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O'Haver puts active spin on life

January 09, 2006|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Name:Sharee O'Haver

Age: 57

Occupation: Member services director at Hagers-town YMCA

Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.

Where would you see O'Haver? "Come on - keep going - faster," prods O'Haver as she leads a cycling class at the YMCA.

Now that the holidays are over and local residents are polishing their resolve to get into shape or lose unwanted holiday pounds, O'Haver is good inspiration.


If anyone has a reason not to exercise, it's O'Haver. She had a knee replacement at the end of May, but within three months, was teaching fitness classes.

O'Haver, who lives in Funkstown with her husband, "Rocky" Buberl, said the first week after surgery she was riding a recumbent bike for physical therapy because of its low impact. Her only restriction is that she cannot run.

She started back into a fitness routine with the arthritis class in the Y's small pool, moved up to the HydroFit class in the deep end of the large pool and now has added swimming laps - one mile - to her personal workout because it's easy on her knees.

"My mind is not as old as my body. Somehow I still think I'm younger," said O'Haver, who has four children and is grandmother to five.

Besides teaching the cycle class once a week, O'Haver also teaches a muscle makeover class and substitutes for an interval aerobics class when needed. She was instrumental in getting the cycling class started eight years ago, after taking a cycling class in California while visiting her son.

"I love movement and music and being physical," O'Haver said.

O'Haver joined the Y staff after moving here from California 32 years ago. With an interest in dance and a desire to her open her own dance studio, she took a job as an adult aerobics and children's tap/ballet instructor.

"I wanted to be Fred Astaire's partner, but he had Ginger," O'Haver said with a laugh.

The dream of opening a dance studio never materialized for O'Haver. Instead, she stuck with the Y because its philosophy meshed with her own.

"You have to be a certain kind of person to commit to the YMCA life. You don't make a lot of money," O'Haver said. "You have to have a passion for the mission statement. It's about so much more than fitness - seniors, day camp, children. There's not much of life that we don't somehow touch."

O'Haver has held a variety of positions over the years. She served as resident coordinator when the old YMCA rented rooms and was the fitness director.

Now she supervises the fitness, aquatics and membership directors at the new facility, which just celebrated its fourth anniversary. The new YMCA has more than 9,000 members, three times the membership of the old one on North Potomac Street.

In this new year, O'Haver's advice to all ages is to get moving.

She cites the arthritis pool class as an example. Despite some pain, she said most class participants are dedicated to being there and that once they work through the pain, they are able to be more active.

"The less you do, the less you're able to do," O'Haver said. "Your quality of life is dependent on you."

Hobbies: O'Haver loves to knit and read. She said her most successful knitting projects are scarves and shawls because they don't require her to read directions.

What does O'Haver like best about Washington County? "I love the seasons. Fall is my favorite," O'Haver said.

She loves how close-knit the community is, although she said that made it hard to get to know people initially.

"It took awhile to become part of it, but now it feels like home," she said.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024, or send e-mail to

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