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BEASD Sponsors Month-Long Youth Swimming Program

From The Centre Daily Times

Photo courtesy of The Centre Daily Times

Aquatic events Tuesdays and Thursdays in Snow Shoe might be the best-kept secret in the Mountaintop Region.

After all, youth in the area have the chance to swim for free at the Mountain Top Area swimming pool on East Park Avenue.

And it comes with the help of the Bald Eagle Area School District.

Pool Association President Jenn Nastase said a partnership with the district started a couple years ago when a former school nurse ran a health program with help from a grant.

A similar program to this year’s was also conducted last year through a grant.

Though a grant wasn’t received this year, people who run the pool were still able to team up with the school district on a month-long program that promotes health and physical activity.

On every Tuesday and Thursday in July, BEA provides transportation for area youth to swim at the pool from noon to 4 p.m.

It serves youth residents within Snow Shoe and Burnside townships.

The district also provides funding for lifeguards.

“It’s a way to bring people to the pool, and gets kids healthy at a time they’re stuck in front of the TV,” Nastase said. “We hope to eventually open this to more children within the school district, but it’s hard right now because it’s a big area.”

District spokeswoman Rose Hoover said BEA is the largest school district by geographical area in Centre County.

It encompasses 342.6 square miles and serves residents within Boggs, Burnside, Howard, Huston, Snow Show, Union and Worth townships.

District business manager Craig Livergood said costs to the district are about $570 for transportation, and $528 for two extra lifeguards who he says will help children learn to swim.

The program was funded last year by a grant through the Highmark Foundation for $1,536.40.

“I felt this was a good program to give the Snow Shoe students an opportunity to enjoy a great resource within their community that they may not have been able to enjoy due to lack of safe transportation from their home (or) neighborhood to the swimming pool,” Livergood said. “When a learning opportunity and an opportunity to socialize with other students can be provided, as a way to keep those students from staying indoors to watch television, browse the internet for non-educational items, play video games. ... I feel it is an easy and good decision to make.”

The Snow Shoe pool is in its 48th season, but it closed for about two years to undergo a major renovation.

Nastase said it operates on about $20,000 a year.

“We have a great committee and association, and great predecessors who without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Nastase said. “We’re sometimes struggling to survive, but we keep going.”