The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

“The Josh Project” Swimming Instructors are Swim Lessons University Certified

As fate would have it, I met executive director Tankeeya Butts of the “The Josh Foundation” in an elevator on the way to my hotel room at the National Drowning Prevention Alliance symposium earlier this year in Fort Lauderdale.  We quickly recognized each other and had a wonderful conversation.  After our talk, Tankeeya decided she was very interested in Swim Lessons University and they attended our post conference swim instructor workshop at the event.  Within days after the conference, The Josh Project became SLU’s latest learn-to-swim program to take advantage of our swim teacher training system.

On behalf of Swim Lessons University, I am humbled, honored, and proud to welcome our newest program which takes place at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio–The Josh Project.  Led by Wanda and Tankeeya Butts, The Josh Project is now implementing the Swim Lessons University curriculum and swim instructor training and certification.  The Josh Project was founded in memory of John-Joshua Butts (Josh) who never had a swimming lesson, could not swim and drowned at the age of 16 on August 6, 2006.

I can’t end this blog without sharing the story behind “The Josh Project” which was also featured on CNN.  Ironically, I show this same video to my new swim instructor staff every year. Why? Because it communicates to our new swimming instructors that we do so much more than teach children to swim.  We are potentially saving lives every day. If this story I have embedded below doesn’t inspire you to teach with all your heart, to help you understand the importance of your job, to help you understand the difference you are making, nothing will…

Swim Lessons University Instructors and programs are now in 27 states and nine countries.  The state of Ohio and Florida have most recently adapted the Swim Instructor Certification and Training.

April 27, 2013 at 11:05 pm Comments (0)

Focus on “User-Benefits” in Your Swim School Marketing


I recently attended a fascinating talk by Dr. John Crompton. In his keynote speech at the Midwest Conference in South Dakota, he emphasized that we need to STOP MARKETING, SELLING, AND PROMOTING, and instead FOCUS ON USER BENEFITS & HUMAN NEEDS. He said if you are going to sell Mr. Johnson what Mr. Johnson buys, you have to know how to sell through HIS EYES.

One of his slides that I thought was very interesting highlighted why children and adults alike participate in sports and recreation activities. Each of these represent basic human needs:

  • Social Recognition
  • Excitement
  • Ego Satisfaction of Achievement
  • Security of Belonging to a Group
  • Social Interaction

He also challenged the attendees to ask Three Questions:
1. How much market research do we do?
2. Why do we do what we do today?
3. What are we doing different than what we did 5 years ago?

Below I have shared a short clip of Dr. Crompton explaining the importance of what we are selling to our parents, and that we are actually selling human needs, not the activity itself:

Dr. Crompton not only holds the rank of University Distinguished Professor, he is also both a Regents Professor and a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University. He currently teaches exclusively for the Department of Parks and Recreation, and is the most published scholar in the history of Parks & Recreation.

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April 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm Comments (0)