Filling the Y

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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Fundy Y looking to attract younger families

The Fundy Y is half way to their membership goal.

They have signed up 700 members in the last six months and want to reach 1,200.

“1,200 makes it sustainable,” says Jane Seary, manager at the Y. “Our business plan is based on an all-inclusive model. Once you buy a membership, once you’re in through the door it shouldn’t cost you anything more – you have full access to all the facilities, the water classes, the walking track and everything that is happening that day.”

Peter and Bev Dickie joined three months ago and love the all-inclusive model.

“I don’t lift weights,” says Peter. “I use the machines. I use 17 different machines in there. We can use everything; we’re not limited in any way. I can come every day if I want to.”

Peter worked as a land surveyor and on his own woodlot his whole life and never thought he’d be paying money to work out in a gym.

“When you’ve slung a powersaw around for eight hours a day, the last place you need to go is to workout in a gym,” he says. “But then I found out there was more to life than working all the time and started slowing down and enjoying things. After a while I noticed I was getting flabby – it was like touching a marshmallow.”

The Dickies first got hooked on indoor exercise when the Y let people use the walking track during renovations.

“Bev and I can’t walk outside when the road is icy and slushy,” says Peter. “We got to meet people and got hooked.

“It’s a great social place. There’s no need for anyone to be sitting home, feeling lonely or bored.”

When the Y opened Bev wanted to give it a try and Peter came with.

“It was the best investment we ever made for our health,” says Peter. “I was having trouble with my shoulders and my rotator cuff, it was very painful and I’m full of arthritis. Coming here has made all the difference in the world.”

Peter and Bev go to the Y about four times a week for a couple hours at a time.

“I’m not trying to become a Charles Atlas,” says Peter. “I just want to get toned up, feeling good and healthy.”

When the Dickies first joined they took advantage of free orientation sessions offered to every new member.

They got a one-hour, one-on-one appointment with a wellness leader. She showed them the equipment and how to use it and even gave them a little personal plan to get them started.

They’ll also get two more follow-up visits when they’re ready for a little change.

A majority of the Y’s members are like Peter and Bev—older, looking to tone up, to feel happier and healthier.

The water art classes for example are the Y’s most popular program, so popular they have to run classes back-to-back to fit everyone in.

Seary says the Y would like to have the same success attracting families and younger people to the Y.

They recently ran a three-hour hockey-conditioning workshop for the Digby Peewees; they’ve revamped the pool schedule in response to teacher requests to make room for school groups to visit.

They’re trying to get a mention in local school newsletters and they’re working on a plan to give every student in local schools a day pass for them and a parent.

“So they can come and see what the Y has to offer,” says Seary. “So they can see the quality of the facility and quality of the programs.”

The Y has several programs aimed at youth including Tumblebugs, a Youth Zone Friday nights for ages 6 to 17, youth tae kwan do and youth fitness.

Seary says money can be a problem for some people but the Y is a charity, she says, and wants to help.

They have a membership assistance program which takes into account not only your income but your expenses as well.

Time also seems to be a big problem for busy families, which is why the Y is staying open until 9 p.m. now.

Jenn and Tyler Neufeld bring their children Randi-Lynn and Nash several times a week.

The children aren’t involved in organized sports or other after school activities yet and the parents work shift work and so can come during the day.

The Neufelds both like to work out so they juggle the child minding—one swims with the children for example while the other is in the gym.

Tuesdays and Thursday nights and Saturday mornings the Y takes a turn. They offer child-minding services for $3 an hour and $2 for each additional child.

The Neufelds also take advantage of Tumblebugs to get in a few reps in the gym while the children are playing.

“The Y has everything we need, the machines, the pool and programs for the kids,” says Jenn. “There’s something here for everybody.”

Jenn understands that some people are scared of the cost but sees people paying for individual programs that add up over a month to the all-inclusive cost of the Y.

“We are really lucky to have such a modern well-equipped facility in our community,” she says. “And I don’t think people know what a great facility it is.”

 The Y is working on that with the student day passes and a guest pass program called “Try the Y”. Any current member of the Y can pick up a guest pass for a friend good for one week of free entry.

Peter Dickie says he tells everyone he meets they need to try it to believe it.

“Its wonderful to have a facility like this in the community,” he says. “I look forward to coming here. I just can’t say enough about it. “

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