Local home-repair mission being supported by Zumbathon fundraiser


On the third Friday of every month through June, Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church will be holding a Zumbathon to help raise money for the church’s upcoming First State Work Camp.

Coastal Point • Shaun Lambert: Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church in Ocean View has been raising money by holding a Zumbathon event the third Friday of every month. The proceeds will benefit the First State Work Camp, which aims to help those in need with light repair work in Sussex County. Here, Zumbathoners get down for the cause.Coastal Point • Shaun Lambert
Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church in Ocean View has been raising money by holding a Zumbathon event the third Friday of every month. The proceeds will benefit the First State Work Camp, which aims to help those in need with light repair work in Sussex County. Here, Zumbathoners get down for the cause.

“First State Work Camp is the name of the mission we’ll be doing in 2012,” explained Mandy Savage, a certified Zumba instructor who teaches it at both the church and Sea Colony. “Mariner’s Bethel is working with local people from the community to bring up to 500 adults and youths to our area to do light repair work on up to 100 houses in eastern Sussex County.”

Savage said that the volunteers will be coming from all over the country and staying in Sussex County for a week in June to help with the repairs of local homes.

“In the past, we’ve always sent our kids and adults away to other states to help rebuild other communities. We thought, ‘You know what – we need that here, too.’”

To host the work camp, Savage said the church has to raise $40,000. She said they thought a Zumba fundraiser would be a great way to raise money, as well as an opportunity to encourage exercise.

“I think it is so amazing to be able to not only get out there and exercise but to praise God by dancing and singing along. It’s a unique opportunity to praise the Lord through dance and fitness. We thought it would be a fun way to support the youth and CRASH Youth Ministries and what they’re doing, because it’s a big endeavor, to have all of these people coming to our area.”

Savage said that both she and Christel Grandell will be teaching the classes in the church’s social hall.

“It’s for all levels,” said Savage. “People always tell me, ‘I’m not a dancer!’ I say, ‘Well, do you like to just go out and have fun with your friends? Or do you like dancing around the house with your kids? Then come to Zumba!’ There’s really no stress in Zumba. It can be very hardcore if you choose to take it there. Or you can keep it light and have fun. We typically do about 15 or 16 songs an hour, so we’ll be doing over 30 songs. Time flies – you’re just dancing and having fun.”

The classes, which run from 6 to 8 p.m., will be held April 20, May 18 and June 15. They can hold up to 40 people, with a cost of $15 per participant.

“This is for anyone in the community who wants to participate. It’s just a fun way to be fit. Whether I’m at church or out in the community, at the local gym teaching, it’s just so much fun.”

During the week following the June 15 class, the volunteers for the First State Work Camp will arrive in Sussex County.

“The following week is when all the volunteers and youth will be arriving,” Savage explained. “We’re hoping for about 500 people to come and work on our homes in eastern Sussex County. Our hope is that when these people do come on the 24th, not only will we greet them with fire trucks and a big party, but we’ll have all these Zumba participants out there dancing and pumping them up for coming out and supporting them. We’re trying to do something different, you know?”

Savage added that the community has been extremely supportive of the church’s fundraising efforts, and she hopes the work camp will be beneficial to local residents in need.

“It’s been going well,” she said. “Mariner’s is a very active church that reaches out to the community in a lot of different ways. A lot of people from within the church have been supporting, but we’ve also received a lot of support from the community through the Trail Run and other fundraisers. We’re just trying to keep busy and it’s coming together.”

For more information about the Zumbathon, or to participate or donate to the First State Work Camp, call (302) 539-9510. Mariner’s Bethel is located at 81 Central Avenue in Ocean View.