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Who’s Behind the Scenes: Barbara Bates at Five Oaks Swim Club

Bates is inn her 26th year as Manager at Five Oaks Swim Club.

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 .  My parents still live over there.

Now I live in College Hills with my husband and my two kids, and I teach Health at .  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.

anthrogirl August 27, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Barb's the "man"... um, I mean WOman!!! Great interview! You deserve good press for all that you do.
Virginia Vargo November 24, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I have been a member at 5 Oaks since 1980, and plan to stay as long as I can afford it now that I am retired. Barb and her staff know your name and are always accommodating. The pool is a safe, clean environment not only for families with children but also for retirees like me. My son was a swim team member for 11 years and still keeps in touch with other swimmers he grew up with. He has joined as a Single Member and enjoys the pool as a place to relax after work. G. Vargo

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