The new Winona Family YMCA near Winona Health’s campus welcomed members and guests this month.
Winona Family YMCA member Lee Ann Riehle takes part in a dance class at the YMCA’s new building. The new facility recently opened.
By ALEXANDRA RETTER
Cory Isakson joined the Winona Family YMCA in 2019 with her husband, Neil, to help achieve their goals of living longer, healthier lives and keeping up with their grandchildren. Though she thought she might feel out of place or intimidated, she quickly recognized that the YMCA was all about meeting her where she was at with her workout skills and assisting her with building on them. She also soon realized that another type of building — community building — was important at the YMCA. Fellow YMCA members immediately invited her to play pickleball and attend potlucks. “We’ve made some really valuable friendships that have extended beyond our time at the Y,” Cory said.
Those workouts and community building will now continue in the YMCA’s new, recently opened facility near East Lake Winona. “I am personally enjoying the sense of inclusion and community that we are building here,” Winona Family YMCA CEO Janneke Sobeck stated.
The new space took shape over the course of about eight years. Community members donated to fundraisers for the facility, and in the last year, contractors built the space during the pandemic.
Melissa Puchalla, who is a YMCA member and a member of the YMCA Board, has participated in YMCA programming with her children for several years. She credits the YMCA’s summer camp, Camp Wenonah, with helping some of her children become more comfortable in new surroundings. “I think it opened up their ability to adapt,” she said. She has appreciated the confidence the YMCA’s trainers have given her during workout classes, as well. “It’s 10 times more than I would have worked out on my own,” she said.
At the new facility, Puchalla can spend time in the community area — a space with comfortable chairs on the building’s first level — while her family members are working out, and her family members can use other parts of the facility while she is working out. “It’s all there in one place,” she said.
Cory is also looking forward to spending time in the community area. “I can use the space before or after a workout,” she said. “It’s just a space to be and hang out, and quiet your mind, or maybe create a different atmosphere for work for a couple hours.”
Puchalla is excited for her children to play in the family room, which features a rock climbing wall and indoor play structure. “I get work done while they’re playing,” she said.
Puchalla’s children are looking forward to swimming in the new pool as well. Her teenager can also walk and run at East Lake Winona, then train in the YMCA’s weight room. Puchalla expects to rent out some of the facility for her children’s birthday celebrations, too.
The Isaksons can’t wait to show their young granddaughter the new facility and give her the opportunity to play in the family room. “When you see … adults all having the same goal of staying healthy [when you’re] that young, you’re more apt to live it,” Neil said. The Isaksons are looking forward to continuing their personal training sessions, as well.
Members said they appreciate the layout and design of the new space while working out and using the facility’s different areas with their families. The new space is accessible, Cory said. “It’s very easy to get around the building, find your way to and from things,” she said. Puchalla appreciates the openness and lighting of the space, as well as the view of the surrounding area from the YMCA’s windows.
In addition to the pool, community area and family room, the new space features a wellness center with exercise equipment, a gym, and racquetball courts. The wellness center, gym, and two racquetball courts are open 24/7 for those who upgrade their membership at a cost of $10 a month. “With this access, we’re telling people, ‘Your health matters, and we want to help; you fit [exercise] in when it works for you,’” Sobeck said.
Members are required to make a reservation to use the YMCA during hours staff members are present and to wear a mask at all times except when in the pool or shower.
Staffed hours are weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
More information about making a reservation may be found at https://www.winonaymca.org/.