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Stepping on a treadmill isn’t the only way to be healthier, and the industry is constantly gaining more knowledge and adjusting to this fact. Non-fitness programs, such as art classes, film festivals and educational services, are very beneficial to an individual’s wellness and a child’s development.

“We really believe wellness is much more than fitness, so we’re happy to support the community’s wellness needs, whether that has to do with nutrition, inclusion or something artistic,” said Jennifer Selco, the director of Jewish life and learning at the Tucson Jewish Community Center in Tucson, Arizona.

The Tucson J places an emphasis on creating community and learning opportunities through non-fitness programs, particularly through its full art gallery and sculpture garden.

In the art gallery, the Tucson J displays local artists or hosts educational programs for members of all ages. “Sometimes, there’s an educational component, and other times, we’re just showing beautiful artwork,” said Selco. “But there’s something for everyone.”

Various art programs, for children and adults, are also critical to the Tucson J’s success. “We have a fully functioning art studio where we’re able to offer ceramics, painting and drawing,” shared Selco. “People can come and experiment, and explore their creativity beyond just fitness.”

The Tucson J also hosts regular film festivals to give movie-makers the chance to show their work, and give members a chance to experience something enriching. Many of the films tackle real issues affecting the community, and after the credits roll, attendees are welcome to take place in an open discussion about themes from the film and how they apply to the real world.

“Through film, art and sculptures, we talk about the issues facing our community, and how we can all be a part of addressing them and making our world a better place,” said Selco. 

The latest equipment, Group X classes and aquatics programs are all important to success, but without non-fitness programs in the mix, building community for members of all ages and walks of life will be more difficult.

Helping members explore their creativity beyond fitness is important for overall wellness, and it’s a big part of the Tucson J’s mission. “We’re always looking to find ways that art and culture can help bring people together, build community and give people the opportunity to have an impact in our world,” said Selco.


What non-fitness programs are most popular in your facility? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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