Improvements at the Y in 2019

December is always a good time to reflect on the changes we’ve made over the past year.

The following are some of the building and program improvements that have been made at the Hoerner YMCA in 2019.

The gym renovation included a refinished floor, painted walls, new wall mats, new divider curtain and new LED lights.

Facility improvements include:

  • Renovated Community Room/Teen Center: This key spot just off the lobby received a $30,000 renovation, complete with new floor, new ceiling, new walls and new furniture. The bright colors and modern touches make this a much more inviting spot for meetings, birthday parties and a teen hangout. These improvements were made possible with grants from the Howard Jackson Family Trust Foundation, the Keokuk Area Community Foundation, the Lee County Charitable Fund and the Rotary Club of Keokuk.
  • Renovated gym: The gym was lightened and brightened this spring. The floor was refinished, improving the playing surface tremendously! Plus the walls were painted, and a new divider curtain and wall mats were installed. The nearly $30,000 in improvements were bolstered by support from the Grace Bott Millar Charitable Foundation and the John Rogers Family, among other donors.
  • New selectorized weight equipment, free weights and treadmills: The Fitness Center and Free Weights Room received a boost, too, with about $37,000 in updated equipment.
  • Repairs and improvements to the swimming pool and swim program: In July, we made repairs to the filter tank for the swimming pool at the cost of nearly $20,000. These improvements were made possible by a grant from the Lee County Charitable Fund, many individual donors, and some technical expertise from Roquette. And just a few weeks ago, the swim teams reaped the benefit of new starting blocks and lane lines. This was thanks to help from a number of local donors, the Keokuk Athletic Boosters and the hard work of many swim team parents and supporters.

Programming additions and improvements made include:

  • Teen Center: We entered our second year with a Teen Center, making the gym and the renovated room off the lobby available for teens to gather after school. Monthly visitation has exceeded more than 500. The Salvation Army has partnered with us to provide food to the kids. A group of individuals donated a ping pong table to the center. And a video game console and a foosball table were added recently, thanks to a grant from Lee County Youth Services. In the coming days, we will make introductory guitar lessons available to kids (and adults), thanks the LCYS grant and instructor Curtis Bertschi.
  • Weightlifting meet: In May, the Hoerner YMCA hosted a weightlifting competition. This resurrected an activity that we hadn’t held in many years, and 35 people participated in a variety of lifts. We partnered with Motley Fitness in the effort.
  • Pickleball tournament: In October, we held our first pickleball tournament, and 8 teams played. With the interest in pickleball, we expect this to continue to grow.
  • Adult basketball: Just recently, we reserved court time for adult pickup basketball on Monday evenings, and attendance has been impressive. It’s good to see this activity return to the Hoerner YMCA, and we have plans for more in the future.
  • Swim lessons: Youth swim lessons, preschool swim lessons and private swim numbers are up this year. This year we have helped 112 kids learn to swim. And in the spring, we will be providing free swim lessons to every third grader in the Keokuk public schools.
  • STRIDE: In August, we launched the STRIDE program, which is the boys equivalent of the Girls on the Run program. This 10-week, 20-lesson program teaches character lessons, as well as encourages physical activity. In November, the STRIDE and GOTR kids ran a 5k. This was paired with our open-to-all 5k and 10k, which had more than 100 runners and walkers this year.
  • Family Fun Days: We expanded our Family Fun Days this year, too. Each event, generally held on Sunday afternoons, consists of a craft or non-athletic activity, plus an athletic activity in the gym. The families have built decorated gingerbread houses, made bird houses and engaged in Nerf gun fights in the gym.