Little Otter’s John Kirk Named U.S. Swim School Association Guiding Light Winner

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, November 13. LITTLE Otter Swim School, a Charlotte-area children's swim school, is pleased to announce that co-owner John Kirk was recently honored by the U.S. Swim School Association for his contributions to the organization and industry by bestowing upon him the 2012 Guiding Light Award. John was recognized for the honor at the annual association conference in Oahu, Hawaii last month.

As a 10-year member of the USSSA, John has contributed in several ways. He served on the USSSA's Public Relations Committee for three years: as a member in 2010, and the chair for 2011 and 2012. John has welcomed other swim schools for visits at Little Otter from around the U.S. and as far away as South Africa and the Philippines. This year, as committee chair, John ensured that the USSSA gained exposure to industry peers and the public through its monthly newsletter, its website and publicity for the “learn to swim” industry. He was instrumental in putting a new USSSA Social Media initiative in place and developing and nurturing an owners' forum. Both of the new initiatives have been received enthusiastically. In fact, the owners' forum has become a staple communication venue for many of the industry's school owners and association members.

“John is involved with numerous projects throughout the association. Despite his busy schedule at Little Otter, he welcomes the responsibility that accompanies this position of PR Committee Chair and strives to exceed expectations. With an unmatched work ethic and mentoring spirit, John has touched many and is an inspiration to all,” Sue Mackie, Executive Director of the USSSA.

John and his wife and business partner, Lory Kirk, have based their core values for their school on their love for teaching and children. The Kirks believe in providing quality swim lessons in a safe and fun environment, taught by caring and enthusiastic teachers.

While children learn they also gain respect and love for the water.

“It has been my privilege to watch Little Otter grow from the ground up. Through this time, John has remained humble, compassionate and supportive of all who enter the swim school doors. His fostering of positive relationships, both inside and outside of the company, has helped to promote our success and the strength of the swim school industry,” comments Sheri Buzard, Little Otter Office Manager since 2004.

“I love what I do in teaching children to swim. I help to provide children with irreplaceable skills, self-confidence and self-reliance. That transfers over to the USSSA because all owners benefit from and can do their jobs better with the support of a strong association,” comments Kirk. “I'm proud that I'm entrusted with the responsibilities associated with being a committee chair. The Guilding Light Award is a two-fold honor for me because my position and the duty that comes with it to strengthen our association is really the ultimate honor.”

The Kirks also put their unique expertise to work for their students. John's lifetime love of the water manifested itself in a SCUBA diving certification and extensive boating experience. Lory is an experienced elementary school teacher with degrees in both Elementiary and Early Childhood Education who also has coached and judged gymnastics, soccer and swimming. During the two years previous to opening Little Otter, The Kirk's traveled the world visiting and researching swim schools so they could blend the best of everything they knew, learned and saw into the school they opened in 2003.

About Little Otter Swim School
Little Otter Swim School was founded in January of 2005. The owners, John and Lory Kirk, had researched swim schools across the country and included the best ideas they found.

Starting from an original staff of 5 instructors, Little Otter has grown to over 30 instructors. Thousands of children have learned to swim at Little Otter Swim School. Little Otter is a proud and active member of the United States Swim School Association and also belongs to the World Aquatic Baby Congress, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and last, but certainly not least, is an international member of Swim Australia. It is through attendance at conferences and involvement with these organizations that Little Otter learns the very best of what is going on worldwide in swim instruction.

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World Magazine. It has been posted in its entirety without editing. Swimming World offers all outlets the chance to reach our audience by contacting us at However, Swimming World reserves the right to choose what material is posted.

Comments Off on Little Otter’s John Kirk Named U.S. Swim School Association Guiding Light Winner

Author: Archive Team


Current Swimming World Issue