On July 17, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) announced a partnership with the YMCA360 digital experience created by the Greater Wichita YMCA. The collaboration gives Y associations across the U.S. a clear view of where the YMCA is headed. It also reinforces its shared commitment to offering a world-class digital solution to members that utilizes best-in-class people, programs and systems to deliver the ultimate connected community.
Ronn McMahon, the president and CEO of the Greater Wichita YMCA, said YMCA360 is structured so every partner has the power to provide content, ideas and member feedback to keep the platform moving forward in a dynamic, responsive and visionary way.
McMahon said the digital offering was first launched in January 2020 before COVID-19. He said Greater Wichita YMCA leaders recognized people’s lifestyles and health habits were shifting, prompting conversations with Y-USA about how the organization could embrace a new innovative digital strategy that would give members the health and wellness options they want.
“This relationship was taken to the next level with the arrival of Suzanne McCormick, the president and CEO, and Tom Gardner, the senior vice president/chief information officer, at Y-USA,” said McMahon. “Keeping the Y brand relevant has always meant keeping up with the times. All parties continue to be enthusiastic about breaking new ground with YMCA360 and capitalizing on its revolutionary approach to holistic health that was developed for the Y, by the Y.”
With the partnership of Y-USA, McMahon said the association’s support of the platform will be integral in facilitating growth and expansion of technical capabilities and features.
“YMCA360 was built to be scalable to grow with demand, and its cost-sharing model makes it an affordable solution for Y associations of all sizes,” said McMahon. “YMCA360 gives youth and adults with mobile lifestyles a new way to interact with the Y even when they can’t make it to a physical location. It’s an invaluable added benefit that allows members to customize their workouts.”
The platform currently has a growing selection of on-demand videos and a robust livestreaming schedule including the best of what physical Y branches have to offer. Such programs include fitness and strength for all ages, sports, wellness/mindfulness, cooking/nutrition, martial arts, youth programs, challenges, Parkinson’s and cancer support, pickleball, water safety, personal training, art instruction, and more.
“The benefits of YMCA360 extend into Y locations as well,” said McMahon. “InStudio, YMCA360’s latest enhancement, is designed to work with an iPad and Apple TV. Anytime they choose, Y staff can use InStudio to schedule, automate and play back any of the more than 1,000-plus pieces of YMCA360’s exclusive on-demand and livestream content directly on TVs in their fitness studios.”
McMahon said InStudio provides a solution to the tight labor market and the disruption caused by last-minute class cancellations. Members also benefit from having additional workout and wellness options that may not otherwise be available to them in the facility.
Hopes and Tips
Moving forward, McMahon said the partnership makes everyone stronger. The added resources provided by Y-USA will also help YMCA360 become that much more robust and responsive to current and future demand.
“Collectively through this seamless member experience, we are enriching the entire Y movement and elevating our brand to keep the Y relevant to both individuals and communities,” said McMahon. “What we’ve learned from YMCA360 is a digital presence can be a valuable contributor to increase in-person traffic, signaling the future of fitness will be a mix of in-person and virtual.”
McMahon added it’s imperative for all YMCAs to have a digital solution and provide their members with access to YMCA360 due to the platform’s functionality being a necessity post-pandemic. Also, he said its quality and delivery far exceeds what any one Y location could accomplish or sustain independently.
“Members who are immersed in this will find it has all they want and much more,” said McMahon. “By exceeding their expectations for convenience, diverse options and expert guidance from Y instructors they already know and trust, we’re giving them the best of both worlds — a world-class digital platform that adds to their in-branch experience.”
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