Having the only indoor pond-building classroom that we of Pond Pro Shop, retail division of Unit Liner Co., are aware of has allowed us to offer free classes throughout the season for the last six years. Our classes are well attended and we try to keep each class interesting.
An idea for a pond build for just ladies doing the build came about as I listened to several of our female customers who were having to build their own water features and were looking for ideas. Realizing there might be more than we were aware of who were in the same circumstance, we decided mid-season to offer one of our pond builds to “ladies only.”
After making the decision we invited all the ladies who work in the aquatic departments to join us in this endeavor. We have each been trained on how to build a pond and sell pond products and we had each worked some on ponds of our own; but to build a pond starting from beginning to end had only been theorized or observed.
Once the idea began, we all got more and more excited. We decided to make it a “pink” for girls’ day with balloons and pink pastries, etc. We had pink tee shirts designed with a “Rosie the Riveter”-type lady on the front with the words “dirt don’t hurt.”
We asked through our newsletters and Store requests that ladies pre-register in order for us to know how many might be attending. We put together gift sacks for each attendee just to make it a unique day. Inside each sack was a tee shirt, pair of pink gloves, note pads, pens, a bottle of water with the “dirt don’t hurt” label, and pond-building instructions. We finally stopped the registering numbers at 60 thinking that with those who had not pre-registered and “just walked in” we could have a very large class.
As time neared, we “aquatic ladies” had a practice session to assure ourselves we could do the class without embarrassing anyone. We all became comfortable and assigned “tasks” to different ones, e.g. installing the skimmer and waterfall. Mentoring us was Juan Lopez who usually does the physical part of our pond build classes.
Our in-house computer/camera-guy Kelly Nuttall videoed the process placing it up on a screen for all attendees to better see what was going on. As you can imagine, almost anytime girls get together there is a lot of laughter and fun involved. So we used this to our advantage. We placed a row of chairs “at the back of the classroom” for men only. We placed fans all around the classroom…end of July…hot summer…women…need we say more?
On class day, we had pink balloons throughout, “women-working” signs displayed and plenty of food and drink. We all had our pink “dirt don’t hurt” shirts and pink bandanas around our hair similar to our “Rosie the Riveter.” We had 57 ladies in attendance and a few men.
The hole was dug and all necessary products at the ready. As I talked step by step per our guide, each of the girls grabbed the underlay and liner and installed them. They continued to demonstrate how to install the skimmer, pump, waterfall filter, tubing and the rest of the items needed for building the pond. Yes, they even placed rock and cobblestone in and around the pond. Our ladies are “not afraid of dirt” nor work.
When all was installed, water filled the pond, and pump was started. Cheers arose when “guess what” it worked? After we finished the build, we moved on to a previously “hidden” section to show how to build the same size pond easier and faster.
Again the hole was dug. The girls placed a “Universal Rock” pre-formed very natural looking rock pond and waterfall by simply placing the sections into the hole; installing the pump and tubing; filling with water and turning it on. As the pond was filling with water, the girls placed plants and flowers around the pond, a bench and other décor showing in fact, you truly could complete a pond plus landscaping in just a short amount of time. “Just have a party.” I’m not sure who cheered the loudest, those of us who built the ponds or the observers. At any rate it turned out to be a great day. Fun for all!
We were asked when we have 18 classes a year, 14 of them actual water features, with number of attendees ranging from 20 to 90, why this one was “such a party” including gifts? Our answer was as women, we know that most women like to do things together and make a party out of just being together so we treated this new class a little differently. Of course we always offer snacks of some sort at all our classes, always have handouts and do our best to make each attendee welcome.
Will we do it again next year? It is unknown at this time. There will always be a “special need” for a different class. We will just have to see what surprises come up this year. Keep in touch…we’ll let you know.