Image Credit: Jay Kudva on Unsplash

(Joplin, MO)Missouri Life Magazine’s Big BAM (Bicycle Across Missouri) will ride across Route 66 in June, starting in Joplin as the first overnight town. The six-day recreational ride across our state will continue through Willard, Lebanon, Waynesville, Rolla, Cuba, and Eureka.

Cyclists from around the country will stay overnight in Joplin on June 12, with the Big BAM basecamp being located at Landreth Park. The City of Joplin’s Convention and Visitors Bureau asks for area commuters to be aware and watchful of riders departing at first light until 10:00 am the next morning.

“We’re excited to include Joplin as an overnight host for Big BAM again,” says KateLynn Ketsenburg, marketing and events coordinator for Missouri Life. Big BAM included Joplin in the same route in 2018. Participants of the ride loved Route 66 so much that the organization decided to have it again this year.

Patrick Tuttle, the tourism director in Joplin, says, “Route 66 is America’s longest museum and therefore it’s got a lot of Americana on there that you won’t see anywhere else.”

The town will be hosting a party to kick off the ride on June 12, featuring Smith Brothers and Zane Grimes. They will be performing from 7:00 to 9:30 pm on stage at Schifferdecker Park. Patrick says, “We invite the community, who will be able to enjoy food from various food trucks. So bring your chairs/blankets, your friends and family, and enjoy this great event.”

Big BAM encourages the local community and groups to enjoy the entertainment and raise funds for their nonprofit organizations with food and refreshment stands along the route. In the past, groups such as 4-H and others have stationed themselves along the route to sell lemonade, cookies, bananas, and even pickle juice popsicles, which can help prevent leg cramps for some cyclists. Approximately 200 cyclists will be exploring the area throughout the day on June 12.

Big BAM is a fully supported ride, which includes a camping area each night, gear transport, hot showers, water, and relief stations every ten to fifteen miles, SAG support, and bicycle mechanics. Plus, there is a concert every night that is free and open to the public. For more information, visit The sponsor of the event, Missouri Life Magazine, is the state’s largest paid circulation travel and lifestyle magazine.


Greg Wood
Missouri life Magazine

Image Courtesy of City of Joplin

Memorial Day weekend marks the kickoff of the summer swim season in Joplin. Like many cities nationwide, Joplin’s Parks and Recreation department is experiencing lifeguard staffing challenges causing pool operations to be modified.

Schifferdecker Aquatic Center will be the only pool to open to the public on Saturday, May 28. As the largest pool of Joplin’s aquatic centers, opening this center allows the City to serve the largest number of residents with current staffing. Cunningham Aquatic Center will be open during the summer in order to host various summer programs, such as morning and evening swim lessons, Junior Lifeguarding training, and other activities for patrons.

To date, City staff has hired and trained 42 lifeguards; however, the Department needs at least 90 lifeguards to safely operate both aquatic centers during the season.

“Our number one priority at the aquatic centers is the safety of our visitors and staff,” said Paul Bloomberg, Parks and Recreation Director. “We need approximately 90 lifeguards on staff to operate safely. This number may sound high, but many of the staff can only work 15 or 20 hours a week due to their sports and other extracurricular activities.”

The changes in offered amenities at today’s pools are another reason the City needs to have nearly 100 guards hired to operate all three pools.

“It’s great to have many different activities at the pool, however, each feature requires supervision from trained lifeguards,” said Jessica Johnson, Recreation Coordinator who oversees Joplin’s aquatics program.

With a limited number of staff this year, Schifferdecker Aquatic Center will open the large competition pool, which contains two diving boards, a rock-climbing wall, two water slides, two floatable features, and a basketball goal for patrons. The children’s water playground area will be open, as well as the beach area that offers zero-depth entry. The lazy river and the two slides located in this area will be closed until further notice due to the staffing shortage.

Bloomberg noted that planning for the new Ewert Splash Park will begin later this year. The splash park is included in the list of the Parks and Stormwater Sales Tax projects, which voters renewed last year. “Splash parks offer a fun water recreational area and are not labor-intensive like aquatic centers, but still provide a great summer activity for our community.”

The Parks and Recreation Department is still recruiting lifeguards for this year and will host a training in June for applicants.

“We appreciate the public’s understanding, and look forward to seeing everyone at Schifferdecker,” said Johnson.

Johnson encourages anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard to apply at the Human Resources Department at Joplin City Hall located at 602 S. Main or online at

2022 Pool Information

Schifferdecker Aquatic Center, located at 4th Street and Schifferdecker Avenue, will be open seven days a week, starting Saturday, May 28.  Hours are 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours on Fridays until 8:00 pm. Admission is $5.50 for visitors aged 15 and under and $6.50 for visitors 16 years old and over. There is no charge for children aged two and under. Children aged 11 and under must be accompanied by someone 16 or older in order to enter an Aquatic Center.

Closing for Swim Meets

Schifferdecker will be closed July 8 through July 10 and July 23 through July 24, closing at 6:00 pm for swim meets. During these weekends, Cunningham Aquatic Center will be open to the public.

Season Swim Passes

Season swim passes are available to purchase at Joplin Athletic Complex at 3301 W. 1st Street in Joplin. Scholarships are available to those who qualify. “Free swim” will be held from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Wednesdays at Schifferdecker Aquatic Center during the summer.

The City of Joplin has a no-refund policy. Rain checks will be issued for inclement weather, contamination, or equipment failure only if the pool is to be closed for the remainder of the day. All events and schedules are subject to change without notice. Please visit the website or call the pool/main office to confirm information.

For more information about the pools, season passes, swim lessons, or prices, please call the Joplin Parks and Recreation office at 417.625.4750 or visit

 Warmer temperatures have returned, and with them comes more sunshine, longer days, and the need to get outside after being cooped up throughout the winter.  

 This means summer is approaching in earnest, and so is National Trails Day, which is celebrated annually on the first Saturday in June. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the event, which celebrates and promotes trails while giving advocates a chance to organize service projects and show local trails some much-needed love.  

 This informal holiday is a perfect time for newcomers to become familiar with the local walking and biking trails by joining in the volunteer efforts or planning their first trail walk or ride.  

 So, let’s get some exercise, soak up the sun, and spend time with friends and family. We’ll see you on the trails!  

Joplin Area Trails

Frisco Greenway Trail:

This multi-use walking, running, and biking trail starts at North Street in Joplin before crossing Turkey Creek, continuing to St. Louis Avenue, and heading east to Florida Avenue. It stretches three-and-a-half miles along the path of a former railroad line previously owned by the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. The Webb City trailhead is near a bike shop, a coffee shop, and several restaurants.  

George Washington Carver Trail: 

Located in Diamond, Missouri, this trail runs through the grounds of George Washington Carver National Monument. It is three-fourths of a mile long and features beautiful scenery as well as educational opportunities, including the 1881 Moses Carver house and the Carver cemetery. The visitors’ center and museum features exhibits on George Washington Carver’s life and accomplishments, as well as activities for all ages.  

Ruby Jack Trail:

The Ruby Jack Trail stretches across three communities in southwest Missouri, following the path of another former railroad. Starting in Carthage and running through Oronogo and Carl Junction, the trail runs for 16 miles before stopping at the Kansas state line. The path is made up of crushed limestone, which makes it perfect for cyclists, runners, and joggers. Visitors can also bring their dogs on the trail, if they are leashed. 

Wildcat Park:

Wildcat Park is a popular destination with nearly three-and-a-half miles of paths that wind through scenic wooded bluffs overlooking Shoal Creek and the iconic Grand Falls. The trail connects to the City of Joplin’s McIndoe Park trails. Visitors can also drop by the Shoal Creek Conservation Center to learn more about the park and see a 1,300-gallon aquarium of local fish species, as well as other native animals that are on display.  

Joplin Parks & Trails:

Looking for a trail that’s closer to home? The City of Joplin maintains several walking trails across the area, including some that are located in or around local parks. They are:  

  • Campbell Parkway: 1.32 miles
  • Cunningham Park: 0.35 miles
  • Humphrey Park: 3/10 of a mile
  • Landreth Park: 0.83 miles 
  • Leonard Park: 0.83 miles
  • McIndoe Park: 0.62 miles 
  • Mercy Park: 1.13 miles 
  • Mohaska Trail: 1.15 miles 
  • St. John’s Trail: 0.5 miles (will connect to Tin Cup Trail, which is under construction)

Learn more about Wildcat Park, click here. For more information about Joplin’s trails, visit the City of Joplin’s website or the Joplin Trails Coalition’s website 

(Joplin, MO) – Dementia is the impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions to the extent that it interferes with everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, and neither is a normal part of aging.

Alzheimer’s accounts for 60% – 80% of dementia cases and while the greatest known risk factor is aging, it can also affect people under the age of 65, which is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s. Understanding the stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s will be the focus of this month’s Freeman Caregiver Support Group with a special presentation by College View Manor’s Carey Prater, who serves as the Chair of the Joplin Area Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Prater will explain how to navigate essential care needs for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s at the meeting on Thursday, May 26.

Facilitated by Ozark Center Assistant Director of Adult Outpatient Services Jennifer Berry, MSW, LCSW, the support group meets from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm at the Freeman Business Center conference rooms. Guests should enter from the rear parking lot. Physical distancing and mask wearing will be practiced. Refreshments and door prizes are provided.

Please RSVP to Kathy Mason at or call 417.347.8463.

The Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition (MOCAN) Worksite Workgroup are accepting applications for the Missouri Work Well Award.

The University of Missouri (MU) Extension, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), launched this program to recognize employers who create a working environment that supports healthy behaviors.

Employers are recognized based on criteria for their level of support in four levels: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Platinum.

Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by the MU Extension and MOCAN. To receive recognition and the award at the July MOCAN meeting, please submit your completed application by June 1. See the full flyer here.

Having a healthy environment in the workplace is essential for employers and employees to be successful and productive. In a healthy workplace, you may find employees have higher job satisfaction and feel less stressed.

An unhealthy workplace can lead to job burnout – a state of emotional, mental, and sometimes physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Employees and employers may feel overwhelmed and dissatisfied with their job. Burnout can cause physical fatigue and unwanted stress. Focusing on your emotional, mental and physical health can help you fight feelings of burnout, which in turn will help you be more productive, fell less stressed, and create a healthier work environment.

By focusing on mental, physical, and emotional health, you can create a culture that thrives with employees who are productive and satisfied with their work. Mental health in the workplace is important for everyone because when it is a priority everyone feels safe. For most employees, better mental health and a healthy workplace means creating a work-life balance. Although employers cannot control what goes on outside of work, they can try to create a space where employees feel safe and enjoy coming to work.
Here are some ideas on how to create a healthy workspace:

• Offer resources to mental health benefits: Start an employee assistance program. Provide resources for counseling sessions and/or telehealth visits for mental health.

• Promote setting boundaries: Encourage time management and give employees so they can establish and maintain regular work day hours.

• Support wellness activities: Create a wellness program and encourage physical activity. Start walking groups or team yoga sessions. Keep sleep logs. Have group or personal meditation.

These are only some of the ideas that employers can establish in their workplace . They lessen the risk of job burnout and keep employees coming back to work. By prioritizing mental, physical, and emotional health, you will find that employees come to work happier, less stressed and more productive.

Submitted by Abbie Casper, MSSU Health Promotion and Wellness Intern
Reviewed by Kris Drake RN, CHPD Freeman Health System Wellness Coordinator

Learn about what’s new in local healthcare with Freeman Health System’s newsletter, Freeman in a Flash. Read about the new specialty clinic in Pittsburg, workplace wellness training, and much more below.

Freeman Celebrates 100th Robotic Bronchoscopy

Last summer, Freeman brought the MONARCH® robotic bronchoscopy procedure to Joplin, giving our community access to a transformative robotic technology that enables physicians to find lung cancer in its earliest stages. Less than one year later, Freeman has performed 100 procedures with MONARCH and changed dozens of local lives along the way.

Finding lung cancer early dramatically increases survival rates. Freeman patient John Turley and his wife Loretta praise MONARCH and Freeman pulmonologist Dr. Grant Pierson for finding Turley’s lung cancer at stage one.

“He’s had all five radiation treatments required to get rid of the cancer and had no side effects,” said Loretta Turley. “It was wonderful that they found it at stage one because he didn’t have any symptoms. We feel very fortunate that they found it that soon. Now, he will have more time to live.”

Read more about the Turleys’ story here.

OccuMed Medical Director Named to AOCOPM Board of Directors

Join us as we congratulate Freeman OccuMed Medical Director Dr. Dennis Estep for being named as a trustee to the board of directors for the American Osteopathic College of Occupational and Preventive Medicine (AOCOPM). The organization aims to improve public health through the practice of preventive medicine.

In this role, Dr. Estep will assist the organization with building strong residency relationships for graduating physicians and shape continuing education programs for current providers.

Familiar Faces in New Roles at Freeman OccuMed

Freeman OccuMed is pleased to share the following staffing updates:

  • Raenna Diaz, LPN, assumed the role of onsite coordinator. She has seven years of experience at Freeman Health System and most recently worked as a technician in Neosho and Joplin OccuMed. Contact Raenna to schedule services onsite at your company.
  • Linda Sitton, FNP-BC, returned to Freeman OccuMed as a staff nurse practitioner. Sitton most recently served in Freeman COVID-19 drive-through testing and is the former operations director at Freeman OccuMed. She has more than 25 years of combined experience at Freeman Health System.

Freeman Expands Specialty Services in Pittsburg

Freeman is proud to open Freeman Specialty Clinic of Pittsburg, offering a growing number of health services to enable patients to get care closer to home.

“We understand that traveling to Joplin for medical appointments can sometimes be difficult or burdensome—that’s why we continue to extend our range of services in this community,” said Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker. “Our caregivers always put patients first, providing the compassionate, expert care you’ve come to expect from Freeman.”

Freeman Specialty Clinic of Pittsburg offers nephrology, pulmonology and endocrinology services at one convenient location. Even better, pain management services will be added in June and more services will be coming soon. Referrals are required.

Learn more here.

Award Applications Open for Worksites Promoting Wellness

Applications are now being taken through June 1 for the 2022 Missouri Worksite Wellness Award. These awards recognize employers that invest in creating an environment that supports healthy behaviors.

Organizations that receive the award will be recognized during the quarterly MOCAN conference on Thursday, July 21.

Read more here.

Wellness for Business Series: Part Two, Building Your Employee Wellness Program

During this FREE session, attendees will be guided through a “crash course” in workplace wellness guided by the WorkWell Missouri Toolkit. Developed to assist businesses in starting, adding to or maintaining a wellness program, this is a step-by-step guide for employers to use in assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating a workplace wellness program.

There are options to attend the event in person and virtually.

Work@Health Training for Missouri Employers

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Work@Health training enhances employer knowledge of tools for the planning, implementation and evaluation of workplace health interventions. The curriculum provides employers with the skills to create a worksite wellness program using strategies to address chronic health conditions.

Cost is $25 per participant. Learn more and register here.


Healthy Joplin, a combined effort of One Joplin and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, is working on a group walking initiative in the community. If you or your organization is interested in hosting a walking group (it’s easy, we promise), you’ll find information about how to participate on the Walking Leaders Facebook group.

The pinned post is a video PSA about the health benefits of walking in groups. Check it out — you might recognize someone it in!

Caregiver Support Group

The Freeman Caregiver Support Group will meet on Thursday, January 20 at 10:30 am in the Freeman East Conference Rooms.

Join fellow caregivers for this support group meeting to gain advice on what lies ahead, make new friends and learn how to better take care of family members. Door prizes will be given out.

RSVP to Kathy Mason at 417.347.8463 or To see the full list of upcoming events offered by Freeman, click here.

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