Without tens of thousands more in donations, 1,300 Spokane kids will be left out of public pools this summer.
Spokane city pools open on Monday and Spokane County and Spokane Valley pools open Friday. With the number of kids on the free season pass wait list growing by the day, the need for donations is urgent.
Money doesn't concern 8-year-old George, who looks longingly at the A.M. Cannon Pool in the West Central neighborhood.
"My grandpa will actually get [passes] so we can go swimming this year," George said.
George and other boys at the park Thursday say the slide is the main attraction at the Cannon pool.
"You can race your friends on them," an 'almost 11-year-old' Nicholas said.
Nicholas is one of the hundreds of kids who has a free season pass already. The passes are provided by the "Make a Splash" program sponsored by the Spokane Parks Foundation.
"Sometimes the West Central [community center] makes it to where you can go there for free if you sign the paper, which I was smartly doing," Nicholas said with a smirk.
His friend Avian doesn't have a free pass and says he quickly learned the value of earning a $2 day pass.
"I have to, like, work for, like, a whole day just to get a dollar so..." Avian said.
400 more kids just like George, Nicholas and Avian will depends on community donations to spend the summer at this pool. That won't happen unless another $27,560 makes its way to the “Make a Splash” program.
"It's important for them to know that people care enough to get them into the pools," Make a Splash chairperson Jen Hussey said.
Hussey says some of the families on the long wait list for free season swim passes make just $10,000 annually, which is why pool passes for their kids fall by the wayside.
"It's very disheartening to be able to turn parents away," Hussey said. "You can see the sadness in their eyes because they just want to be able to give their kids a wonderful summer."
Whether it's an individual donation or a corporation cutting a check every little bit counts, because what's important to these kids isn't the cost it's not being left out of the fun.
"They need to know that people care about what happens with them, what they're doing during the summer so the ability for children to go swimming and not get involved in other activities that may not be healthy for them," Hussey said.
Further spreading community awareness and spirit and despite Thursday's disheartening news about low donations, a local Girl Scouts troop donated 25 new swimsuits to the Make a Splash program. They will go to low-income families.