mayor of High Prairie
* Arlen Quartly, Town of High Prairie Councillor
* Lori Matthews, Director of the High Prairie Regional Recreation Board
* Gayla Arams, Interim Aquatic Facility Manager
* Richard Froese, South Peace News

It is important to note that in no way was this letter coerced or forced to be written by Seth Petersen, or Ginger Petersen, formerly of the High Prairie Regional Recreation Board. This letter was created solely by staff members at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre on their own terms.

RE: TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT- GINGER PETERSEN, SETH PETERSEN APRIL 3, 2017

It has come to our attention that as of April 3, 2017, Seth and Ginger Petersen have been relieved from service at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre. As staff members of the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre, we collectively object the decision made by the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board to relieve Seth and Ginger of their services.
As staff members of the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre, we have compiled an individual list of testimonies and reasons as to why we believe that this decision may have been poorly executed.
As staff members of the High Prairie and Regional Aquatic Centre, we are in support and are standing behind Seth and Ginger Petersen at this time. Not only have Ginger and Seth made us feel personally appreciated and respected in our place of work, Seth and Ginger have also completed many things for the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre itself. There have been many occurrences over the course of their employment where we have individually seen Seth and Ginger going above and beyond for staff and for the community. Ginger has created many opportunities for us as staff members over the course of the past year, included [but not limited to] multiple training and supports for bettering us individually as staff members to ensure maximum safety and benefits for those in the community.
A concrete example that has been recognized by Red Cross would be of Ginger and Seth leading the pool and its staff members to two awards:
1) Most Sales for a Municipality of Under 5000 Persons,
2) Largest Program Growth 2015-2016.
These two awards have not only exemplified the achievements of the Aquatic Centre in bettering our community, however have personally made us as staff feel very proud of this accomplishment.
We feel very prideful in being continuously supported by Ginger in furthering our individual training, which in turn leads to community approval and pride in being able to access so many different avenues of swimming [i.e. water safety, swimming lessons for adults as well as children, community involvement and partnership through the 150 KM Swimming Through Time Challenge, etc.]
Ginger has facilitated all of these trainings for us, and has been extremely helpful, supportive, and flexible with us throughout these trainings.
Ginger continues to ensure that staff members are up to date on trainings, and continuously supports our learning as staff members in turn to benefit the community. We feel Ginger has continuously puts us as staff members first, and has vouched and fought for us in receiving raises for the work that we continue to do at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre.
Time and time again at meetings with the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board has Ginger attempted to compensate us for the training that we do, and time and time again we as staff have been shut down. We feel that in terminating Ginger’s employment, we are all individually being targeted and degraded by the High Prairie Recreation Board as Ginger was fighting for each of our individual compensations. Ginger continues to lead and fight for us as staff members at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre, and we feel supported by her as a manager.
Kind regards, Staff of the High Prairie and Regional Aquatic Centre

At this time we would like to include individual testimonies of our thoughts and objections to this recent decision of terminating Seth and Ginger Petersen’s employment with the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre.

Emma Delorme – Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor

“In regards to the recent dismissal of the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Center Managers, Ginger and Seth Petersen, I would like to voice my thoughts, concerns and objections to this decision. I strongly believe that this was an extremely poor decision made on behalf of the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board. Both Seth and Ginger Petersen were immensely dedicated to their jobs and positions as managers of the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre. I believe that the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board director will have a very difficult time finding a replacement who is as devoted to the job as Seth and Ginger were. Ginger is remarkable with all members of our community when it comes to the Aquatic Centre. She is the one behind the various events hosted at the Aquatic Centre that keep the community involved with swimming. Some include; The Swimming through Time challenge, Holiday swims [Swimming with Santa, Family Day free swim[, Aqua Zumba, Swimming lessons [Adults and Children] as well as a variety of training courses that she is certified to teach right at the High Prairie Aquatic Centre location. [First Aid, National Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor, etc.] Although Seth was not always present at the Aquatic Centre, if there was ever a problem with the water he would be there in an instant to resolve it. Being a certified Pool Operations and Maintenance Coordinator, Seth always ensured that the Aquatic Centre was running smoothly to offer the best swimming experience to our customers. I personally am quite affected by this decision, as Ginger and Seth were not only my managers but they worked very hard to develop a personal relationship with myself and in fact with all staff members of the Aquatic Centre. This aspect is what made us such a strong team. Seth and Ginger treated us with such a great amount of respect and that is one very powerful thing to cherish as an employee. For majority of our staff being young adults, Ginger was always very flexible with scheduling work shifts around our schooling hours, sports and extracurricular activities. She was always available to text or call, giving an immediate response if we had any problems at work or with our schedules. Both Seth and Ginger are very valuable and resourceful assets to the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre. These two people are exceptional individuals to work for. The Petersens work so hard to reflect good work ethic onto their staff members to keep this facility operating safely and efficiently. Ginger and Seth portray all aspects of what a true leader should look like. They are such diligent workers and I truly believe that the decision to dismiss them was an act of poor judgment. I am writing this letter in hopes that this decision can be reconsidered. This decision was very abrupt and has all members of the Aquatic Center staff very upset, disappointed and frustrated. For the time being, we have been advised by Ginger and Seth to continue to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and try to adjust to this unexpected change. I hope that you will take my concerns into consideration and investigate further into reconsidering this matter.”

Shane Farnham – Lifeguard and Shift Supervisor

“I’ve worked at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre just over a year now, with Seth and Ginger Petersen always having managed the facility. Even before I was hired at the pool, I, as a community member and not a staff member, was being encouraged to complete National Lifeguard courses by Ginger. I did complete them, as I felt very encouraged and motivated to do so. I was hired at the pool through an all-inclusive training process that Ginger facilitated which provided flexible dates that I could balance with another workplace of mine. This gave me great opportunity at the pool, and I have always appreciated what Ginger has done [and continues to do] for us to ensure that all things outside of working at the pool could be balanced into our lives. Ginger has always been extremely kind, fair, and inspiring to me personally as a staff member at the Regional Aquatic Centre. I know that Ginger does not hesitate to speak with staff members individually if they are having any issues, and I have seen first-hand Ginger giving up her own time to ensure that the pool would run smoothly and without any hiccups. I feel that there are some people who may not understand the things that we, as staff, seeing Ginger doing behind the scenes to ensure that the pool continues to grow in reputation in the community. I know that Ginger will personally address all issues, regardless how small, in an attempt to find a solution to continue to push the improvement of the pool. Therefore, it brings me a bit of confusion when Ginger is suddenly released from her duties as the manager of the pool, with us as staff not being given much for an explanation. Personally, I have seen nothing but positive leadership and motivation on part of Ginger and Seth. I respect that there is an issue with disclosure due to confidentiality within personnel- but I become more confused as to why Seth was released from his duties at the same time as Ginger. I understand Seth and Ginger both have managing positions at the pool, however I am unsure as to why two different managers from two different skillsets [i.e.: a community liaison and then an all-around maintenance worker] are relieved at the exact same time when I have not noticed any single major mishaps in day-to-day operations at the pool. If anything, I was confident that the pool was continuing to improve as a community centre under Ginger and Seth as managers. This suggests that the issue may have possibly been an interpersonal conflict and not an issue with Seth and Ginger as acting managers at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre. I’ve seen multiple staff members come together from the pool in an attempt to contest this decision made by the recreation board. I understand that we are a great team; however this team at the Aquatic Centre was created through Ginger as a positive leader for us. The workplace has always been an extremely positive work environment, as you truly feel as other staff members would back you if you needed any help. It is important to note that this letter is not meant as a personal attack toward anyone on the Recreation Board, Town, etc., however, more so as a letter as to potentially educate members around the community on what we have seen in Ginger and Seth as leading us at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre. I urge the reconsideration of this decision to relieve Seth and Ginger Petersen of their duties that was made on April 3, 2017. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I could be of help in any way.”

Ciarrah Fisher – Water Safety Instructor and Front Desk

“I want to express my deepest regrets that Seth and Ginger Petersen’s employment has been terminated in such an abrupt and unjust manner. After being employed with the rec board for a little over a year, I have had first-hand experience in what an amazing job they have been doing, and how hard they work. Every decision they have made has been in the best interests of the town and the Aquatic Centre itself. I would like to vouch for their amazing work ethic, and the fact that they made themselves available to every member of staff no matter the time of day or the type of question being asked of them. Ginger has been an amazingly hands-on boss who has been completely comfortable with answering the hardest questions and giving the best training. She has always been focused on the safety and happiness of the patrons and helping us to be the best team we can be. Seth has been an absolutely integral part in the operation and functionality of this facility, at times spending entire nights and sleeping at the pool to ensure it opens on time and is safe for public use. At any time that there has been any kind of emergency situation they have been willing to drop everything and come to the assistance of the staff, and help keep this facility safe for the public. There has been nothing in their interactions with the staff or the public in general that has been anything but 100% professional and ethical.”

Jimmy Delorme – Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor and Shift Supervisor

“Ginger and Seth were a pleasure to be managed by and it saddens me deeply to see them let go. Ginger was always there to help if you had any questions, and she was also a very open-minded manager. If I ever noticed anything around the Aquatic Centre that could be improved, she would always listen to and consider my suggestions, and would work to help me improve the facility for the public. During lesson times Ginger was always a huge help as well, as the first day is always hectic in that kids are registered in the wrong levels, and usually a lot of shuffling around has to be done. Ginger made lessons go by smoothly and effectively, serving the people of High Prairie as best as she could. Seth was also a huge help around the pool, when anything went wrong on the operation side of things he was always quick to provide a solution to the problem. Seth was also very informative, and if you had any questions about the day-to-day operations of the pool, he would gladly answer them for you. Both Seth and Ginger provided an incredible amount of knowledge and improvements to the facility since they became the management. Losing their prowess as management will certainly have an effect on the prestige of the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre.”

Brontë Backs – Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor and Shift Supervisor

“My name is Brontë Backs, I have been working at the High Prairie Aquatic Centre for three years now, including a time before Ginger and Seth were managers. I have also had all three of my siblings work at the Aquatic Centre for nearly a consecutive decade before me. I have spent the better part of my life being involved with Aquatic Centre endeavours and hearing of all the “goings-on” so to speak. I speak with great confidence when I say that Seth and Ginger are undoubtedly the best managers the pool has ever known. Not only are they highly experienced in running an aquatic facility, being that they have already run a much larger, city facility in Red Deer, but they have amazing people skills. They have brought us as a staff closer together and made us work not only as a team, but harder than ever before. Things were quite slacked before Seth and Ginger came to be managers. Before them, cleaning was done casually and lifeguarding standards were not always followed as they legally should have been. Ginger had to work her hardest to train everyone out of our bad habits and start taking on more responsibility for our work. Ginger has brought so many changes into our protocols and daily routine that make the pool safer and cleaner than it ever has been before. To only name a few: Ginger changed the disinfectants we use every day to a more effective cleaning solution than the one we had been using since the pool opened in 2007. She has also updated our daily cleaning duties and made it so things are always getting cleaned all the time. Ginger strongly enforced guarding patterns that the lifesaving society has said that we should legally follow for liability reasons. [Before Ginger came into management these guard rotations were briefly mentioned, but never enforced] Ginger created a Facebook group that lets us all not only form a better connection with one another, posting the occasional joke or acknowledging a job well done, but it also keeps us well informed at all times. Because of this it isn’t as often that people miss or are late for a shift. It also makes sure no one is ‘left in the dark’, we all have an equal opportunity to see changes and stay up to date with employee matters at the pool. Ginger and Seth have put their hearts and souls into keeping the water safe and open to the public. There have been multiple nights where Seth has stayed overnight at the pool to run pool operations in order to get the pool ready for the morning swims. I don’t want to see the pool going back to its lazy protocols like it was before them. I don’t want to see people not enjoying their shifts or things not being run so smoothly like how it is run with Ginger and Seth. In all frankness I don’t want to work at the pool without Ginger and Seth.”

Destiny McVey – Front Desk

“Ginger and Seth have positively impacted the Aquatic Centre and each staff member in it. With Ginger and Seth as managers we were offered many things such as courses that interested us, organization and routine, and personal support whenever we needed it. Not only were all of these things being done for us as a staff but for the community as well.”

Davis Isaac – Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor and Shift Supervisor

“Ginger is a very kind person who gives people the opportunity to grow and is always willing to give second chances for you learn from your mistakes. She is always willing to help with whatever you may need and will drop anything she is doing to come to the pool and help you.”

Taneille Crooks – Water Safety Instructor and Front Desk

“I am writing this letter to raise awareness for the concerns of us as staff of the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre towards the disapproval of Ginger Petersen’s termination at the High Prairie Aquatic Centre. Personally, Ginger has encouraged me to truly do the absolute best that I possibly could do. Ginger was an amazing example of a true and respective leader. She never showed the side of her that might have shown her weaknesses. Every day Ginger was more than extremely helpful and so very encouraging. She understood that everyone had their strengths and weaknesses and only tried to improve them. Without Ginger at the pool, things would be chaotic because of how much time and effort she put in just to make it a better place for not only the staff but also the community. Both Seth and Ginger were always there whenever they were needed and would drop whatever they were doing just to help out with whatever the problem may have been. It breaks my heart to see such a great boss like Ginger let go and I believe her impact on all of us at the pool was nothing but positive. Ginger was always there for you whether it was a personal problem or a work problem and tried to help in any possible way that she could. I learned so many personal and work skills just from working under her and watching her work with me. Ginger never stopped fighting for what she thought was right and what she believed would improve things here at the pool, no matter the cost or risks she would have to take. All she wanted was a positive work environment and she tried her best to get that for us.”

Abdullah Sharkawi – Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor and Front Desk

“Personally I believe that Ginger is one of the most reliable and most hard-working managers I have ever worked with. She assiduously strives to please the pool staff and patrons throughout the day, with no self-benefit. She talks to the staff and listens to their opinions and takes them into consideration, no matter how excessive the suggestion may be, because she genuinely cares about others. She wasn’t only just my boss, she was my friend, she taught me to be the best I could be and would always push me to strive for better. She taught me responsibility and proper work ethic and would go out of her way to teach me something the right way, which not many people would do. Not only does she strive to make the workspace a friendly environment, she also instructs many courses and activities to patrons all across High Prairie and Area. Without her, no one would be willing to instruct courses like water fitness and Aqua Zumba as well as Water Safety Instructor and National Lifeguard courses. Without Ginger the pool would be chaotic, and I believe every single member of our staff is thankful for everything she’s done for the pool. Not only is she fit for her job, she’s irreplaceable.”

Julia Isaac – Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor

“In 2015, I started work at the pool, as a front desk representative, while taking my National Lifeguard course and Water Safety Instructor course. I was trained by Ginger in both those courses. As my instructor Ginger set the standards high and encouraged me to do my best. In the fall of 2015 Ginger then took over as manager of the pool. She has set out clear staff expectations, increased community programming, and encouraged the professional development of her staff. As my boss, Ginger has provided me the opportunity to grow through constructive criticism and positive recognition. She and Seth both have increased the overall function and efficiency of the Aquatic Centre and its staff within our community. I feel strongly that the dismissal of Ginger and Seth is a disservice to our Aquatic Centre and community. Their knowledge, work ethic and programming at the pool will be irreplaceable. I strongly urge the reconsideration of this decision and hope you can recognize their invaluable service to our community over the past year. Thank you very much for your time.”

Amber Cottingham – Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor

“Ginger and Seth Petersen have made a huge impact on the pool just in the last year. They have great spirit and have hard-working ethics that have reshaped the pool atmosphere entirely. They spend long hard hours at the pool to keep things running smoothly and on track. They have really worked their butts off for this place. Ginger has provided tons of opportunities for staff and the community. With lifeguard courses, swimming lesson courses, water fitness classes, aqua Zumba classes, adult lessons, swim challenges and much more. She is amazing at what she does and is an amazing teacher and mentor. You can see all of Ginger’s hard work through the staff and facility. She has impacted each and every one of us and takes great pride in what she does. The public notices how much time and effort the Petersens put into this place and appreciate it more than ever. Before Ginger was the manager of the pool, the facility was all over the place and not properly managed. But now, Ginger and Seth have come a long way since then and have created a very successful facility. The public recognizes Ginger’s hard work because they can really see the difference in the staff training and overall experience at the Aquatic Centre. She sacrifices so much of her time for the pool and promotes greater things for the facility and staff. Ginger has shown me how to become a better worker and I am very grateful for having someone like her to be my boss. Without Ginger managing the pool, this facility will be left hanging and we would lose a lot of what she had to offer. Like her Aqua Z class, which many people went to and enjoyed every Wednesday. She also provided tons of staff trainings on how to become a better worker and life saver. Ginger and Seth deserve to have their positions back because they have turned the pool into a supportive environment for everyone and they have worked so hard to make the pool what it is today. I feel like no one can do a better job than Ginger and Seth Petersen. They have serious potential for this facility for years to come and deserve to keep their jobs.”

Bethan Larrabee – Front Desk

“Dear Madam Mayor, I am writing you because of events that unfolded yesterday, April 3, 2017, at the High Prairie Aquatic Centre. Unfortunately our “previous managers” Ginger and Seth Petersen were fired with, as far as staff members know, undo cause. We are unaware of the reasons for the dismissal but feel it has left us uneasy and in a compromising situation. As far as we have observed the management of the Aquatic Centre has been exceptional and there have been much positive feedback from regular patrons and visitors to the pool. I feel, under the management of the Petersens, it has been an environment that encouraged teamwork, growth, and helped youth in our community gain valuable life and employment skills which the Petersens have worked tirelessly to provide. They have worked hard to accommodate the schedule and situations of various staff, including myself, and are very concerned that new management may not have the same care. I have only worked at the pool since January 2016 which wasn’t much after the Petersens became management, and have seen great improvement on the condition and safety of the pool as well, which was a concern to myself and some of the patrons that frequent the pool and has continued to be an ongoing process to implement. The Petersens have tried to have a peaceable attitude and discuss concerns with the appropriate channels and though I don’t know all the facts, feel that their dismissal was in bad taste and something needs to be done to prevent the Aquatic Centre from being closed because of lack of staff and safety standards. Thank you for your time.”

Kristina Woodcock – Water Safety Instructor and Front Desk

“While working at HPRAC, Ginger has been more than just the manager to me, and I am sure to all staff at the pool. She has shown attention to not only work related issues but also any personal issues that the staff might have, making sure the staff are happy at work and at home. Ginger has brought me into her office on days when I’m not feeling my best and showed concern for my well-being. I have witnessed her do the same for other staff as well. Ginger constantly shows that her job is not just a “manager position” and takes the time to care for the community and her staff on a daily basis. Ginger and Seth have also always been readily available anytime of the day, a phone call or text and they will be at the pool ASAP. They are always willing to help, their knowledge of the facility is something immensely valued by all staff. Ginger also helped me to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. I started off as just a Water Safety Instructor, but Ginger pushed me to learn Customer Service and Front desk skills as well. I now have completed my Bronze Cross, Bronze Medallion and am on my way to becoming a National Lifeguard. All of these valuable certifications were taught to me by Ginger Petersen herself. Without her support I would have never pushed myself to further my value at the pool. The staff and community are feeling the hard repercussions of the decision to dismiss Ginger and Seth Petersen from the HPRAC. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

Laura Cannon – Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard

“Last year, before I moved to town, I would drive an hour to swim. Ginger was one of the first people I met in High Prairie. She was always welcoming, and full of energy. As I got to interact with her more and more she encouraged me to get my Lifeguard re-certification and my First Aid. As a teacher it was obvious that Ginger took many approaches to teaching her courses and was very inclusive and accommodating. When I moved to town I fiddled with the idea of working at the pool. She encouraged this, so I took my WSI course as well. Since working at the pool I can truly appreciate how much work Ginger puts into accommodating everyone’s requests, and needs. She is very flexible; she has high and fair expectations, and overall is a great leader for the staff. She is a proud community member, and has built solid relationships with patrons at the pool.”

Jacqueline Veniot – Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard

“In all of my experience working at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre the past year there has brought many changes that have resulted in so many aspects of the pool being run better than I’ve ever seen. The staff has become a team and the operation of the pool has been recognized at the level of importance it should be. With proper operations of the facility there is less wear and tear of the equipment and this saves money and keeps our patrons safe. Ginger and Seth have made the importance of its operations a priority and have enabled the majority of our staff to be capable of taking care in its operations. Ginger has also made it a priority to allow me to get my training so I can further my career and bring more to our facility just as she has. I have been able to use my skills to the best of my abilities because she made the courses and time available to me to advance and to practice as well as guide me where I needed it. I feel as though Ginger has done nothing but good for our beautiful facility, staff and community and it would be a great loss to have her leave us.”

IN CONCLUSION. . .

In addition to these individual staff testimonies, we encourage you to search local groups on social media sites discussing the major improvement of management and operations since the arrival of the Petersens at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre. It would appear that not only do the staff members of the Aquatic Centre disapprove of Seth and Ginger’s removal from duty, however; as do local patrons who, we, as staff, have come to know as regulars at the pool. We have noted a couple different patrons already writing the following complaints in regards to Seth and Ginger Petersen’s removal of duty on public forums:

Community Swim Patron 1

“Ginger was a huge asset to the pool. It’s never been so clean, well kept, polite, welcoming staff. She has by far brought more activities and programs to the pool and encourage participation and promotion there. Sure hope they have legitimate reasons for throwing the swimming community into turmoil, with this loss.”

Community Swim Patron 2

“Not to mention the swim lessons have been the best they have been in years. . .”

We hope that this letter finds you and that you consider each of our individual thoughts in our objection to the termination of Seth and Ginger Petersen. We hope that you will find this letter in good spirits, and that you will consider our individual testimonies about how Seth and Ginger Petersen have bettered the community of High Prairie through their individual work ethic at the pool. We encourage you to monitor public social media forums as well to see how the Petersens have positively affected them as community members as well. We hope to be in contact soon and thank you for your time.
– Staff of the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre.

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