Pay It Forward: The value of volunteers

If you show up at the Homer High School pool early in the morning or after school on any weekday, you’re bound to find a group of kids ranging from 5 to 18 learning how to swim, perfecting their strokes and swimming lap after lap after lap to increase strength and endurance.

As our bylaws explain, The Kachemak Swim Club (KSC) “ … is dedicated to the development of excellence and achievement in competitive and recreational swimming. KSC provides an opportunity for social and emotional development that promotes confidence and positive self-esteem.”

Our club is not unique in that there are swim clubs all over the state, country and, in fact, world, getting youth in the water and giving them opportunities to excel as a swimmer.

One aspect of KSC that is unique is our location. While most clubs exist far from saltwater, we can see Kachemak Bay from the parking lot of the pool. While our goal may be to help kids learn to swim and give them opportunities to compete at more advanced levels, we also give kids in the Homer area a very real and immediate skills: the extra ability to swim in the event of a marine accident. Beyond this, our coaches, through practices and competitions, teach the kids discipline, teamwork, dedication and a sense of community.

At competitions, while our team members certainly support one another, they also interact with teams all over the state in healthy competition. Through multiple swim meets a year with other Kenai Peninsula teams, our kids interact with other swimmers throughout the borough. As they become more competitive, they also engage with teams and swimmers throughout the state and for the most competitive, our swimmers also engage teams from outside of Alaska.

All of this is completed, not only with paid staff (though our coaches are critical to the fulfillment of our goals), but through the work of volunteers. Each month a board of nine meets to plan swim activities and address the various concerns of the club. Beyond that, KSC hosts two swim meets a year. An army of volunteers gather to time individual races, staff a snack bar, maintain records, and complete myriad other tasks required to make a meet successful. Each volunteer, in their own way, participates in helping our kids not only become more advanced and competitive swimmers but also more mature citizens of our town.

Spending hours at a pool may not be for you, but throughout Homer there are dozens of nonprofit groups endeavoring to help various groups in our community to better themselves. Each, like KSC, needs volunteers to help further their goals to help make Homer a better place.

Sean Fry is a local father of four (three in Kachemak Swim Club), serving as president of the Kachemak Swim Club Board of Directors along with his wife, who serves as the secretary, and pastor of a neighborhood home church. He’s been living in the Homer area with his family for the last 3.5 years, prior to that he and his family lived in Seward and participated in the Tsunami Swim Club there.


— South Peninsula Haven House’s Children’s Advocacy Center is in need of comfort items for kids of all ages such as coloring books with crayons, activity books, stuffed animals, sticker books, stencils, coloring pads, markers, colored pencils, cozy blankets and fidget toys. Please contact Haven House at 907-235-7712 or drop off at 3776 Lake Street from Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

— Homer OPUS is looking for heated storage space (about 5’x10’) for our library of musical instruments that we loan to kids in need. Please contact

— Hospice of Homer could benefit from the return or donation of gently used medical equipment, medium gloves and monetary donations of any size. Please bring items to the office at 265 E. Pioneer Ave, Ste. 3 or call the office at 235-6899 for additional details. Homer Senior Citizens, Inc. would like to borrow someone’s flat bed trailer for the Fourth of July parade float. We would need to use it that last week end in June so we may prepare our float for the parade.

— The Homer Community Food Pantry is seeking camping gear including sleeping bags, pads, tents, cookware and camp stoves. Contact 235-1968 or drop off at 770 East End Road on Mondays between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

— Homer Senior Citizens, Inc. would like to borrow someone’s flat bed trailer for the Fourth of July parade float. We would need to use it that last week end in June so we may prepare our float for the parade.