I was on vacation in Sarasota, Florida, a couple of weeks ago visiting my brother and his family. I’ve been down there a few times now and have happily made the Sarasota YMCA (the Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch)—which is just a few miles from their neighborhood—my home away from home (away from home). What an amazing fitness facility and what an incredibly talented staff.
It doesn’t matter what time I’ve gone or what class I’ve selected, the place has always been a beehive of activity with a very positive vibe and a strong community feel. There are people of every age (including my 20-month old niece, who gets well taken care of in the child care center while her Mom is doing yoga or cardio or while her Dad is playing racquetball) doing a host of different activities at any given time.
I am especially impressed by the group exercise programming and staff. The array of classes and sheer number of instructors is mind boggling. Wellness director Gillian da Silva and wellness coordinator Jennifer Hawkins do a brilliant job of scheduling and showcasing both the staff and menu of classes. There is a wonderful board of photos and well-written bios for each instructor just outside the main group ex room. I somehow found the instructors who taught my classes to be more approachable because I was able to read about their interests, certifications and fitness specialty areas before I even took their classes. I felt like I already knew them a little bit. Group Ex directors take note—use this subtle method of marketing your instructors to members to create a comfort level among participants.
Over the course of a few days and in addition to use of the cardio facilities and gorgeous 50 meter pool, I attended Slow Sculpt, mat Pilates and Muscle Works. Thank you to the very lively and fun Barbara, Beth and Noshayah for sharing their considerable knowledge and enthusiasm with me and others during these classes.
On a final note, I’ll say that I was incredulous as to how well-ordered the considerable amount of equipment in the main group ex room was. The resistance bands were impeccably hung by color, the dumbbells were racked in the proper slots (which never happens in my gym); the body bars were stood by color like little soldiers in their proper bins…and everyone respectfully put things back exactly where they found them. Maybe when participants find things in order, they take the time to put them back, too? Try it at your facility and let me know if it works!
I’ll be back in Sarasota for another visit soon and will look forward to seeing my newfound friends there again! Thanks for your hospitality.