Catonsville Patch: Where did you grow up?
Barbara Bates: I grew up over near Westview pool and that’s where I went to swim as a kid. Now it’s called Crosby Crossing. My parents still live over there.
Now I live in College Hills with my husband and my two kids, and I teach Health at Catonsville Middle. I used to teach P.E. and athletics.
Patch: What other activities are you involved in in Catonsville?
Bates: I was President of the PTSA and now I’m secretary. I’m on the Boards of the College Hills Community Association and Catonsville Rec and Parks Field Hockey. I also coach 7th and 8th grade and elite field hockey teams.
Patch: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Bates: That I’ve lasted here for 26 years, and I still love what I do. I love coming to work every day. Not many people can say that.
Patch: What do you enjoy most about your job as manager at Five Oaks?
Bates: I love seeing the kids grow up. This place feels like my family. I have a great staff and a great Board of Directors. They let me do my job and trust my decisions to make this a fun and safe place.
Patch: Tell us about someone who had a strong influence on you, personally or professionally.
Bates: I have awesome parents who showed me what it means to have a great work ethic, and I have a wonderful husband who is very supportive of me working and volunteering and keeping crazy hours.
Patch: What do you consider to be your greatest strength?
Bates: I’m very motivated. My son says I’m crazy and have the energy of a four year old. I’m always trying to make things better and to live by example.
Patch: What’s the most challenging part of this job?
Bates: It's challenging for me when this job and my teaching job overlap. I want to put in the extra hours at school and still do a good job here.
Patch: What is one of your unachieved professional goals?
Bates: I thought about becoming an assistant principal, but I would have had to give up the pool job and I didn’t want to do that.
Patch: Tell us about one of your hobbies.
Bates: The time I spend with my kids, especially their sports. That’s really my hobby.
Patch: What is your favorite room in your house?
Bates: It’s sort of a joke that I don’t ever sit on the furniture at our house. I’m not home much, and there’s always something that needs to be done.
Patch: What kinds of music do you listen to?
Bates: I listen to country except when my kids are with me. But I’m around noise so much at school and at the pool that when I get in the car, I like the quiet.
Patch: Where is your favorite place in the world, other than home?
Bates: I love going to Disney World with my family.
Patch: What is your favorite thing about Catonsville?
Bates: The closeness. I joke that we live in Mayberry. We’ve had times when people in the community have been ill, and people really come together. Also, it’s a great place to raise kids. I love it here.
Patch: Share some of your vision for the future of Catonsville.
Bates: There have been some nice improvements over the last few years. I hope we can continue to have more family activities and events in the community. We are really family oriented here at the pool; it’s important to me.