CAMDEN, NJ—Mayor Frank Moran and about 20 children stood on the edge of the pool at the North Camden Community Center on a sweltering, sweaty Friday, as an emcee counted down the seconds.
"Three, two and one," the mayor and children jumped into the pool, officially opening the city's public pools for the summer and kicking off the city's Summer Recreation and Food Service program.
The City of Camden has two public pools — one at the North Camden Community Center located at the corner of Sixth and Eerie streets; and one at the Isabel Miller Community Center located at Eighth Street and Carl Miller Boulevard.
On days like Friday, June 29, when the temperature soars into the mid-90s, Moran said is when the pools — and the several spray pools located throughout Camden — become a vital resource for the community members.
"We recognize that many of our residents don't have swimming pools in their yard, or a place to cool off. "That's why we felt with ... this heatwave we couldn't have picked a better time," said Moran, who worked at the North Camden Pool when he was younger.
Pastor Odessa Edmond said she will be bring her kids in the Hope Outreach Community Center's summer program to the pools about three times a month
"They love it," said Edmond, who will try and bring them over on a hot day.
The mayor also cautioned swimmers to "respect the water."
"If you don't know how to swim, don't get in over your head. The important thing is we will have instructional swimming this season, that way our children are protected and so we don't have any issues this summer," said Moran.
The North Camden Community Center Pool is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. for children 15 and under; and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for ages 16 and over.
The Isabel Miller Community Center is open Friday through Tuesday from noon to 3 p.m. for children 15 and under; and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for ages 16 and over.
For more information about the city's pools and spray pools, or its Summer Recreation and Food Service program, which offers free activities, breakfast and lunch for children between the ages of 6 through 17, please call 865-757-7096 or 856-968-6444.