YMCA is There for ALL Ages – Strengthening the Community

There are few buildings in Dickinson County that bring together the entire community and surrounding area. Fewer still draw in all age groups on a regular basis.

On any given day, the Bedell YMCA is a meeting place for families, older adults, and students. Programming is created for all ages, whether its activities like: Active Toddlers, school age sports, triathlon training, XLT, Beginner Strength or a Parkinson’s Class.

“We understand that health and wellness is something that everyone should be cognizant of, regardless of age,” said Scott Hunter, Bedell YMCA’s Health Enhancement Director. “The bulk of our group fitness classes are a ‘one size fits all.’ This means we can have varying ages and ability levels in the same class, but offer modifications for each movement.  This allows us to challenge a 30-something, who is well versed in fitness, as well as a 60-something who may be just starting their fitness journey.”

The Bedell YMCA first opened its doors in January 2005, and in September 2018, they celebrated the creation of the 12,000-foot Character Center. Programming is created throughout the day with timing in mind.

“We have fitness classes like XIT or HEAT, which will challenge even the most seasoned athlete, as well as Beginner Strength, which is tailored to our senior members. It puts the focus on everyday movements like getting in and out of a chair and walking with ease,” Hunter said.

Another program Hunter implemented at the Y is a Parkinson’s Class, an evidence based program designed to empower people with Parkinson’s to take control of the disease with daily exercise. The program is developed from the Ohio Health Delay the Disease and uses movements often used in other fitness classes. Hunter also spends a fair amount of time on brain exercises.

“The brain can change at any age; it can remodel, rewire, and adapt to trauma or a disease process, like Parkinson’s disease. In our classes, we practice a pattern of core work, cardio intervals, and Parkinson’s specific “brain work” exercises that enhances the process of brain reorganization and repair,” he said. “The results have been really inspiring to see take place.”

The Bedell YMCA also wants to be a safe place for adults looking to meet New Year’s Resolutions. Programming is in place such as Boji Body, Mission Possible in the fall, and this January, a 12-week Wellness Challenge.


“Every year we encounter individuals who have the best intentions on meeting their New Year’s Resolutions.  Unfortunately, many fade away as the year progresses.  This year we got intentional on helping our members reach their goals with a 12-week Wellness Challenge,” Hunter said.

During the wellness challenge, participants will be guided through the experience with Dietitians and Personal Trainers. Calorie ranges are established for each participant and include a meal and exercise plan.

“To keep our participants motivated we have a point system for staying within daily calorie ranges, attending fitness classes and body weight lost,” Hunter said. “For those seeking a health goal in 2019, I highly recommend checking out this program.”

For other Bedell YMCA members, personal training is a great option for those wanting to tackle a specific goal. It can be overwhelming to create a complex plan that includes all of the activities needed for a healthy workout – running, weight training, and flexibility.

“Add the time and knowledge it takes to choose exercises, weights, reps and sets and you may quit before you even start,” he said. “This is where a personal trainer can be the biggest help.  We can help you maximize your time while keeping you within your own limits so you don't overdo it. We can also help you set goals and map out a specific schedule so you know when, how and where you'll fit in your workouts.”

Hunter said youth sports conditioning is also offered for young athletes, emphasizing body weight movements such as squats, push-ups, box jumps, etc. These young adults focus on developing body awareness, strength, balance, agility, flexibility and coordination, while creating a solid base for long-term athletic development.

“I think it’s very important for children to establish neuromuscular connections at an early age. And it’s paramount that they learn correct technique to avoid injuries down the road,” Hunter said. “Giving a child these tools at an early age will have them ahead of the game as they transition into junior high and high school.”

Early mornings are filled with adults enjoying a workout, while afternoons are packed with school age children. The pool is filled throughout the day with families or those looking to get in laps. Boji Barracudas, the area swim team, takes over one side every afternoon and hosts several swim meets throughout the season.

There is free childcare available in morning and afternoon hours for families needing a safe place for their little ones, allowing babies and toddlers an opportunity to socialize and play. The Character Center provides additional activity for school age children with its climbing wall, kitchen, and gym every afternoon after 2 p.m.

The basketball courts are rarely empty and have numerous pick-up games throughout the week. Racquetball is popular with others and pickle ball is available on certain afternoons.

The Bedell YMCA is truly a place for everyone, whether you are young or old. It’s a place where the community is strengthened and comes together.

“We have a number of different fitness programming running throughout the year and it may seem a bit confusing on the surface,” Hunter said. “Please stop by the Y, and I will help you make sense of it all!”