Springdale Swimmers, from left, Samantha Dore, Danny VanNatta and Caroline Currey strike a pose.
Springdale Swimmers, from left, Samantha Dore, Danny VanNatta and Caroline Currey strike a pose. (Courtesy Photo)

Participating on the swim team is an annual rite of summer for so many of our local youngsters. From May to July each year, the swimmers log hundreds of laps, hone their swimming skills and compete in meets far and wide.

Some of the most dedicated are on the team from start to finish, every summer of every school year, and recently several of those longtime swimmers were honored at their last home meets.


First, Caroline Currey, Samantha Dore and Danny VanNatta of the Springdale Stars Swim Team were celebrated for 15 years of swimming for their team. Also, the Summer Hill Stingrays honored Janna MacLaren, Catherine Szalczyk and Rose Vail for their years of swimming. Congratulations to all on having successful swimming careers, and best of luck as you all set off to college.

Earlier this summer, almost 70 students and leaders from the Hunt Valley Church headed to Nassau in the Bahamas on a mission trip to serve alongside local churches.

The high school students spread out throughout the community taking on repairs at a local church, a preschool and in the community, while they also presented a Vacation Bible School for the local youth.

One of the big projects for the mission team was to revitalize Soul Reapers Church of Christ. A leaky roof was a big issue for the church, and the Hunt Valley crew was able to put in new support beams, planks and shingles.

The team also worked hard on the landscaping, clearing away underbrush, leaves and trash. As team member Kelly Calawa observed, “It was incredible to see the gratefulness in the faces of the pastor and other Soul Reaper attendees on having the work done. It has certainly made working in the hot, sticky sun all worth it.”

In the community, a Hunt Valley team focused on beautifying a worn-down home, as they spent days clearing the over-grown jungle surrounding the house and adding a fresh coat of blue and white paint.

Other mission team members were tasked with improving a preschool and spent hours tediously scraping old paint off of tables before refreshing the space with new paint and cabinets.

The last group was busy running the Vacation Bible School complete with skits, crafts, stories and sports.

Some of our local high schoolers who went on the mission trip included Zack Barton, Anna Etnoyer, Ellie Fritsch, Olivia Gifford, Charlie Gifford, Courtney Guetler, Miciaiah Mace, Meredith Millis, Natalie Mummert, Sophia Parsons, Abraham Plimpton, Laura Pohl, Nadira Shaduk, Anna Simoes and Megan Warrenfeltz.

The mission team’s visit also coincided with the Bahamas’ Independence Day on July 10, so the group was able to enjoy a day off to experience the celebrations and fireworks. Another highlight of the trip was a beachfront church service with a picnic afterward hosted by St Michael’s Methodist Church.

Great work, teens from Hunt Valley Church; it sounds as though your hard work will have a lasting impact in the Bahamas.