This Saturday (August 12) will officially mark the end of the swimming season in Helena-West Helena. Local students will be returning to the classroom.

According to Earnest Womack, who has managed the pool for over 25 years, the facility experienced another successful summer. He reported an increase in attendance.

This Saturday (August 12) will officially mark the end of the swimming season in Helena-West Helena. Local students will be returning to the classroom.

According to Earnest Womack, who has managed the pool for over 25 years, the facility experienced another successful summer. He reported an increase in attendance.

“The continued trends in rising attendance are primarily due to the efforts of the Helena Health Foundation and their continued support of our community,” commented Womack.

Womack stated that the HHF has funded the operational costs of the pool and the Swim Camp, organized by Together For Hope, since the summer of 2012. The Swim Camp offers a wide variety of swimming instructional programs for two weeks each July. The camp features swimming lessons for children and adults coordinated by Kate Hall of Raleigh, North Carolina and water aerobics led by instructor Tina Overton.

“The collaboration between the city of Helena-West Helena, Together For Hope and the Helena Health Foundation has greatly improved the quality of life for the citizens of Helena-West Helena with the initiation of healthy lifestyle programs,” said Womack.

Womack went on to say that one of the barriers that prevented children from coming to the Municipal Pool was the entrance fee. However, he said, through a continuing yearly grant that barrier has been lifted.

“Now, instead of sitting at home with a video game and complaining that they have nothing to do, children and adults alike can enjoy the beneficial aspects of physical activity through swimming without having to pay for it,” he said.

Besides providing swimming as a summer activity, the HHF also has restored one of the tennis courts in North Helena Park, directly behind the pool site. Womack calls this “just another example of the commitment they (HHF) have made to improve the quality of life in our community.”

Womack specifically thanked Betty Hendrix, Brian Miller, Cathy Cunningham and other members of the Foundation for the great work they initiated. Womack also named City Clerk Sandi Ramsey, H-WH Mayor Jay Hollowell and Janee' Tisby, the director of Together for Hope for helping in “countless ways,” as well as the pool staff and lifeguards.

“And last but not least, we thank the parents of the youngsters of our community for entrusting the safety of their children to us for the summer,” concluded Womack.