Jen McGregor helpos create an accessible pool experience

Marian Gillard presents one of the hardest working members of the Arts and Rec Centre staff

Jen McGregor is a longtime Rec Centre staffer.

Jennifer McGregor has been working at the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre for 26 years. She started at 16 years old.

As a child she lived with her parents who wanted to make sure all of their four daughters knew how to swim from an early age, so they built a backyard pool. The girl became proficient and Jennifer and one of her sisters became quite competitive at swim meets.

I met Jen when my husband was wheelchair bound. She gave him swimming lessons which he loved and they had a special rapport. She used the lift to get him in and out of the water.

She has several clients each week including a stroke victim.

Lynn Dunkley was in an accident some time ago and Jen encouraged her to try swimming as part of her recovery. She learned quickly and had such confidence because of Jen’s encouragement, that she would take her wheelchair to the deep end and plunge right in.

However, most people who use a wheelchair get in and out by the lift which is safe for anyone up to 600 pounds. Jen makes sure that people don’t feel they are on display. The hot tub is also available for those who can access it.

Jen also works with children of all ages and she especially enjoys her class with children from four months to five years of age.

For people facing surgery, doctors will often recommend a session in the pool before and during recovery. A referral is not necessary but Jen will meet with you and discuss your program.

Lynn says the swimming program helped her tremendously. I agree with with her that Jen is an upbeat, open-hearted person. Everyone I talk to is glad to know her.

Marian Gillard is a seniors’ advocate and regular Observer columnist.