By Chelsea Maguire
RED BANK – The new year encourages many to make resolutions to be healthier, become more active and get in shape. Often those resolutions are discarded as quickly as they are made. The new Red Bank Family YMCA, formerly known as the Red Bank Family Health and Wellness Center, is making efforts to help people keep their resolutions and achieve their goals this year.
This past Saturday, the Red Bank Y, one of many facilities which are part of one of the nation’s largest nonprofit movements, opened the doors of its newly named and renovated facility to the community for an open house. Guests were able to take a tour of the recent facility upgrades, attend a class and learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of the ever-growing community which serves more than 20,000 people in eastern Monmouth County.
Middletown residents Sarah and Ryan Herrlich, along with their three young children, were among the many Monmouth County community members eager to learn what a membership at the YMCA can offer. Sarah, a special education teacher, had previously come to the facility with her class for swimming lessons in the building’s small therapeutic pool.
“I thought it would be great for our family,” Sarah said. “Everyone treated us nicely and they all seem friendly. My husband is part of another gym, but we wanted something more family-orientated and something we could stick with even when our kids gets older.”
The facility installed 60 new pieces of cardio equipment as part of the renovation to help community members reach their goal of attaining a healthier lifestyle. Changes were also made to make the facility more inclusive; there are now family changing rooms for parents of the opposite sex who may have smaller children, senior couples who depend on each other for help or families with special needs individuals.
Dean Seda, the Red Bank Y’s health and wellness director, oversees the general operations of the fitness center as well as group fitness training, personal training and chronic disease health programs and initiatives. Seda, who previously worked as a part-time employee, also works as the wellness director at the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy. He believes the renovation of the Y’s fitness center as well as the name change will benefit members of the community.
“I feel like the name is a very positive thing,” Seda said. “It’s more of who we are and where we are located, and it brings more of an attachment to the Red Bank community. Overall the changes demonstrate that we’re a fuller-thinking organization. We’ve also gotten some pieces of equipment that appeal to more people, therefore we can accommodate more people and their interests. We are going to continue and develop getting new equipment to appeal to even more people and get our community fit.”
“We understand that families are changing,” said Katie McAdoo, the Y’s new executive director. “The Y is for all, no questions asked.”
McAdoo has been with the YMCA for 26 years and formerly worked at the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy where she worked in childcare as a development director and an executive director.
“I was interested in this Y and our association in general because it’s really started a regeneration,” McAdoo said. “We have a new name, and it really talks about who we are and what we do. We were a health and wellness center, and we do that, but we do so much more, we’re so much more than gym and swim. It’s exciting to be at this Y. It is an older building and through its longevity it’s become the front porch of Red Bank. So, everybody goes to the Y and we serve from babies to active older adults.”
Along with the newly renovated facility, the YMCA also offers many benefits for its members. “Y Cares,” a financial assistance program, is made possible through individual and corporate contributions, as well as proceeds from the Y’s Annual Campaign, so members who have trouble paying their membership can keep their spot in the community. Members can receive up to an 80 percent reduction in their membership fees.
A new monthly program called “Parents Night Out” will occur one Saturday night a month. Parents with a family membership will be allowed to enjoy the town of Red Bank while their children are entrusted to the safe YMCA staff for activities like games, crafts or a movie.
The Y also has several health programs designed for community members who previously or still suffer from several chronic diseases. There is a national LIVESTRONG program designed to nurture good health for adults who survived cancer, a Diabetes Prevention program, available for individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and Pedaling for Parkinson’s, a program designed for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease to discover ways to create and maintain healthy lifestyles through fitness and wellness activities.
“We are a cause-driven organization,” said president and CEO Laurie Goganzer. “Our cause is to strengthen the communities and strengthen the foundations of community. At the end of the day our areas of focus are youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.”
Atlantic Highlands resident Kerri Kennedy, along with her husband and their two young sons, recently moved to the Monmouth County area from Philadelphia, where they were members of the Philadelphia YMCA for six years. On the day of the open house, her sons received their first swim lesson at the Red Bank facility. The boys are also part of the Y’s after-school care program, one of the many youth programs that serve over 30 schools in Monmouth County.
“There are a lot more amenities that they have that we did not have at the Y in Philadelphia,” Kennedy said. “While my sons are having their swim lessons, I can drop in and take a fitness class. This is a great place, people are super friendly, and we’re really happy about it. There is a community feeling at the Y and I love that there is something for everybody. It shows it’s a cause-driven community and it’s supporting family wellness. I feel like this is going to be a lifetime membership. We’ll be around for a while.”
Whether an individual is looking to get fit this year, is taking part in one of the health programs dedicated to cancer or diabetes patients, or just a parent bringing their child to a swim lesson, the Red Bank Family YMCA is committed make everyone who walks through their doors feel like they are part of their community.
“We strengthen all people,” Goganzer said. “Everyone is welcome whether they’re single, seniors, or a child with working parents. But we’re really about strengthening the community through strengthening families and bringing people together.”