Through effort, determination and the help of the Salem City's Water Aerobics Program, one Camp woman was able to regain one of the most important aspects of a person's life, her mobility.
"We have a lady that encouraged us to do aerobics last year, we call her granny but her real name is Betty Ballard and she is from Camp," Salem City Pool Manager Angela Raines said.
"She showed up here in a wheelchair and asked if we were doing water aerobics. We had thought about it. So, we went over to Mountain Home and got some training and they gave us some sets to use, to do water aerobics," Raines said.
"We told her we would start and we did it three days a week. When she showed up here she was in a wheelchair. She walked from her vehicle to the edge of our baby fence. Then she had to sit down for 20 minutes before she could get in the water," Raines said.
"That was June 16, 2007, by Labor Day weekend she was running in and out of the pool. She has traded in her truck with the wheelchair lift for a PT Cruiser and she has not used her wheelchair since Christmas and that was only because she had to shop at the Springfield mall and shopped for four hours," Raines said.
Raines, who has since become certified in water aerobics, said Ballard is currently active in water aerobics for the second year.
"She lost 42 pounds and six inches in three months. She is our walking example of success," she said.
The aerobics program can be very beneficial to an individual's health without extreme stress on the body, Raines said. "You're a little sore but your not, 'oh my gosh, I don't want to go back.'"
Raines said the pool sponsors two water aerobic programs that promote health and exercise.
"We have two different groups. We have Melinda Coffman from the Extension service and she does water aerobics for arthritis as part of the Strong Women's Program. That is Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.," Raines said.
"We also have water aerobics for weight loss and toning and that is what I do. It is Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and then Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. at Riverside Motel's pool," she said.
The later class would be held at the Salem City Pool but Raines said there are private parties that use the time. Each aerobic session costs $3 each day, Raines said.
Raines said before the summer of 2007 the pool was being reviewed for closing because of several issues including operational cost, but since the city decided to continue operation it has seen new life.
"Last year we made more than they had in any summer in the last 30 years," Raines said.
With the new success of the pool, Raines said she is taking special care to ensure the pool is a family friendly experience. "We are enforcing the rules," she said.
"We really started encouraging families to bring their kids up and by word of mouth we have actually, as of this year and we are only five weeks into it, found ourselves ahead of where we were this time last year," she said.
July 7-11 will be the pool's second session of swimming lessons for the summer and Raines said the first session was a success. "We had 12 children come in for lessons. The youngest was three and the oldest was 10. We taught 10 out of 12 to swim," she said.
For the second session of swimming lessons Raines said there are currently five swimmers signed up with room in the program for 12 more.
Pool hours are 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m. The pool is closed every other Monday for maintenance and cleaning; Monday closed dates are July 7, July 21, Aug. 4 and Aug. 18. The pool closes to the public Aug. 10, although private parties can be booked through Labor Day (Sept. 1).
A full day of swimming is $1.50 per swimmer no matter the age, Rains said.
Private parties are $60 for a four-hour session, which include one lifeguard for up to 30 children. Over 30 the city will sponsor a second lifeguard, free to the party.
For more information on the city pool or its programs contact the pool office at 870-895-2130 or Angela Raines at 870-371-1661.