Swimming and Sisterhood

At Climax UMC in Climax, Georgia, exercise group is a lifeline

By Kara Witherow, Editor, South Georgia Advocate

To a handful of women in Climax, Georgia, “yada yada” means anything but boring, predictable talk.

These are the Yada Yadas, a close-knit group of women who have been meeting, praying, and exercising together since 2005.

Sure, they talk, but it’s the meaningful kind of talk – the kind described by the Hebrew word yada: to know, to make oneself known.

We have each other’s back,” said group founder Ann Ariail, a member of Climax United Methodist Church. “We’ve helped each other through a lot of things.”

Years ago, after reading a book that described such a sisterhood, Ariail prayed for one of her own. With a husband who had been recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, she needed and wanted a support system.

It had me saying, ‘Lord, I need a group like this. Please help me,’” she said.

Over the years, women have come in and out of the group, but prayer and fellowship remain its foundation.

We all love each other; we are all supportive of one another and it’s like a sisterhood,” said Joyce Moore, a member of the Yada Yadas. “We pray together and for each other. We have a good time together.”

Moore lives in Calvary, Ga. and attends a Baptist church there. She says part of the group’s appeal is the diverse nature of the Yada Yadas. The group is ecumenical and, through the years, the women have ranged in age from 20 to 70.

It’s a great workout, but it is such a wonderful, wonderful group of ladies,” she said.

Meeting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the group gathers to pray, exercise, and talk. When it’s too cold to swim, they meet in Climax UMC’s fellowship hall to work out with a video or walk around the neighborhood. A few weeks ago, it was finally warm enough to dive into Ariail’s backyard pool for water aerobics.

The workouts are important, Moore and Ariail said, but their time together is much more than just exercise.

Since starting, they’ve kept a jar out during their meetings to collect money for those in the community who need help. They’ve made and delivered meals, donated after hurricanes, and often just drop the jar off on someone’s door anonymously.

If we see a need or are told of a need, we try to step in and help out,” Ariail said.

Having the prayers, support, and friendship of other women through life’s ups and downs is vitally important, said both Ariail and Moore.

It’s been like God’s way of taking care of me,” Ariail said. “They’re godly women. None are afraid to share their feelings toward each other, we’re not afraid to share when we hurt. We can say anything in the group, and to have a group of women in your life means a lot.”

(Permission granted by Kara Witherow, South Georgia Conference staff member, and editor of the South Georgia Advocate, the news source of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.)