This past Saturday was my 4th year hosting Tween Night at Georgetown Recreation Club. When I started as Social Dictator I had no idea what to do at events like this, or even what events I was supposed to do. Someone just said “oh we usually do a teen night”. And that was about all the instruction I got. So for any future social directors at one of our wonderful Dunwoody pools, here’s a few things I’ve learned over the years…
Focus on the Tweens, not the Teens
The high schoolers really don’t care about stuff like this any more. They can have fun amongst themselves at the pool, but they are way too cool to really participate in the group stuff.
But the tweens are awesome! They are respectful, helpful and there to really have fun. You’ll still hear the occasional “wheeee” when one jumps into a pool. So what is a tween? I try to define it as rising middle schoolers to any age in middle school. But every year I’ve lowered the bar on this, and we don’t ID kids at the door anyway. So if you’re a cool 10 year old, and walk in like you belong, you’re good!
Budgeting and timeline
Just about every pool party requires around $500 these days (minimum). The great thing about Tween Night is you don’t need much prep time. Plan a little the week before if you need to order stuff on Amazon, otherwise you can pull this together in 24 hours.
The cost breakdown for Tween Night this year, went like this…
- $68.99 hundreds of glow sticks (purchased on Amazon days before)
- $58.99 top tier prizes, like a $25 gift card (purchased on Amazon days before)
- $105 soda, chips, deserts (purchased the day of)
- $144.32 Five Below for pool toys / mini footballs / floats / small prizes (purchased the day of)
- $12 bags of ice (purchased moments before)
- $129.46 Marcos Pizza – a lot of $6.99 1 topping pizzas (purchased & delivered during the party)
If you’re toying with the idea of volunteering at your local club to host this event, notice it doesn’t take a lot of prep. Don’t overthink it.
I got to the club at around 6:30pm for a 7pm start time. Some of the kids were already there, and they were more than happy to help me inflate floats and unbox remote controlled boats from Five Below.
I had my good friend Jake help out this year. He told me the next day this event is actually more fun than our adult party because the kids are just so into it. Let’s face it, adult parties at the pool are just adults drinking like usual.
Try to find at least one other adult chaperone. It just can’t be a parent of a tween because this is their night to be parent-free. And that works both ways. A four hour tween night is plenty of time for parents to get dinner and see a movie.
Games for Tween Night!
Try to come up with at least 3 pool games so you can give away your top-tier prizes. They don’t have to take long, some only last a few minutes. Some suggestions…
- Pool Poker – throw a deck or two of waterproof cards into the pool and have the kids pull out the best 5 card hand they can. With 52 cards in a deck, you’ll need to toss in 1 deck per 10 kids. You can allow for some trading time after everyone has their 5 cards.
- Infinity Glow Sticks – as seen in the video above, this game was a blast but actually went really fast. I bought hundreds of glow sticks in the same colors as the Infinity Gems that Thanos collects from the Avengers movies. Tossed those in the pool for the kids to collect, but to make it a challenge to get all 6 “gems”, there was only 1 green in the pool. The kids of course love doing things with the glow sticks after the game. Don’t try to get away with NOT giving them the connectors. They will insist you hand them over.
- Anchored Frisbee Toss – I haven’t tried this one yet, but plan to next year. You anchor down frisbees (upside down) with fishing weights. The frisbees have different values, and the kids try to toss poker chips in them.
- Cardboard boat races – Another game I would love to try. This one though would take some work to get the cardboard ahead of time. But with duct tape, scissors and cardboard, the kids could assemble a boat to race later.
- Poker chip pickup in the deep end – In this game, we dump hundreds of poker chips into the deep end. Different colors have different values, so the hunt is on for some of the rarer chips. What happens though is the kids will dive down, put their chips in a stack on the side of the pool, and well, here…
Back up plan for rain
Unless you think it will rain the entire night, I try not to let a little off-and-on rain cancel the entire event. We have a poolside TV at Georgetown, so last year we had a Fortnite tournament to turn to when it drizzled, this year I brought a classic SNES to introduce the kids to Mario Bros. Watching someone play that isn’t holding down the B button to run faster is kind of annoying.
Kids aren’t that phased by rain anyway. As long as there is some cover to duck under, and food, they aren’t complaining. So don’t sweat the forecast!
Who to invite??
As many as possible! This event should be about making new friends BEFORE going into (or back into) middle school. Tell your club’s tweens to invite friends over for a sleepover and bring them all. This year I put an event in the Facebook groups for Village Mill, Vermack, Kingsley, Wynterhall, and hopefully someone shared word of it in the super-closed off Dunwoody North group.
Did posting in that many groups lead to a pool overrun with 100’s of kids??? Heck no, we had about 20 this year. So don’t be afraid to get the word out on NextDoor, Facebook, or even here at Whats Up Dunwoody (we will gladly post pool events that are open to all).
When to do it?
July is always hit-or-miss for this event attendance wise. Like I said, we were a little light this year (which is sometimes nice), but next year, I’ll either push it off until after school is back in session in August, or do it during Swim Team season in June.
The kids will ALWAYS want to stay longer, so aim for 7pm to 11pm. If you close down at 10pm (which is only 30 minutes after dark), you’ll have a revolt. Stay open until 11pm.
Is it free?
I’ve found that charging at the door for this event is just a hassle. Georgetown runs my company’s online pool management software (PoolDues.com) so charging $5 per kid ahead of time would have been a piece of cake, but it in no way would have covered costs. And for a once-a-summer-thing like this I think it should just be an event the pool puts on for the betterment of the community. If we did it every Friday, as a kind of “drop off your kid” thing, thats a different story. But all of us Dunwoody pools have a social budget and part of the reason the members are paying $500-600 per family is for things like this to be included.
Soap box time
Generally speaking club events are the only marketing / advertising a neighborhood pool ever does. Those signs in your neighborhood that say “Memberships available” don’t amount to any word-of-mouth. Events give your club something to broadcast out further than your Facebook group (which is mostly existing members anyway). Events bring guests to the club, and that’s how new members really discover what is so special about a neighborhood swim and tennis club.
So start planning something fun! If you’re reading this and haven’t stepped up yet to volunteer for something at your club, it’s never too late. Get on a social committee for next year, and trust me, it’s worth your time!