By Pamela Noel
Special to Plumas News
The health of a community encompasses many aspects—physical, intellectual, emotional, social/cultural, spiritual and economic. Living in this mountain environment we have some wonderful attributes that attract people to live here, as well as visit. Music and art events are consistently available—from the weekly “Brush” performers to the yearly influx of those enjoying the High Sierra Music Festival. Monthly gallery showings, and the newer on the scene “ Lost Sierra Plein Air Art Festival attract many local and visiting guests.
In addition we offer some great breweries, which boast their own menu of events. Incredible scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities attract mountain bikers, as well as those who fish and enjoy boating and hiking. We are hosts to a treasury of outdoor activities, including Longboards ski races in the winter, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
And…we are fortunate to have in our midst, Feather River College, giving us educational opportunities, as well as a myriad of sports teams that thrill spectators with their contests. This reciprocal community relationship encompasses give and take between the college and the community—the community’s role has been to support the programs of the college, as well as its scholarships and fundraisers. The college has an opportunity to reach out to assess what area needs it can help support. (Such an assessment occurred in the late 1980s, with many enriching ideas for both college and surrounding area.)
At this point in time, there is a sizable segment of the population that is missing a reliable year-round source of physical activity that would contribute to health, longevity, as well as the pleasure of remaining and living in our mountains.
And…this community consists of those who like to swim. Yes, certain of us are able to brave the mountain lakes in the summer, or take advantage of some swim times at Pioneer Pool. Others of us have engaged in the unsustainable drive to Reno or Truckee, in order to swim. But, there is much more that could be accomplished locally for our swim teams, children who need a way to safely work off steam in the winter, and older folks who would benefit from a year-round venue, with which to engage in water aerobics that lessen the stress on joints, keeping them mobile. And last, but not least, are those of us who benefit from lap swimming—working our cardiovascular fitness, when the streets are too icy for walking, and the weather is challenging.
There are those of us who have committed to raising families here—who have volunteered and given much to this community– who are now planning on leaving in retirement, because there is no consistent year-round facility where they may swim. Other small communities have managed to build community centers around a concept of water exercise, for their population. These centers also are often accompanied by classes of different descriptions—yoga, martial arts, needlecrafts, carving, gymnastics, cooking—the possibilities are endless.
We have long needed a functioning facility where the community can gather to recreate and exercise, learn, and enjoy the company of others…a place where we can start to erase any categories that separate us; a place to enjoy one another, whether in a water aerobics class or watching our children together while they take their first strokes in learning to swim.
Thirty eight years ago, we had the start of such a facility. The health club, that is now Feather River Fitness, offered a covered pool, where winter swimming was a well-used common resource. Swimming and fitness classes were part of the normal activities there. I found it a great place to enjoy water movement, especially during my latter stages of pregnancy. Having a bubble-like cover, it fit the bill for a time.
Presently, we have two existing pools in Quincy, which could become the start of a hub for future year-round water activities. The question is, does the will exist to make it happen? Once this becomes clear, the way to make it happen can evolve.