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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Celebrating 20 years of Sam-O Swim

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Celebrating 20 years of Sam-O Swim

Open swim Monday at Sam-O Swim Center got two friends out of the house and into some cool action. Donovinn Spencer, left, and Andy Hughes tried to see how much water they could splash out of the pool before joining other youngsters in various activities. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).
Open swim Monday at Sam-O Swim Center got two friends out of the house and into some cool action. Donovinn Spencer, left, and Andy Hughes tried to see how much water they could splash out of the pool before joining other youngsters in various activities. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).

By LISA BRITTON

Of the Baker City Herald

Although the YMCA presence in Baker City can be traced back to 1920, it is celebrating a 20th anniversary this year.

The original YMCA building is located at Court Avenue and First Street. It was built in 1912, housing meeting rooms, lodging rooms, a gymnasium and a small swimming pool. Today, the building is home to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The current YMCA was incorporated in 1974, said director Gary Stalder.

This weekend's anniversary celebration is for the Sam-O Swim Center that opened its doors on June 18, 1983.

Originally called the Baker Community Pool, it is located in east Baker at the Sam-O Springs property.

The building is owned by the City of Baker. The Baker County Family YMCA handles operation and staffing for the pool.

During the past two decades, activities haven't changed much, Stalder said. They still offer swimming lessons, open swim, lap swim, and more.

There's only one event change he can name — the pool no longer fills with synchronized swimmers.

But apart from that absence, last year Sam-O catered to 34,000 swimmers. Twenty-three thousand of those were age 17 and under, Stalder said.

If that's an average year, he said, "680,000 (swimmers) have walked through the doors just for aquatics" in the past 20 years.

To celebrate its anniversary, the Baker County Family YMCA and Sam-O Swim Center will have an open house on Saturday, June 14.

There will be two family open swims: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Families with at least one parent in attendance can swim for free. Children not accompanied by a parent will have a $1 admission fee.

There will be giveaways and door prizes throughout the day, including: summer family memberships, annual family memberships, water tubes, and swim goggles.

Refreshments will be provided.

"We're just trying to make it fun and a thank you for the community," Stalder said.

For more information, call the YMCA at 523-7747.

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