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After a year of closures and lack of swim programs, community recreation centers are preparing to welcome back a summer of swimming.

Among these centers is the Staenberg – Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver) who just reopened its fitness center. While the outdoor, year-round, heated pool has been open for lap swimmers since the fall, JCC Denver announced family memberships are available for the newly renovated pool for this summer.

To oversee the fitness and aquatics center, JCC Denver hired WTS International, an organization that specializes in fitness center management. Tom LaCasse from WTS International will be the new general manager of the fitness and aquatics programs.

Over the past several months, the JCC has been updating the fitness center to freshen up for the reopening including painting the entire fitness center, updating cleaning procedures and revamping its programming in conjunction with WTS. The JCC Denver created comprehensive COVID-19 processes and protocols – which WTS International used to reopen other JCC facilities – to ensure a safe environment for everyone. These updates freshen up the space and elevate the member experience by providing a facility that is clean, offers more reliable service and programming, and is positioned to better serve the community’s fitness and gathering needs.

In early 2020, several updates were made to the outdoor pool including:

  • Renovating the pool
  • Adding several private cabanas to the pool area that can be rented out
  • Adding a new play structure
  • Lounge furniture
  • Picnic tables
  • Multiple large umbrellas to provide shade around the pool
  • Updating the Snack Shack

“We can’t wait for the community to join us again at the JCC to work out and swim after such a long closure,” said LaCasse in a statement. “With the upgrades we’ve made and more on the way, we are certain our members will have a great experience. We’re also excited to reopen with a renewed customer service focus.”

More updates can be expected at the fitness center in the coming months including a new virtual platform with live and pre-recorded fitness classes, personal training and wellness programs. The platform will be free of charge as part of the fitness membership. Additionally, a new mobile app is being finalized, which will allow members to easily check-in, reserve a lap lane, view group exercise schedules and reserve a class, and purchase personal training, Pilates, or swim lesson sessions.

The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is also gearing up for a summer of swimming with an added emphasis on water safety. Due to pandemic restrictions, many kids were unable to learn the necessary skill of swimming offered at schools and recreation centers.

With this concern in mind, the Cincinnati Y announced its goal to help 5,000 local children learn how to swim this summer. This goal is double what it normally teaches during a normal year. The Y says it wants to not only reach its own members, but also work with partners to reach its goal.

“We’re very concerned they haven’t been around the water,” said Jorge Perez, the president and CEO of the Cincinnati Y in a statement. “We need to make sure we prepare them to get back in the water. Just because they were great swimmers in 2019 doesn’t mean they are ready to go back into the deep end of the pool.”

To help reach 5,000 kids, the Y is asking for donations including swimsuits, bathing suits, caps, goggles, towels and flotation devices. The Y says it wants to meet physical needs in the form of safety lessons but also help with any financial needs that could keep a family or students away from a pool. To help meet this need, anyone who donates a new swim suit, towel or puddle jumper is able to sign up for a YMCA membership and have their joining fee waved.


Photo courtesy of JCC Denver. 

Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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