Month of events planned to celebrate 10th year of YMCA expansion

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Laura Dennis, healthy living director at the YMCA of Southeast Missouri, (left) and Brandy Johnson, member and program experience director at the YMCA, look over signs that promote the 10th anniversary celebration of the YMCA expansion. (David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)
David Jenkins/Standard Democrat

SIKESTON — Ten years ago in February, the expansion to the YMCA of Southeast Missouri opened and in honor of the mark, the YMCA has a month of events planned.

“I think sometimes people consider the Y a gym, but it is so much more than that,” said Brandy Johnson, member and program experience director at the YMCA.

Since the expansion opened in February 2009, the YMCA has seen its membership more than triple to now over 4,000 members.

“Depending on the time of year, we have the opportunity to welcome over 500 people through our doors a day,” Johnson said. “In January and February that number typically increases, but does not include the number of individuals who attend basketball practices and games or those with whom we have partnered who utilize our facility for organizational meetings.”

And with the 10-year mark approaching, the YMCA has plenty of events planned, including a community-wide kick-off event on Jan. 31.

The event is free to the community and begins at 5 p.m. when those attending can visit health and wellness vendors. At 6 p.m. there will be a group exercise event featuring an array of current classes as well as highlighting some new classes. Facility tours will be offered afterward. Those attending can participate in classes designed for all fitness levels and learn about new class offerings. Free childcare is available and those attending can be entered to win $50 in Y bucks.

But the offerings don’t stop there.

“For the rest of February we are going to be doing free fitness Fridays,” Johnson said. “You will have access to the full building on Fridays and you don’t have to come with a member. It’s free to the community and they will have access to the aquatics center, fitness center, walking track and group exercise classes offered on Friday mornings.”

Johnson added there are also some exercise classes on Friday that the community could take advantage of.

The YMCA will also begin two new exercise classes in February.

“We are going to have a POUND class,” said Laura Dennis, healthy living director. “We sent an instructor to get certified and she’s now a certified POUND pro. People are already talking about this and seem excited about it.”

The POUND class is a full-body jam session that uses lightly weighted drumsticks. The class transforms drumming into a workout combining cardio and strength with yoga and pilates-inspired movements. The class will meet Monday and Wednesday from 7-7:50 p.m.

The other new class is Work It! An athletic, dance-fitness class is choreographed to pop, rock and hip hop hits with cutting-edge, yet achievable dance moves. All fitness levels are welcome and the class will meet on Monday and Wednesday from 6-6:50 p.m.

In addition to the new class offerings, the YMCA also revamped their wellness services they offer.

“We brought on board a certified personal trainer and we’ve contracted with a nutrition coach,” said Dennis. “We are trying to make our packages more user friendly and the services that we offer.”

Those with a membership to the YMCA get a fitness center orientation and wellness consultation free. The orientation is a tour of the facility along with demonstrations of how to use the equipment while explaining what you need to know to feel comfortable using the Fitness Center.

“We have wellness consultations that are free with Y membership,” Dennis said. “They’ll sit down and talk with someone and figure out medically, and based on their goals, what they are looking for what we can do to help them.”

For $25, members can also meet one-on-one with a fitness solution specialist to perform a fitness assessment and receive a fitness plan based on the members goals and current fitness level.

“This fitness solution is a one-time session with our fitness solution specialist where you will walk out the door with a plan in your hand,” Dennis said. “You will know where to go from there.”

The YMCA will also offer a personal training package for four sessions at $140 or eight sessions for $240 along with a nutrition coaching package which is four sessions for $150. There are also wellness combo packages which combines four personal training sessions and four nutrition coaching sessions for $250.

“We have worked hard to stair-step our wellness services so that no matter the financial ability or time availability, we have something for everyone,” Johnson said.

The events continue as the month winds down with the “One Decade Down Indoor Triathlon.”

Participants will swim, bike and run for a set time limit and the performance will be measured by total distance covered in the time allowed. All participants will receive a triathlon T-shirt and prizes will be awarded to the top finisher in each age group and the top relay team. The cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members and registration is in person or online before Feb. 15.

“You don’t have to be an experienced triathlete,” Dennis said. “It’s going to be for all different levels. They can do individuals or relay teams.”

Johnson said the YMCA is also going to be rolling out corporate membership opportunities for both small and large businesses.

“Anyone that is interested can reach out to us but we will also be reaching out to different businesses within our region,” Johnson said. “We’re excited to be able to invest in their employees. That ultimately builds a stronger community for all of us.”

And while the YMCA is considered a gym by some, with the expansion 10 years ago, the YMCA has played a key role in strengthening the community.

“We’ve been able to provide a place that facilitates partnerships within the community,” Johnson said. “The indoor walking track allows people a place to start no matter their fitness level. Our aquatics center has given new life to many. We’ve had several members say they could not get out of bed in the mornings if they weren’t coming to our water aerobics classes.

“The expansion not only provided a place to assist people with their healthy living goals, but also created a place where relationships are built.”

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