Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Chuck and Carolyn Culp were dealt a double whammy when they were both diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, both conquered the disease, though surgeries and treatments took their toll on the couple’s bodies, leaving them wobbly and weak.
Motivated to achieve optimal health, two years ago they joined the LIVESTRONG program offered through the Hendricks Regional Health YMCA, designed to empower cancer survivors by improving their muscle mass and strength. The program improved their stamina and stability, reduced their waistlines and weight, and increased their energy and enthusiasm for physical fitness. Eager to continue in their health journey, they joined the YMCA, located at 301 Satori Parkway. Carolyn also enrolled in the club’s Diabetes Prevention Program.
“This is the best I’ve ever felt,” Carolyn says. “I’m thankful the Y has a variety of exercise programs, so I’m never bored.”
Set up like a condo where the Hendricks Regional Health YMCA owns their half and the hospital owns theirs, this partnership enables the entities to collaborate in many areas. For instance, they hold a free class called “Wake Up” that teaches youth and families about nutritious eating, healthy snacking and physical fitness. The 12-week LIVESTRONG program is another offering. Other benefits include a 30-day free membership following surgery to encourage patients to commit to their rehabilitation exercises.
“Our partnership is very unique,” says Mary Beth Carmichael, Community Vice President of the Hendricks Regional Health YMCA. “In fact, we are only one of three in the country with such an integrated partnership.”
Sports programs, including basketball, tee-ball, soccer and flag football, draw great interest, as do ballet and taekwondo. Other classes include Zumba, kickboxing, yoga, cycle, aerobics, dance fusion, cardio hip-hop, step interval and BOSU body.
Swim lessons, however, are by far the facility’s most popular program. When this club location opened nearly six years ago, they had 12 water fitness classes a week. Now, they provide more than 30, including Shallow Water Aerobics, Deep Water Aerobics, Aqua Zumba and Arthritis Management.
“The baby boomer population — or, as we call them, ‘active older adults’ — is really growing,” Carmichael says. “Water classes benefit them greatly because it’s kinder on the joints.”
The facility also boasts a 9,000 sq. ft. wellness center with state-of-the-art strength and cardiovascular equipment, athletic fields, two full-court gymnasiums, indoor rock climbing wall, family center with play structure, an outdoor walking trail and a teen and senior center.
Partnering with doctors in the community helps connect the dots of health and wellness.
“A lot of doctors encourage their patients to lose weight, but they aren’t equipped to help them do it,” Carmichael says. “That’s where we come in.”
Physicians give their patients wellness referrals to the Y, good for a free two-week trial membership, thereby jumpstarting their fitness regimen. According to Carmichael, 80 percent of those who join are eager to reap the benefits of the wellness center.
“When you become a Y member, we pair you with a wellness coach who guides you and keeps you accountable,” Carmichael says. “You also get two free appointments with a registered nutritionist, who supplies tips on making healthy food choices and implementing portion control.”
Childcare is another area where the YMCA shines. Separated by age (infants, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary students), the child-to-adult ratio for infants is 1:3 and for school-age boys and girls, 1:10. Toys are washed twice a day and the play area bleached monthly. They even have rockers for nursing moms to use.
Another wonderful perk for members with children is the ability to leave the building for up to two hours to run errands, child-free.
“It can be difficult to shop with little ones,” Carmichael says. “This provides parents a bit of relief.”
In addition, starting this summer, for just $25 per month, the Y is adding a “plus-one” membership option, ideal for a nanny, grandparent or college student who may accompany a younger child to the facility.
Summer camps, which start the day after area schools let out and run through the end of July, are for children ages 3-15.
“We do cookouts, walks, biking,” Carmichael says. “It’s far better than indulging in non-stop screen time.”
The Y also provides year-round before and after school childcare for Plainfield, Avon and Wayne Township students.
The YMCA, a non-profit charity, never turns anyone away due to an inability to pay.
“We offer scholarships for families who can’t afford to come because we want everyone to have a Y experience, regardless of their financial situation,” Carmichael says.
That’s one reason the club hosts golf outings and fun runs throughout the year.
In addition, the Avon High School Student Government annually hosts Avon Night Light Glow 5K Run/Walk and Community Fair to benefit Hendricks Regional Health Foundation Prenatal and Pediatric Care.
“Some people think the Y is a place to swim and that’s it,” Carmichael says. “We’re so much more.”
Yes, there are classes, camps and camaraderie. There’s also the formation of friendships, fitness and a fortitude of spirit. Carolyn, for one, is amazed by the impact the Y has had on her life.
“I’m grateful to be a part of The Hendricks Regional Health YMCA family,” she says.
YMCA Summer Day Camps
Parents have the option of enrolling their children (ages 3-15) in a variety of summer camps.
Traditional camp involves archery, arts & crafts, hiking, fort building and environmental education. Sports camp is ideal for students who are looking to learn new skills on the fields and on the court. Enrichment camp gives kids three hours of daily intensive instruction in a designated area such as pottery, art and Legos. All campers get a chance to swim in the indoor pool at least twice a week.
Half and full-day options enable students to attend all summer long. Alternatively, parents can pick and choose which weeks to send their child. Daily camp hours run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., with extra hours available from 6:30-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.
For more information, contact Katie Teal, Program Director at 317-771-0015 or firstname.lastname@example.org