Every year, the Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club welcomes swimmers from around Canada to our city. These swimmers range in age from 13 to 20 years old. Their stay in our city can last anywhere from one day to the whole season. When these young swimmers become a member of the GO Kingfish Club, they do not live on their own and require accommodations. This is where the billet family becomes very important as each swimmer is placed in the home of a GO Kingfish family.
Are You Interested in Becoming a Billeted Swimmer?
The Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club is one of the most successful swim clubs in Eastern Ontario. GO swimmers have competed at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, Pan Pacific Championships, National Youth Championships, Canada Games and have had a strong presence at the National, Provincial and Regional Championships for many years.
What is Billeting?
Billeting is when a local family welcomes into their home, a visiting swimmer. The family that offers to help in providing a safe place for the visiting swimmer is called a host family.
Why Billet?
Billeting can be a very exciting and rewarding experience for all those willing to open up their homes to dedicated swimmers. Many families who have billeted in the past usually look back at their experience with fond memories. In fact, many families still stay in touch with swimmers they had billeted in the past as those same swimmers move through the university and professional ranks. Key benefits to you and the GO Kingfish Swim Club when you volunteer to billet are:
  • Build lifelong friendships with swimmers and their families;
  • Assist young swimmers to enjoy a safe and comfortable environment while enjoying swimming;
  • Provide a great social and cultural experience;
  • Assist visiting swimmers to lessen expensive living costs, making participation in competitive swimming possible;
  • Show support for your club's swim team and help them to be successful;
  • Assist in providing a special service that will lead to a successful swim season for a young swimmer.
Are You Interested in Becoming a Billet?
Our swimmers want to experience life as part of the swimming family and to live in a caring environment, to have a home away from home. Our billets are excited to welcome someone new into their lives. Having a swimmer in your home takes time, patience, and a willingness to share. There are lots of differences to overcome, both cultural and personal, but learning about these differences and celebrating them is part of the joy of welcoming someone new into your home and, in many cases, making a new friend for life.
What Makes a Great Billet?
A caring, sensitive and patient family! It can be overwhelming for a swimmer to be so far away from home. A thoughtful billet family appreciates that each swimmer is unique, and that communication and mutual understanding take effort. Our billets are interested in sharing their lifestyle in a positive and mutually rewarding way. We do not accept billets who are interested in money alone. These motives are obvious to swimmers, and interfere with the intended billeting experience: a safe, secure, welcoming environment to learn and grow in.
Things to Consider
Do you have time for a swimmer? Even the most self-assured swimmers appreciate good quality time with their billet family. Is everyone in your household ready to accept someone with a different background? If you have children, are they comfortable with bringing another person into the family?
Responsibilities of the Host Family
Billet families should be prepared to provide the following in order to make the swimmer's stay a comfortable one:
  • Treat billeted swimmers as you would want your child treated if he/she were away from home;
  • Inform billeted swimmers of your expectations and house rules;
  • Provide a room for the billeted swimmers to sleep. This should be a room with a bed, a dresser, closet, and a desk with chair.
  • Provide transportation to and from the pool;
  • Provide family type meals including breakfast, lunch and supper as well as snacks for the visiting swimmer;
  • Provide use of laundry facilities and detergent;
  • Confirm with the swimmers their allergies, medical conditions, and special dietary needs and support them with these requirements;
  • Support the swimmer, communicate with them, and be understanding;
  • Communicate all concerns regarding the swimmer to their coach;
  • Make the swimmer feel at home and part of the family.
Responsibility of the Billeted Athlete
While guests in your home, the Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club fully expects each swimmer to be well behaved at all times. Some key expectations of the billeted swimmers are:
  • Show gratitude to the host family for opening their home;
  • Provide information on allergies, medical conditions, special dietary needs;
  • Respect the host family as they would their own parents;
  • Respect the 'house rules' as determined between the billeting family and the swimmer;
  • When unsure of anything, always ask!
Are You Interested in Becoming a Billeted Swimmer?
For further information regarding our Billeting Program, please contact us.