A True Comeback Story; the Pandemic at the Newport-Mesa Family YMCA
As we hit the one-year mark since the pandemic first began, March 17th, 2020 comes to mind for all of us at the Newport-Mesa Family YMCA – a day many of us across our association will never forget. At 12:00 pm, the branches closed their doors to what we thought would be only two weeks, though slowly realizing the scope of this situation was far greater than we could imagine. The need to temporarily close our fitness facility doors to our community was a decision none of us took lightly; a decision we could have never seen coming.
Two weeks slowly turned into “until further notice.” But after almost four long months – 86 days – we finally received the long-awaited news about the ability to reopen outdoors on June 12th, 2020. Finally – a glimmer of hope that we would be able to reunite with our community.
Ever since, it has been hard work, determination, a lot of sweat, and a whole lot of laughs at the Newport-Mesa Y. Through the rain, winds, and continually changing colored-tiers, we have transformed our facility into a novel indoor/outdoor gym, turning basketball courts into group exercise classrooms and back patios into cardio rooms, continuing to offer everything from personal training to youth programming, all while ensuring the safety of our members, participants, and staff.
I have worked with the YMCA for Orange County for over 4 years, and I have never seen a group of people band together like this one. Our teams have taken the unimaginable and made it into a reality, continually adapting to the ever-changing guidelines, being innovative when it seems impossible, and rising to the challenge of opening up a facility after months of halted operations, all with one goal in mind – serving our community.
Hearing the words “the Y has gotten my family through this pandemic” from one of our families on financial assistance is the reason we continue to persevere. When this family lost their only source of income, the Newport-Mesa Family YMCA was a place they relied on for comfort, happiness, and belonging – what a true gift. The dedication of our members and participants is why my team and I come to work every day. The phone calls, emails, friendly hellos at the Front Desk, and everything in between, have been a driving force in keeping the spirit at Newport-Mesa, even during these trying times, alive and well. Arguably, better than ever!
We have used the phrase “more than a gym” to signify that the Y is more than just a place to lift weights – yet, it’s a place where the community comes together to serve one another. Whether you are looking to try a new class, get into a fitness routine, or make a new friend, we are here for you. This year has proven that when we come together, anything is possible – the perfect lesson to take us through 2021.
Here’s to brighter days ahead, from all of us at the Newport-Mesa Family YMCA!
Written by Kendra Crusco, Program Director, Newport-Mesa Family YMCA