Lots of kids love summer, because for many it means swimming. But at one pool, a familiar face is in danger of not being around much longer.
“The Friendship Center has been in existance for 15 years,” said recreation manager Lynn Wuestner, “It was the vision of a group many years ago because of the big township to have somewhere where the community could come and recreate.”
That vision has become reality. There’s a gym, weight room, and senior center. But the most popular is the pool.
“A lot of the kids in this community over the 15 years that we’ve been here have learned to swim at the Friendship Center,” said Wuestner.
One member has been here since day one.
“The highlight of our pool is Freddie The Frog,” said Wuestner.
It’s more than just fun, it’s actually a teaching tool.
“The goal is to get to Freddie,” said swim instructor Gary Crissman, “Once you get to Freddie, then you combine the skills by sliding down Freddie and having to swim back to the wall, so Freddie is an integral part of the curriculum.”
But Freddie’s best days are behind him.
“Unfortunately Freddie is preparing for retirement,” said Crissman.
“We have done lots of band-aids to Freddie, lots of painting of Freddie,” said Wuestner, “But the time has come that Freddie needs to be repaired or replaced.”
The center hopes you can help. It has been passing out Freddie banks. The goal is to fill the green with green. It will cost $10,000 to replace Freddie. 4-year-old Abby is learning to swim. She thinks he’s worth it.
“He’s my favorite part of swim class,” she said.
Anywhere from 200 to 300 kids learn to swim at the Friendship Center a year. They’ve raised about a quarter of their goal so far. If you would like more information about the Freddie banks or would like to donate, give the center a call at 657-5635 or visit their website at