Thank you for expressing an interest in starting up a Bluetits group in your area. This page will give you an insight into what it’s like to be admin of a flock!
The Bluetits began in 2014 when a friend and I decided to give swimming throughout the winter in swimsuits a go, and has grown into a worldwide association of likeminded souls who swim and paddle throughout the year wearing whatever they want to wear in the water. The emphasis is still on ‘skin’ swimming but this is by no means obligatory. No club fees, registration, rules, requirements, expectations. All groups are informal and members are encouraged to take active roles within the group but it takes one or two people to get the group up and running, agree to be admins of the Facebook group and oversee the smooth forward running of the group.
To get up and running you will need to fill out the form here and attend one of our online Zoom trainings. Then you need to think of a name for your group! The name will have ‘Bluetits’ somewhere in it… Porthsele Bluetits, Perranporth Bluetits, Bathing Bluetits of Bude etc. and preferably a geographical reference for where you swim. As soon as you have decided WE then set up a closed Facebook group in that name for you. We list your group on our main The Bluetits Chill Swimmers Facebook page and occasionally ask to use pictures posted on your group page for promotional purposes on our main page. We also have a map of all the groups on the website with links to the Facebook groups. As an admin of a Bluetits group, you will have the ability on the group to add to the group description, change the cover photo and accept members into the group. Your posts in the group will have an ‘Admin’ badge after them, which makes them more noticeable.
The groups are informal spaces where Bluetits can plan social swims. The admins are not responsible for organising all of the swims by any means. People in the group are to be encouraged to post their own swims when they feel happy and confident to do so.
Every week or so, depending not the amount of time an admin would like to devote, we suggest posting a swim where you will be there, and to make it clear that is is a suitable swim for a newbie Bluetit to attend. Joining a group can be daunting, and these specific swims make it easier for someone to get their feet in the water and see what’s what, with your welcome.
Swims are informal meets ups, rather than organised events, during which everyone takes responsibility for themselves, it is not up to the admins to take responsibility for sea safety etc. More experienced swimmers will share their thoughts and experiences with newer swimmers, which is part of the joy of swimming with a group. We steer clear of any firm dos and don’ts, as we believe that it is always up to each individual to know their limits and stay responsible for their own safety.
A Bluetit badge is presented to every person who comes along to swim with your group for the first time, this badge is free! When you start up your group we will send you a bag of these badges to hand out. We have many other badges for a whole array of things that are sold on our website.
Planned swims are discussed on your group platform to which you add all your members as they request to be added.
Initially you will probably arrange all the swims but we encourage you to enthuse all your members to suggest swims themselves when they feel confident enough to. Once you start posting pictures of your swims or a scenic shot of the location on your Facebook group people will start requesting to join you and come along to your swims. The more you post the wider the group’s existence spreads, it is all up to you how big you allow it to grow!
When people first come along they can be a little bashful about having their picture posted on Facebook (hence why I mention a scenic shot of the location above). This soon passes after a few months of swimming together as people become bolder and more confident in what they are up to. We suggest you and your members tell everyone they are taking a picture for Facebook thus allowing anyone who wants to move out of the shot to do so. Often it is a massive deal for folk to reveal their body in a swimsuit. They may watch your posts for many months wishing they had the courage to join in… then one day they do and realise that most of us have a hang-up or two and they fit in just fine. Once people have the audacity to appear in public in a swimsuit many inhibitions fade away resulting in very amenable, close groups of people who feel able to chat about anything. Mention naked swims at the beginning of a group’s formation and see what happens! Mention it again a year down the line and the response will be very different.
The swim locations and duration are all up to you and your group. Two questions we always get asked are ‘how long do you swim for and how far do you swim?’ It is all up to the groups what happens at the swims but general everyday Bluetits swims are all about short dips in a body of water. There should be no pressure to swim a certain distance at a certain speed. Of course, we do have many Bluetits who train for open water swim events, ice miles and channel swims and through The Bluetits these people end up meeting other like-minded swimmers and often then go off privately to train together or swim at the same time the dipping swimmers are out for safety reasons.
We meet for a paddle and cake, fish and chip swims, walk/ bike and a swim, longer distance with tow bags containing our clothes and a flask for a beach break halfway swims etc. It’s all up to you! Our link to each other initially is the joy of challenging ourselves to potter in and around open water throughout the year wearing whatever makes us happy.
Our values contain one of inclusivity, and this is in regards to race, age, ability, sexuality and gender. All Bluetit groups are therefore welcoming to all.
If you have any question please message us through the Bluetits Chill Swimmers Facebook page. We’re always happy to help in any way we can.