Dear Racine Family YMCA Members,
Thank you for your continued support of the Y as our community faces the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. One way the Y has pitched in to help contain the spread of this serious health threat was to temporarily close our Riverside and Sealed Air Y branches and suspend open gym programs at the George Bray Neighborhood Y. With federal and state guidelines further restricting the size of public gatherings almost daily, and respected public health officials urging all of us to avoid discretionary travel and practice social distancing, we will continue to do our part to help keep our community safe and healthy.
As I shared in my previous letter, we are hoping to reopen our branches and programs on March 30. We will only do this, however, if this action aligns with the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Racine County Health Department. As always, our priority is to keep you, your loved ones, and our staff team safe and healthy. We will keep you informed of the status of this plan as the situation progresses.
In the meantime, staying active and fit is an effective way to build a strong immune system and stay healthy. While we would prefer you could be here with us enjoying the Y’s facilities and programs, we have arranged several free workout resources our members can enjoy in the safety and comfort of their homes. We hope you will find they add value to your membership until our doors open again.
• Y360 – This “on demand” healthy living network is a virtual Y workout subscription series that provides a variety of fitness classes (such as boot camp, barre, yoga, etc.) for members of all ages, and includes numerous gentle exercise options suitable for our Active Older Adults. Check back often, as new classes are added frequently. Access classes at the following the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGt_IpceP_xQhhCMCrut_A/featured?flow=grid.
• Les Mills Workouts – This service will make 100+ workouts, in eight popular fitness categories, available to our members throughout the COVID-19 shutdown. It offers something for everyone, including high intensity interval training, dance fitness workouts, the martial arts inspired BODYCOMBAT Invincible program, and mindfulness practices such as yoga. Their BORN TO MOVE series offers age-specific workouts for youth ages 4 to 16 years, and can be helpful for keeping your children moving while they are home from school. You may use the following link to explore your class options any time of day, 24/7: https://watch.lesmillsondemand.com/at-home-workouts. You will not be required to provide Les Mills with any personal data.
At a time when we may all be feeling a little challenged in the face of a global health crisis, we thought you might be encouraged by a reminder that your membership dollars make a tremendous difference in the lives of youth, adults, families, and seniors every day. Your Y is so much more than “sweat socks and swimming pools”, and that commitment continues during these unprecedented times. As a cause-driven organization, we are reaching out to help those in our community who are among the most vulnerable right now:
• Free Lunch Program for Youth – With at least 64% of children enrolled in our schools experiencing economic disadvantage, food insecurity is a problem. With all schools closing with little warning, and likely for weeks, many children who depend on their school’s breakfast and lunch programs are at risk of going hungry. This Monday, we launched a free neighborhood lunch program for students in pre-K—Grade 12. Thanks to the generous support of community partners including Sebastian’s, Piggly Wiggly, SC Johnson, and many Y members, our staff are delivering bag lunches door to door to youth in the neighborhoods around the George Bray Neighborhood Y. We delivered lunches to 107 students on Monday. We believed the need was still greater and were proven right. On Tuesday we served 200! We expect these numbers will grow larger as more families become aware of this service.
• Child Care for Health Care Workers and First Responders – The sudden closure of schools and child care programs has had a serious impact on many families in our community. We are currently working with our local child care licensing agency to obtain authorization to offer child care for school-age children whose families work in essential occupations such as health care, first responders, senior care, etc. We will keep you informed as we make progress with these efforts.
• Strengthening Families – Working to make a difference for families, we’re continuing to offer employment training for fathers and working with adjudicated youth and their families. Our team is currently brainstorming ways we can reach out to our seniors with a helping hand of support.
Over the past few days, many of our members have contacted us to ask how we will be handling their membership and/or program fees during the COVID-19-related closure and interruption to programs. Our board of directors is currently monitoring the projected timeline for the closure of public spaces and is evaluating the possible options. We will be back in touch with you as soon as decisions are made. As a member of a cause-driven organization, we are asking you to please consider maintaining your Y membership. In doing so, you will be part of a shared purpose, serving the community and supporting the programs and services we are launching to meet the needs of the moment.
In the meantime, the following plans are already in place to enhance your membership experience:
• We are using this time to conduct the intensive facility maintenance that is typically scheduled for August. As such, your access to the pool and other facilities that are usually closed for cleaning and maintenance at that time will no longer be interrupted.
• We are adding three additional guest passes to each household membership.
As members, you are very important to us! It is difficult to describe the times we are experiencing now. All we can do is choose to respond as positively as we can. Thank you for supporting our mission of service. We will continue to keep you updated with developments as they unfold. Working together, we can stay safe and healthy and build an even stronger community!
Chief Executive Officer