Trish Richardson, a self professed “garage sale addict” and lifeguard at the Sapulpa Boys & Girls Club, has used her bargain treasures to brighten the Sapulpa Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, just as her energetic personality brightens the water aerobics classes she lifeguards. Trish has decorated practically every inch of the area surrounding the Olympic-sized pool in addition to the locker rooms and hallways. Every room has at least one decorative theme, such as dolphins on the women’s vanity and rubber ducks on the girls’ vanity. The women’s locker room has the feel of an antique shop, with pastel-painted lockers draped with rose colored fabric and topped with china figurines.
“I know anybody could take the decorations, but I don’t mind because if they want it that badly they should have it,” Trish said. “After all, I didn’t pay much for it to begin with!” And, she sometimes lends the decorations to club members, such as lending a purple-blue swag to a member who dressed up as an April shower to attend a costume party.
Trish and her husband Larry, who was recently voted one of three Sapulpa Boys & Girls Club Volunteers of the year, enjoy attending garage and estate sales and filling up the back of their pickup truck with their finds. Larry is retired from the military and fixes things around the club. He heard about the opening for a lifeguard at the club and decided his wife needed something to do. However Trish had never lifeguarded before. She took the training needed to become certified and has been in the job since 2008.
As Trish began sharing her garage sale treasures with the club, word spread that she could make something special out of almost nothing, and people started calling her to see if she wanted their old stuff. One person who called her donated a long bar with matching barstools which now serves as a buffet used when the water aerobics class has pot-lucks.
“We’ll have 30 or 40 people, so we needed something like this,” Trish said. It’s decorated with a nautical theme, with statuettes of fish and other unusual touches. The pool area is also filled with plants which are thriving in the warmth and humidity. “People ask me to babysit their plants while they’re out of town. They do so well here, some people decided to leave them,” Trish said. Some of the plants have ‘wildlife’ around them, such ceramic frogs and raccoons. There’s also a “Grandkids Crossing”, which has a baby swing and painted wooden cut outs of kids on a swing that are suspended from the ceiling.
The Water Aerobics students seem to enjoy their lifeguard and the colorful environment she’s created. “We’re happy to have Trish and the energy she brings to the club,” said Jake Law, club director. “Anyone who hasn’t been by the club recently needs to come see all the work she’s done. It’s a work of art but also a work of love and that’s what our Boys & Girls Club is all about.”