WHAT BEGINS AS an opportunity to exercise for many area women often turns into something much more.
Led by a devoted and spirited group of volunteer instructors, women of all ages faithfully attend Body and Spirit Aerobics classes at Calvary United Methodist Church.
Self-described as a "a great workout to contemporary Christian music," the group has grown tremendously from its humble beginnings 12 years ago.
Initially organized by a stay-at-home mom as Christian aerobics, the class was held two mornings a week in the church's basement. Over the years, the classes have grown in size and popularity. Today's classes average 40 students and are held daily, morning and evening, in the Good Shepherd Hall, the new upstairs multipurpose room at Calvary Church.
The hourlong aerobic classes are followed by a prayer circle and devotional time.
"A Christian support group" is how Lucinda Nelson describes the group. An instructor for seven years, Nelson feels that initially most women attend for the exercise, but after listening to the words of the songs are transformed.
"I don't think that anyone comes just for the exercise, although that is the initial reason," said Nelson. "It's amazing how God will work through other women to help."
Instructor Vicki Kretschmer agrees. "It's definitely a support group. We really care about each other. We recognize each other's problems and needs."
Despite the amount of time Kretschmer devotes to planning routines and teaching classes, she says that she is "totally dedicated. I've seen what it's done for myself and others."
Lori Cole and Mary Beth Ruch also instruct the classes.
Classes are from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. The cost is $2 per class. Child care is available and costs $1 per child.
Evening session begins Oct. 3 and run through Oct. 26, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursdays. The cost is $15 a session and child care is not available.
All money is donated to local charities.
Calvary United Methodist Church is at 403 S. Main St., Mount Airy. Information: 301-829-1394.
Cavaliers start strong
Starting the 2000 season on a winning note, South Carroll High School Marching Cavaliers captured first place and swept the special awards division during last weekend's competition at Liberty High School.
The band earned a high score of 84.40 and won Best Band Front, Best Music, Best Percussion and Best Drum Major during the Liberty High School Extravaganza.
The Cavaliers are led by musical arranger and director George Smith. He is assisted by percussion arranger Tom Rarick and visual designer Bobby Jones.
Leading the color guard are captains Nikki Weaver and Alicia Hamilton.
Senior Jarrod Cannistraci, earned the award for best drum major with his style and professionalism. The Cavaliers travel to Triton High School in New Jersey tomorrow to compete in the Tournament of Bands.
Join the bargain hunters tomorrow at Mount Airy Elementary School for the annual Fall Kidstuff Yard Sale. The school is at 405 N. Main St.
Beginning at 8 a.m., the school athletic field will be occupied by shoppers and more than 50 vendors. Shoppers can purchase children's and baby items, including toys, clothes, books and maternity clothes.
Monica Trexler is chairwoman of this year's event, which is sponsored by the school's PTA. Trexler will be on duty before the sun rises, directing vendors to their spaces. Spaces can be rented the morning of the sale for $12.
The yard sale will be held rain or shine. Hours are 7 a.m. to noon. Information: Monica Trexler at 301-829-9994.
Calling all actors
The Mount Airy Players will hold auditions for two short plays to be performed during its holiday show in early December.
All actors ages 7 and older are encouraged to audition.
"Gift of the Magi" is a classic Christmas tale of a couple who go to great lengths to give each other a special Christmas gift. "A Little Christmas Spirit" is about a man who has forgotten the meaning of Christmas spirit. Both performances will be held at Calvary United Methodist Church.
Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at St. James Episcopal Church, at 204 N. Main St., Mount Airy. Information: 301-829-3321 or 301-829-3737.
Lots of homestyle cooking will be on the menus at the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company's fall dinners.
A turkey, oyster and ham dinner will be served starting at noon Sunday, and again Nov. 5, at Firemen's Park, Route 27 and Twin Arch Road, Mount Airy.
Dinners are $10 for adults, $5 for children younger than age 12, and children younger than age 5 eat for free. Carryouts are $1 extra. Included with dinner are hot vegetables and desserts.
Christy Kruhm's Southwest Neighbors column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.