WARSAW — In order to combat the loneliness that can come from being at home, keep people active and continue to connect with the community, the Kosciusko County YMCA has started livestreaming workouts.
Once the YMCA had to make the difficult decision to close, employees immediately began working on a way to still offer programs to not only their members but the entire community during this difficult time. One of the tenets the YMCA is built on is social responsibility, which led them to communicate with the health department and make the decision to temporarily close their doors in order to rebuild supplies and clean the building. While the YMCA normally does a September shutdown to deep clean the building, employees are instead taking this time to work through the cleaning list.
A virtual programming team was quickly put into place to see what they would be able to do and what kind of outlets they would be able to use. Tracy Frick, director of healthy living, and Ben Keffer, director of marketing and fund development, worked together to see what they could do to bring the YMCA to individuals at home.
“We just want people moving and not going stir crazy in their homes. Health and wellness are the first things to go in times like this and we want to provide options to combat that,” Frick described. “By providing programming to our seniors, we help with the isolation they feel from their loss of community. The seminars give members of our community education to eat heart healthy and make good choices in times of stress.”
On Monday, March 23, the team kicked off their first official livestream. This is a novel type of programming and so the team realizes they will encounter some snags along the way, such as not realizing how quickly the camera battery may run out. However, they also prepared and planned for the best way to bring these alternative programs to the community.
For example, while fitness instructors typically use a wireless microphone for their classes, Keffer found a clip-on microphone would work best for the livestream. The room instructors used for classes is set up so there will be little light and sound from the outside. The room also has a mirror along one wall. Frick mentioned there are two main reasons for the mirror. As instructors teach their class, they are able to check their form to ensure it looks right. It also helps to keep them energized to see movement during the workout, even if it’s just a reflection of herself. With the recent stay-at-home mandate, however, staff members remain just as dedicated by livestreaming workout classes directly from their home.
The weekly schedule for the YMCA livestream is posted on their website under “alternative programming” and these programs were chosen to offer a workout for everyone. On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, the day starts with a cardio and strength workout at 9:15 a.m., followed at 10:30 a.m. with a class for active older adults and finishing at 5:30 p.m. with one of the Y’s “trademark classes” in either Piyo or Piloxing. Friday offers workouts at 9:30 a.m. with “Moms on the Move” and a workout for kids at 10:30 a.m. called Fitness Fundamentals. On Tuesdays, the YMCA’s chaplain, Matt Goebel, offers livestream devotionals at 10:30 a.m. For those who cannot watch the classes during the livestream, videos will be posted on the YMCA’s YouTube page.
While the YMCA staff is hoping to reopen following the governor’s stay-at-home mandate, they will continue to work closely with the health department to do so when it is safe. If the reopening date is pushed back, they have a plan in place to offer more programming including more fitness classes and blood pressure self monitoring. The staff also plans to offer chronic disease prevention, Livestrong and personal training to existing members.
Frick encourages the community to communicate with the staff via the Facebook page to let them know if there is something they need or would like to see virtually during this time.
For a link to the Y’s livestream programming, visit www.kcymca.org/alternative-programming.
To watch a livestream video, visit the Kosciusko Community YMCA Facebook page.
To view the YouTube videos, visit the Kosciuskocommunityy YouTube page.