When the swimming sessions began, Bess Maxwell was in school studying to become a physical therapist. She recognized the physical and social benefits her friends gained from physical activity in the pool. In the spring of 1999, Bess completed her studies and became a certified physical therapist. With the help of her friends, the Schaeffers, ShowMe Aquatics was formed as a not-for-profit corporation and applied for a grant from St. Charles County to expand the Saturday swim group to a regular feature at the Family YMCA called the Aqua Abilities Program.
|Bess Maxell, Executive Director of Show Me Aquatics
Bess, who has added to her clinical expertise with a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology, continues to be a driving force behind the Aqua Abilities
program and ShowMe Aquatics in her current role as Executive Director. One of her biggest challenges is making participation in these programs accessible in every way, including financially. ShowMe Aquatics receives a continuing grant from St. Charles County that today covers about half of the expenses for the program. The remainder comes from foundations, other grants, or modest program fees. Making healthful exercise fun and affordable has resulted in a very popular program. The Aqua Abilities
program now includes a second location, the O'Fallon Family Y in nearby O'Fallon, Missouri. The program currently has over 100 participants and a growing waiting list. As the program has grown, ShowMe has worked to develop a variety of county, state, and private funding streams to support participants and minimize the need for out-of-pocket expenses.