MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

September 22, 2010

Center goes from quilts to crunches



Sheila Yarbrough is helping the Fort Gibson community stay healthy and happy — one quilt, one crunch and one swimming lesson at a time.

Yarbrough runs the community education program for Fort Gibson Public Schools.

The program offers quilting, aerobics, swimming and other classes for adults and children.

Krista Coombes, of Fort Gibson, described the “cardio boot camp” she takes part in three nights a week as “intense.”

“It’s a good 30-minute full-body workout,” Coombes said. “We do suicide running, back and forth through the gym. We do lots of squats and jumps. We do lunges across the gym and we do 100 crunches in a sitting.”

The cardio boot camp is offered four nights a week. Stacy Parris is the teacher.

All of the classes in the community education program are offered in different buildings on the high school and middle school campus.

The classes targeted at adults include one in quilting that meets once a week for three weeks.

A new quilting class will begin in October, taught by Sue Presley of Tahlequah.

Linda Ryan teaches a water aerobics class that meets three nights a week and lasts an entire school semester.

Nicole Hill offers a more intense class in the water called the “aqua challenge.”

For children, community education holds swimming lessons at the school’s indoor pool, once in the fall and once in the spring.

High school swim coach Connie Dean is the teacher.

The fall lessons will be held in the evenings Sept. 27 to Oct. 1,  and are open to children age 4 and up.

The gymnastics class for children is taught by Desi Jobe.

“She was one second away from making the Olympics gymnastics team,” Yarbrough said. “She knows what she’s doing.”

Gymnastics classes are offered at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Jay J. Ray’s 9-year-old daughter has been taking gymnastics for three years and her father said “she absolutely loves it.”

He described himself as “100 percent happy” with the program.

“Miss Jobe is the instructor and she does a phenomenal job,” Ray said.

Yarbrough tries to keep the cost for the classes to a minimum.

“We price the classes to make enough money to pay for the teachers,” she said. “In the swim classes, for example, we charge enough to pay for life guards and swim teachers.”

Some Muskogee people take part in the program.

“We target Fort Gibson residents but the classes are open to anyone,” Yarbrough said.

In October, Victor Wildcat will teach a class on how  to make a double wall basket.

“That’s a Cherokee basket made from scratch out of reed,” Yarbrough said. “We had the class last year and a lot of people took it.”

The class costs $25 plus the price of the reed, and will meet on six successive Mondays.

Every year in August the community education program teaches hunter safety.

“We had 87 people take it last month,” Yarbrough said.

Every year at Christmas a tour of homes in Fort Gibson is held as a fund-raiser for Yarbrough’s program.

It raises money for scholarships to the community education classes.

The art classes formerly offered by community education were canceled after a state funding cut several years ago.

For more information, or to sign up, call the community education office at 478-4034.

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