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Being able to clearly and effectively communicate with your members is always important. But in a time when facilities are closed and the country is facing a pandemic, communication is vital.

The Sid Jacobson JCC (SJJCC) located in East Hills, New York, is communicating with members and the greater community through emails, social media and their website. “We also encourage members to stay healthy and fit during this time,” said Trisha Watro, the PR and communications director at the SJJCC. “Our new Health + Wellness Facebook Group can help members do just that. Members can get fitness inspiration, dance along to a Zumba class or get a healthy recipe by joining the group.”

The SJJCC also created a Virtual Resources section of their website so members can easily access both On-Demand and live content for everything from fitness and Shabbat to baking and mindful meditation to relieve anxiety.

The YMCA of Northern Utah, like the SJJCC, is using email, social media and their website to communicate with their members during the coronavirus pandemic. However, they are taking it a step further. “We are personally calling all our families to evaluate community needs so we can develop a strong and meaningful action plan,” said Mandy Lail, the marketing director for the Northern Utah Y.

According to Lail, members are reacting well to the Y’s social media posts and emails. “Families are also loving the personal touch of a phone call dedicated just to them,” she explained.

In the last two weeks, the SJJCC has seen engagement on their Facebook page and groups skyrocket. “Facebook has been a great way for our staff, program directors, participants and members to stay in touch and access all of the SJJCC virtual resources as they continue to evolve,” explained Watro.

Despite being closed, if members have specific questions, the Northern Utah Y has all their phone lines still active, and most of the employees are still working. “Community members can reach out to any of our numbers or staff for questions,” explained Lail. “They can also contact us through our website and direct messages through Instagram and Facebook.”

During this uncertain time, the top priority for rec centers across the U.S. is keeping communities connected.

The Northern Utah Y is doing this by providing childcare for essential city employees, medical personnel and first responders in Ogden City. Additionally, their Taylorsville YMCA Community Family Center is providing meals to children in the community as supplies last.

The SJJCC is continuing to reach out to the community in this time of need. Below, Watro shared, in her own words, some of the ways they are staying connected:

  • We have reached out to over 1,500 JCC senior members and made personal phone calls to over 250 seniors to provide comfort and assess needs.
  • We have created a pen pal program between our seniors and Early Childhood children.
  • Six pallets of food were distributed to partner agencies (perishable and non-perishable) through SJJCC’s partnership with Island Harvest.
  • Our Nancy Marx Cancer Wellness Center’s daily email reaches 300-plus individuals to provide updates on programs, available content and helpful tips for remaining healthy in mind, body and spirit.

If your facility needs additional resources during this uncertain time visit our COVID-19 Resource Page for articles, virtual resources and more to help your staff and you during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is a staff writer for Community Rec Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com.

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