The NDPA was officially formed as a 501(c)(3) organization in November of 2004. With a volunteer Founding Board of Directors representing multiple focus areas within drowning prevention and various areas of expertise (see Founding Board List) the organization quickly grew and prospered. Following are highlights from the NDPA’s history:
To fulfill the company’s corporate mission of reducing toddler drownings, D&D Technologies embarked on an endeavor to establish a national organization devoted to drowning prevention. D&D President David Calabria asked Maureen Williams, the company’s PR manager, to organize the first National Drowning Prevention Symposium. Clark County Safe Kids was the host agency for the first symposium, which took place in Las Vegas, NV and brought together aquatic safety organizations and advocates to discuss challenges and opportunities in the advancement of drowning prevention. While D&D continues to financially support the NDPA, many other companies, organizations and individuals have followed their lead in financially supporting the NDPA.
The volunteer Founding Board of Directors was formed and began meeting via teleconference on a monthly basis. Committees were established to address various focus areas within drowning prevention. The 2nd Annual Symposium was held in Phoenix, in conjunction with the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Central Arizona.
The 3rd Annual Symposium was held in Palm Springs, CA, as a “Partnership in Prevention” with local agencies including Riverside County Department of Health and Inland Empire Safe Kids Coalition. The in-person board meeting at the symposium generated energy and momentum to continue the growth of the NDPA. D&D Technologies underwrote the expenses for the NDPA to be officially established as a 501(c)(3) organization. Through additional sponsorship support from Riverside County Injury Prevention Services, the NDPA was able to establish our website. The first membership drive resulted in 85 members.
The Board of Directors focused attention on Strategic Planning in 2005. At the 4th Annual Symposium held in Austin, TX in conjunction with the Central Texas Water Safety Coalition, the Board developed a formal mission statement and value statement, and began laying out the framework for our Strategic Plan with short-term and long-term goals. The strategic planning committee met twice in California later that year to further develop the strategic plan.
The 5th Annual Symposium was held in Fort Myers, FL, with the host agency, SWIM Lee. Sufficient sponsorship funds were received, and with consistent profit from the annual symposium, the NDPA was able to hire a part-time contractor to handle all the administrative and bookkeeping duties, and to coordinate the NDPA symposiums with the local host agencies. This set the stage for rapid progress and expansion of services. Policies and procedures were formalized.
Again working with the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Central Arizona, along with the Phoenix Fire Department, the 6th Annual Symposium returned to Phoenix. The Swim for Life Foundation generously provided $20,000 to the NDPA as the first Presenting Sponsor for the 2007 Symposium. Additional sponsorships from D&D Technologies, IPSSA, Mary Glass-Schannault, Banner Hospital, MG International, Blue Buoy Swim School and many others, contributed to the $43,000 in sponsorship income. The Research & Data Committee of the NDPA issued their report on Measuring the Decrease in Child Drowning.
The 2008 Symposium in Irvine, CA, hosted by the Orange County Fire Authority, generated unprecedented momentum and support for the NDPA. The NDPA Board of Directors adopted a modified mission statement during their annual in-person board meeting. The new mission statement was designed to incorporate all aquatic safety areas and interests with the common understanding that “Drowning IS Preventable.” A tax accountant was engaged as a consultant to provide oversight for the NDPA’s financial record keeping. Developed and since maintained our website with public and member resources. An NDPA committee completed the group’s first official position paper, which was published in the International Journal of Aquatics.
From 2009 until now the NDPA has continued to grow, year after year. Our mission is shifting heavily to supporting our member organizations in their local fights against drowning. In 2014 we will be introducing programs and resources to help the members and chapters of the NDPA make sustainable differences in their communities. By leveraging the talent and skills of each other, the NDPA will become a stronger force than ever in the fight against drowning.