The Greensburg YMCA is presenting a program to help families become fit through exercise, diet and lifestyle changes at a time when the facility itself is improving its own fitness since the dark days of a covid shutdowns in 2020 and 2021.
“I’m much more positive and hopeful,” said Suzanne Printz, who has been CEO of the Greensburg YMCA since December 2020.
As the new year begins, membership is about 50% of the pre-covid level, up from about 25% in the summer of 2021, Printz said.
“We’re having a nice slow, but steady growth,” Printz said.
The Y reached the goals it set last summer to reach membership of about 50% of its pre-pandemic level of 2,100 households by the end of 2021. The next goal is to reach 75% of the pre-pandemic households by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Another reason for optimism is that the Y is in a “cash positive” position, Printz said. Last summer, the organization had been operating at an annual deficit of $150,000, losses that Printz said it could not sustain.
The Y, like other facilities the state had classified as being “non-essential,” took a hit when it was required to close in March 2020. It did not reopen until mid-June 2020. When members did not return in sufficient numbers, the Y closed its fitness facilities in September 2020. Its child care services and swimming pool remained open. Unlike some fitness facilities that reopened in January 2021, the Y did not reopen until June 2021.
Efforts to maintain programs and services has been challenged by a problem facing so many employers — attracting and retaining staff.
The lack of staff has forced the Y to close some of its preschool and after-school programs, Printz said. They also need lifeguards, maintenance workers, custodians and people to work with adults with disabilities.
“Our staff is working longer hours. Our staff are people who believe in our mission,” she said.
The Y plans to hire a youth development and healthy living director, Printz said.
Because of covid and the reluctance of some people to come into the facility, Printz said the Y has made virtual wellness programs available to people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For now, it is using exercise programs created by other YMCAs, but Printz hopes the Greensburg facility can create its own in the future.
A new program, Fit Family, was launched in September and attracted four families and 11 participants. Another session that starts next week is a multi-faceted approach to improve the health of the mind, body and soul, said Jessica Gardner, YMCA wellness coordinator and personal trainer who is the Fit Family director.
“The idea behind the family program is to get the entire family together to be active and improve their health, both physically and mentally,” she said. “It’s much easier to take it on as a family, and do it together, rather than individually. This way they can support one another throughout the process, too.”
Fit Family programs are open to those age 8 and older. The 45-minute classes will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays until March 3.
In addition to the exercise elements, Excela Health will offer nutritional information through virtual cooking demonstrations, Gardner said.
Improving a person’s physical health can also help their mental health, said Ketty Johnstown of Greensburg, a marriage and family therapist involved in the program.
“A lot of people who have mental health problems also suffer from physical health issues, ” Johnston said. “Studies show one (poor mental health or physical health) affects the other.”
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, email@example.com or via Twitter .