A pool club for the people

Aug 6, 2013

Photo credit

Special thank you to Dispatches reader Rumi Matsuyama, who wrote to us with this cool idea. Thanks, Rumi!

In Mt. Rainier, Maryland, there is a private swimming pool that offers country club amenities, minus the country-club pricing.

And you can make it even cheaper by contributing just a couple hours of your time.

Prince George’s Swimming Pool (more commonly known as “PG Pool”) was founded in the late 1950s as a private pool run on a cooperative basis—entirely for and by its members.

Members pay a co-op deposit of $100 when they join, and annual membership fees range from $160 per adult to $60 for one child. (For two or more children, it's a flat fee of $120.) If you wish, you can earn your $100 deposit right back if you contribute 2.5 hours of service work.

Membership gives you access to all the elements of a summer getaway without leaving town: a 50-meter pool, a kids’ wading pool, swim lessons, volleyball, basketball, tetherball, ping pong, picnic areas, barbecue grills, a kitchen and a sizable sandbox. For those who need connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi.

Work duty can involve anything from cleaning the kitchen and grills, maintaining the sandbox or updating PG Pool’s website. Not too shabby.

Regular social events like concerts, movie nights and late-night pool parties serve to strengthen the PG Pool community.

There’s a kids’ swim team, and though they describe themselves as low-key, the team has won several division championships. (They’re not called the Killer Whales for nothing!)

This year, members collectively decided to power the property with solar. The idea was to improve the sustainability of the pool for future generations and lower the cost for all members.

PG Pool is clearly a hit—more than 700 families are currently on the waiting list.

Credit: Photos are from the PG Pool website and Flickr.

The 50-meter pool was recently renovated and has diving boards, a water slide and a deck.

The Killer Whales, the pool's community swim team, prioritizes teamwork and good sportsmanship.

There's a big pool for big people and a wading pool for the little ones.

The sandbox is one of the more popular spots.

Social events include movie nights, tent nights, concerts, barbecues and Oktoberfest.

The Silver Surfer keeps watch to make sure everyone is hangin' ten and chillaxing.

This is part of our summer series, "Let's Co-Vacation: Together we can own the summer again," where we highlight collectively-owned vacation destinations. We recently profiled the Three Arrows Cooperative Society in Putnam Valley, NY.

PG Pool is just one of the hundreds of New Mutualist organizations you'll find on our Quiet Revolutionary map! Are there any New Mutualist organizations in your area that belond on our map? Be sure to submit your idea!

Sara Horowitz

As the founder of Freelancers Union, Sara has been a voice for freelancers for over two decades.