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Zumba Comes to Mason
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 • Posted March 30, 2011

With a little jingle-jangle to some sassy salsa moves, the ladies of Mason County are getting in the groove! The Zumba Fittness Groove!

Zumba Fitness is the only Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that brings together "salsa" music and contagious dance steps to form a fitness program that is both fun and inspiring. Before you realize it you are caught up in the exotic rhythms of high-energy Latin and international beats. What a way to shape-up and lose weight while having loads of fun!

This all began because of one young women’s vision for a "Fitness Ministry." Sheryl Burleson and her husband Kent moved to Mason in October of 2004. She missed having a good workout facility and joined the local fitness center which consisted of a handful of mostly older people. She and her husband "toyed" with the idea of starting a gym but quickly realized that it would be cost prohibitive.

But that didn’t stop Sheryl from dreaming. She stated, "Whether it was training for a half marathon following the birth of my son, doing Power Pump Weight Class, or training for the Los Angeles Marathon 7 years ago when I turned 40, I have always had a passion to help motivate women, at any age, to be as healthy and physically fit as possible."

Sheryl never let go of that idea and in November 2008 she approached the Elder Board of her church, River of Life, with a proposal for a ShapeUp Weight Lifting Class. They approved and classes started in January of 2009. The first morning class was filled with 40 women, twice more than the weight equipment Sheryl and Kent had provided. The class split in to two, with the other half coming in the afternoon. What started out as 3 classes a week quickly expanded to 6 classes.

Catherine Dyer joined Sheryl to help teach the class. At the time of this writing there are over 150 women going through the Shapeup Weight Lifting Class. Currently there are 5 weight classes a week. A little over a year after beginning the weight classes, Heather Askins, who is a certified Zumba instructor, suggested a Zumba class a few minutes before the weight class. Heather encouraged Sheryl to get certified. Following her certification, Sheryl once again went to the River of Life Church Elder Board to ask permission to teach Zumba Classes along with the Weight Shapeup. It was approved, and Sheryl’s vision extended far beyond her expectations.

She states, "The classes have become an outreach to the community and we are getting such positive feedback." As the classes began to grow so did the need for more certified instructors. Rene Ince became certified to teach Zumba in November of 2010. Just recently Chel (Bearden) Terrell and Lynn Hedges have become certified instructors. Chel will be teaching Zumba classes on Mondays at 5:30p.m. in the fellowship hall at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Lynn will be teaching Zumba Gold ( that’s a little slower pace for us golden oldies) at the First United Methodist Church on Tuesdays and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. beginning in April. There is even a Zumba class at the school for the staff and faculty every Wednesday, directly after school.

As if this isn’t enough "Zumba-ing", Sheryl goes over to Fredericksburg every Tuesday evening (following her class here) and teaches Zumba at the Wellness Center at 6:30p.m. Now if that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is! And all of these classes are free!

I am amazed with the awesome participation from the ladies of Mason. We all know Mason is number One in Tennis. We have super family home team support for our athletes. And when the Habitat people come to town everyone is willing to extend a helping hand.

But now, Ladies of Mason, it is your time to shine. What an inspiration you all are! At one Tuesday afternoon class there were over 60 women dancing and laughing. I believe I can safely say that at least 100 women or more are "doing" the Zumba at one time or another in Mason, Texas! Young women, mothers, sisters, aunties, grandmothers, and believe or not, great-grandmothers. I’ve seen them all lifting weights and….jingling their little skirted jangles toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Thanks Sheryl for following your dream and bringing a community of women together. Mason is a fun place to live. For further information about Zumba or Weight Shapeup classes you can call Sheryl at 347-7707 or go to the River Of Life Church website @ www.rolmason.net for the correct times and places for the classes.

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