Everyday Heroes Create Endless Possibilities in Marana’s Parks: Episode 2

Across the country, cities and towns are celebrating Parks and Recreation Month throughout July.  As part of Marana’s recognition of the community’s outstanding recreation facilities, the Town Council unanimously approved a proclamation recognizing Parks and Recreation month. This honorific acknowledges the profound contributions of parks to civic well-being.  They encourage outdoor recreation, help ensure the health of all residents, and maintain a high quality of life in Marana. 

Not all superheroes wear capes, and in Marana, a dedicated corps of Parks and Recreation staff perform heroic feats every day. They are lifeguards, landscapers, and Pilates instructors.  They maintain trails, create special event decorations, and plan programs for seniors.  For many, they are the most public faces of local government and provide the embodiment of tax dollars at work. Each week for the rest of July, we’ll be highlighting one of these remarkable, everyday superheroes. We encourage park visitors to say hi to our staff out in the field. These friendly employees love seeing residents take advantage of these beautiful spaces.  They love these parks as much as you do, and they’re eager to tell you why.

The Exercist: Renee Zimmerman

Renee Zimmerman is passionate about her exercise.  “Have fun and get fit” she repeats over and over, like a mantra.  And when she leads forty seniors in a water aerobics class, it’s clear that her enthusiasm is infectious.

With Cindy Lauper blasting from a boom box, a small and aging army kicks, swings, and jives to the beat. A clarion call cuts through the music and Renee’s voice sings out the next move.  Like a well-organized flash mob, the smiling and grooving army flows seamlessly into the next phase.  Laughter echoes around the pool, and Renee’s bubbly zeal maintains a steady stream of vigorous encouragement.

“I love music, dance, exercise, and socializing.  My classes through the Marana Community Center let me combine all of these!” 

Renee first started leading fitness classes in Marana in 1999. To her, this community has always felt like home.  “I love how it feels countrified without actually being way out in the country,” she explains.  In her day job, she works for American Airlines, and so teaching fitness classes gives her an opportunity to release her considerable energy. 

That energy, in fact, is almost as formidable as the devoted following she has acquired since launching her water aerobics class in 2010.  In its first year, the class only attracted a handful of participants, but since then it has rapidly grown into a powerful force.  When you hear Renee’s music emanating from the Ora Mae Harn Park Pool, watch out: The Exercist is leading her army.