Emerald Swim Fund

Emerald 1939Longtime Mission Valley resident and avid swimmer Emerald (Bonser) Barker, thought someday she might write a book and call it “Lakeshore Memories.” Her memories include swimming in Flathead Lake as a child, a young lady, a bride, a mom, and a senior citizen. When folks started to talk about a swimming pool for Polson, where people could swim year-round, Emerald made it her business to become part of the Mission Valley Aquatics group in its early days.

Emerald’s favorite place to swim in Polson was below the bridge, at Riverside Park, although she would dive into the lake many other places, including Blue Bay and others. On many a New Year’s Day, Emerald was part of the Polar Bear Plunge and her picture sometimes made the front page of the newspaper.

Emerald and her family wished to give back some of the benefits she and they have received through the years from the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation. They created the Emerald Swim Fund to assist children who love to swim at Mission Valley Aquatics. The fund will support one student, each year, with an annual swim pass ($150 value), one group swim lesson session ($65 value) and one swim suit from the swim shop at the Mission Valley Aquatic Center ($25).

Emerald 1948A proud member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, Emerald and her family made the decision to give back to the community upon receipt of funds from the Cobell Settlement. The Emerald Swim Fund is currently funded for three years and will provide an opportunity for a young tribal member, who regularly attends school, to enjoy swimming at the Mission Valley Aquatic Center.

To download the Emerald Swim Fund application, click HERE. Preference will be given to a CS&K tribal member.

Donations to the building fund (Mission Valley Aquatics) in her name will be memorialized in an Emerald Bonser Barker tribute plaque, and also a Harry Huston Bonser plaque in memory of her father.

Emerald’s family includes daughter Mary Cecilia Goodby, who is a tribal member, granddaughter, Sara (Goodby) Nordio, Sara’s husband, Keith Nordio, and their daughter, Sofia Grace Nordio.



Mission Valley Aquatic Center
P.O. Box 774
Polson, Montana 59860

(406) 883-4567