This has been a week that we’ll never forget.
As I write this note on Friday afternoon, our doors are closed and our lights are off as we do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. To the best of our knowledge, no one in the Keokuk area has been diagnosed with the virus. For that, we thank God.
It’s been a bit surreal at the YMCA since Tuesday noon. We no longer hear the shouts of kids, the clanging of machines or the joyful conversation of friends.
Those conversations and relationships are what I miss most, and I pray for the time we can we all return to the Y to make ourselves and our community stronger.
Over the past few days, we’ve received a few calls asking about memberships and program fees. Just a reminder, this is how we are handling those:
- Members who pre-paid for any programs or activities (such as soccer or swim lessons or the like) will see those fees refunded. Those who paid by credit card will see a refund on the credit card. Those who paid in another form will have a check mailed to them. Those checks should be put in the mail soon.
- As for memberships, we will extend memberships for the same number of weeks that we end up being closed. For those who pay by a bank draft, we will halt automatic withdrawals going forward and resume them when we re-open.
Some of our members and corporate partners have chosen to continue making their membership payments during this shutdown. This is a huge help for us, since our expenses continue to march along; we just received a $2,800 bill for electricity, a $600 bill for water, a $2,700 bill for an assortment of supplies, and so on.
Anyone who can donate their membership dues during this shutdown will be credited with a donation. Let us know if you can help us out in this way. But we understand that these times are financially trying for many of us.
It is a financially trying time for our employees, too. Most of our staff were laid off when we shut our doors. A couple, however, have been taking advantage of the empty building to do a few maintenance and cleaning projects.
But the closure has not stopped us entirely.
As a charitable organization, we want to remain active in the community. YMCA employees and volunteers have been helping the Keokuk schools with distributing food to area children. About a dozen from the YMCA have signed up to assist with this project. And we’ll help elsewhere as the need and opportunity arises.
Plus we want our members to continue to work toward their fitness goals. We are providing free, online fitness classes. You can find the link on the home page of our website – www.hoernerymca.org – in a section on YMCA 360.
At the Y360 website, you’ll find classes for older adults, boot camp classes, classes in tai chai and yoga and barre. There are many, many activities to help you remain active and healthy.
As board president Bob Korte said the other day, we are down, but we're not out. We have a bright future ahead of us still. We're making plans for when we can resume operations, and we continue to plan for our building renovation.
For now, the best thing we can all do is follow the guidelines to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
We’ll let you know when we can re-open our doors. And you can check our website and Facebook page for updates.
Until we see you again, may God bless you and keep you safe.
-- Mark Smidt, Hoerner YMCA CEO