Hiring and onboarding employees continues to grow more difficult and costly. Companies that focus retention and efforts through the lens of workplace wellness can increase employee retention and productivity.

Join Freeman Health System and the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted by Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) for a seminar titled Workplace Wellness to Retain Employees on Thursday, September 28 from 7:30 to 9:30 am.

Participants will:

  • Discuss the importance of supporting employees in whole-person wellness (health, safety, meaning, connection, achievement, growth resiliency, etc.).
  • Review the Wellness Wheel.
  • Increase employee interest in workplace wellness programs using a needs and interest survey.
  • Use incentives to drive wellness programs
  • Demonstrate easy wins by implementing the CALM Campaign and Walking Groups in the Workplace

Registration begins at 7:30 am, where a light breakfast will be served. All registration fees are covered by Freeman. To register or learn more, click here.


Missouri SBDC at MSSU

(Joplin, MO) – This summer, the Joplin Parks & Recreation Department will offer youth t-ball programs at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

The Youth T-Ball League is for children ages five and six and will begin on June 6 with games at 6:00 and 7:00 pm. Players will receive a jersey, hat, and trophy. The cost is $45 per player, and pre-registration is required by May 15. There is an early bird special for registrations that take place before March 31 at 11:59 pm. Those who register before this deadline will receive $10 off.

About Joplin Parks & Recreation

The Joplin Parks and Recreation Department provides quality parks, services, and programs to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Joplin and surrounding communities. Learn more at www.joplinparks.org.


Lynn Iliff Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 204

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends getting your body moving at least 150 minutes per week. It does not have to be strenuous activity. Just simply get up and move. With virtual fitness being a new trend, it has become easier to find ways to get in simple, easy workouts. The AHA offers many fitness resources, including information on fitness basics, getting active, and staying motivated.

Between social media and a variety of fitness apps out there, it has become very easy to find virtual workouts. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are three big sites to keep in mind. Many fitness influencers will post their daily workouts with instructions on how to do the exercises. Some will even post beginner workouts for those who are unsure about where to start. These workouts can be altered for use at home, the gym, wherever it needs to be done. And these are all quick and easy resources that are free! 

FitOn is an app that also provides free workouts from many different trainers. From cardio and strength training to mobility and meditation, they have it all. This would be a great source if you are not sure where to start your fitness journey. All the workouts provide the time it will take to complete as well as the intensity level, so you know what you are getting into beforehand. They even have quite a few workouts that you can do from your desk at work! The MU Extension also has a great five-minute mindfulness exercise you do at your desk if you need to take a quick breather.

These quick and easy resources make it easier for someone with a busy schedule to get a workout in during lunch, at home before or after dinner. This may be easier than trying to make time to get to the gym before or after work or attending a workout class. These resources also provide quick, easy, healthy meal options. Many of the fitness influencers on social media will share meals they make throughout the week, including the recipes and step-by-step instructions. 

Utilizing these free resources can be a great way to kick start for your fitness journey!

Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program.


Kaitlyn Collins, Health Promotions and Wellness Intern
Missouri Southern State University

(Joplin, MO) – Joplin Parks & Recreation is offering introductory sports programs for preschoolers this spring at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

Little Kickers Soccer is designed to introduce preschoolers to the sport of soccer. The program begins the week of April 4 and will be held on Tuesday or Thursday evenings, depending on which session the child is enrolled. The cost is $38/player and includes a jersey and an award. Pre-registration is required by March 21.

The four-week programs are focused on introducing young children, ages three to four years old, to the basic fundamentals of the sport they’re enrolled in. Through the use of drills and fun skill development games, the programs are focused on developing each child’s skills and self-confidence in a non-competitive atmosphere.

Joplin Parks & Recreation programs are open to all Four States residents. For more information, or to register, please visit www.joplinparks.org or call 417.625.4750.

 About Joplin Parks & Recreation 

The Joplin Parks and Recreation Department provides quality parks, services, and programs to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Joplin and surrounding communities. Learn more at www.joplinparks.org.

(Joplin, MO) – Registration is now open for the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department’s adult recreational sport leagues. Adults looking to get outside and have some fun this spring are encouraged to register for the Adult Softball and/or Soccer Leagues held at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

Softball leagues begin the week of March 20 and the soccer league begins on March 22. All players must be 18 years or older. First-place teams will receive a championship trophy. Softball team entry fee is $300; soccer team entry is $310. Softball registration ends March 13; soccer ends March 14.

Awards will be presented to league champions in each sport with tournament play at the end of the season.  All sports programs use officials and have established reputations for quality play.

For more information or to register, please visit www.joplinparks.org or call Joplin Parks and Recreation at 417.625.4750.

About Joplin Parks & Recreation:

The Joplin Parks and Recreation Department provides quality parks, services, and programs to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Joplin and surrounding communities. Learn more at www.joplinparks.org.

From now through New Year’s Day, schedules will likely be filled with family obligations like traveling and festive outings.  Most likely those outings will involve tempting treats.  Even the most disciplined people can find it difficult to stick to their health and fitness routines.


  • Map out upcoming events, then plan and prepare yourself so you can stay on track.
  • Choose low-fat options when preparing foods.
  • Sign up for a holiday race with family and friends.
  • Balance eating well with indulging.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Make sleep a priority.
  • Don’t skip your regular workouts.
  • Visit the Joplin Family Y for “Fitness Before the Feast” on Thanksgiving morning from 7:00 am until noon.

Establish Healthy Habits with the Y Family:

It is our mission to provide our members and communities with the resources and support they need to be healthy in spirit, mind, and body.

Submitted by:
Joplin Family YMCA

(Joplin, MO) – The Joplin Trails Coalition is pleased to announce it has been designated as a 2022 AARP Community Challenge Grant Recipient, one of only four in the state of Missouri. These AARP grants fund quick-action projects to improve livability of communities for people of all ages.

The AARP grant will provide the needed funds to install an ADA-compliant concrete ramp on the Frisco Greenway Trail, on the south side of Fountain Road, in Webb City. This will make the trail access and road crossing safer, and it will make the trail more accessible for community members of all ages, especially those using mobility supports.

There is no official work start date but the project should be completed by the end of November.

To learn more about the Joplin Trails Coalition, please click here.


Bob Herbst
Joplin Trails Coalition

(Joplin, MO) – Caregivers help patients with care that can range from dressing and bathing to meal prep, transportation to doctor appointments and social activities. This care can take a toll on the caregiver both mentally and physically. According to the Family Caregiver’s Alliance, 25% of male caregivers and 35% of female caregivers report high stress due to caregiving. Exercise provides an outlet for stress and offers relief and relaxation.

Personal trainer Karen King, of the Joplin Family YMCA, will share advice for caregivers at the Freeman Caregiver Support Group meeting July 14. King will explain what caregivers can do to ensure fitness and nutrition for their loved ones and themselves. She will explain opportunities available at the YMCA, as well as provide tips to be successful.

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 kdmason@freemanhealth.com or call 417.347.8463.


Kathy Mason, Freeman Community Health Worker
Freeman Health System

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 BigBAMRide.com. 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 www.joplinmo.org/jobs.

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 www.joplinparks.org.