WESLEY CHAPEL – Treadmills and elliptical machines line the windowed-walls of the Wesley Chapel YMCA, giving runners a sunny view while focused patrons strength train with friendly, personable trainers and YMCA staff across the facility.
It’s been that way for a year now, as the Wesley Chapel YMCA spent this weekend celebrating its one-year anniversary and looking back on the progress it’s made over the course of the year to determine how to move forward in Year 2.
Cindy Noon, membership coordinator for the Union County YMCA at Wesley Chapel, said membership has met expectations over the course of the year.
“Membership has steadily grown over the year,” Noon said. “It didn’t explode, but we’ve been happy with the steady increase.”
Steve Bowers, community vice president of YMCA of Greater Charlotte, said residents should look forward to an expansion of services offered at the site with the first year in the books.
“We’re limited to our facility in terms of services right now, so we’re just now getting into more kids programming open for about three or four months,” Bowers said. “Getting that cranking with more group exercise programs and parents nights out, we’re still very much in our formative years in terms of expanding what we offer. The facility is second to none as far as equipment and staff.”
Bowers didn’t exaggerate quality of equipment, with the facility boasting more than a dozen new, clean treadmills; strength-training equipment; ellipticals, weights and other equipment. The well-lit, clean, friendly environment is what Noon said attracts a lot of members.
“It’s smaller and quieter,” she said. “Which a lot of people, especially our seniors, really like. It’s also never too crowded, and we keep it very clean.”
Noon echoed Bowers with the list of new programs the branch is planning to roll out, especially the parents’ nights and more youth programs to benefit the whole family.
“We already do a little of that, but this is going to open up a lot more opportunities,” Noon said. “Right now kids 10 and older can come in and exercise alongside their parents, although you have to be 13 to do anything but cardio.”
Bowers said marathon and triathlon training also will be offered in the new year, along with long-distance running training, Gymboree and movement education for children, fitness programs for school-aged kids and summer camps.
In the coming months, Bowers said there are plans to build the first full YMCA facility in Union County.
“They’ve narrowed it down to about three different options for locations, but nothing has been decided quite yet,” Noon said. “But it will be close to us.”
For Bowers, the celebration of the anniversary was like a birthday party for the YMCA.
“We’re still trying to get the word out so people can see what we have going on in the community and so they can let us know what they want,” he said. “I think the reception has been phenomenal. The people using the Y are very happy and we’ve had a very positive response.”
The addition of new programs is meant to meet the need of those looking for more family programs or to get more deeply involved in
training at the facilities, Bowers said.
“Our usage is about exactly what we expected it to be,” he said. “What we’d really like to see is a greater number of folks using the YMCA in the midmorning hour, but we also know that’s tied a lot to what we offer the kids today.”
Noon and Bowers said popular programs include the circuit training Flash Fitness programs and Zumba classes, which are usually held in a separate classroom across from the main YMCA facility. Child care provided at the Y has helped draw parents in, Bowers added.
“Overall usage has been strong, and I think we’re only scratching the surface,” he said. “We’d just love folks to inquire at the YMCA and give feedback as to some programs they’d like to see brought to the community, since each Y is shaped by what the community wants. The more we hear from the community, the more we can offer.”
For more information about YMCA hours, programs offered or rates, go to www.ymcacharlotte.org/branches/wesleychapel.