Facility Spotlight: How the Westport YMCA Creates Community
Connection to the community is a hallmark of the Westport Weston Family YMCA, which has been a fixture in Westport, Connecticut since 1923. The YMCA is much more than a fitness center and takes a holistic view when it comes to overall wellness. In fall of 2014, the facility opened the gleaming new 54,000 square foot Bedford Family Center. The space includes a large gym, a children’s play area, group exercise areas, an Olympic sized pool and the 5,600 square foot Robin Tauck Wellness Center.
“Our fitness center was renamed the Wellness Center, with state of the art equipment, well-trained staff, and programs that provide a holistic approach to wellness, not just fitness,” said Alexei Bachuretz, Westport’s Director of Health and Wellness. “We rely on easy-to-use software and machines to help us keep up with the needs of our service area, and Life Fitness has helped us do that.”
One way that Bachuretz connects with his exercisers is by using the LFconnect app to encourage a wide range of member goals. Bachuretz recommends it to all members, but LFconnect stands out when used with Y’s REGENERATE Cancer Survivorship Program.
“We use LFconnect to stay connected to our REGENERATE participants even when they are not meeting with us, and some of the best feedback we have received about our program includes the accountability they feel through LFconnect,” explained Bachuretz. “We periodically send them messages of encouragement or congratulations about personal records on their length of time exercising, hills climbed or speed. This creates a sense of community and also gives us valuable information on whether or not the program is working for them.”
The Westport Weston YMCA is a place that encourages the entire community to stay active. Programming is aimed at regular exercisers, active older adults, families, kids and teens. Each day the schedule at the YMCA is filled with choices like low-impact cardio classes, HIIT workouts, swim fitness classes, meditation and even small group training for middle school kids on the SYNRGY360 unit.
“Our YMCA is known for being a community center, not just a place that houses a fitness center and a pool,” explained Bachuretz. “We offer several summer day camps, after-school programs, senior programs, dance classes, karate, sports programs, Special Olympics teams, triathlon clubs, a competitive swim team, and much more. We model programs after community need, and we are very in touch with our community to be sure that our programs and services change with what they’re looking for.”