Team REFIT Community Captains of the Month
Active SWV would like to celebrate Team REFIT for all of their perseverance and adaptability in the face of 2020 and looking forward to their new successes in 2021. We asked Team REFIT to tell their story of how they were able to overcome challenges they faced to continue to bring such an important program to communities in the face of the pandemic and the support they recieved from Active SWV along the way.
This wonderful team of strong inspiring women are volunteer Community Captains with Active SWV and are champions of health in their communities. Here is their 2020 story.
In a matter of two days last March, we went from having five in person classes a week to none. When the pandemic hit and everything was being locked down, figuring out how to stay connected to our REFIT/Active SWV community was in the forefront of our minds. We knew we would be limited to using social media, so that’s where we began.
While we tried to figure out a way to offer classes, we knew we needed to keep communication open with our participants. Thankfully, we were offered the opportunity to lead classes via the Zoom platform. If you’ve ever taught fitness in person, it can be intimidating. You want to make sure that you are leading in a way that’s easy for your participants to follow, while also being engaging. Zoom presented its own challenges. Only a few members of our team had ever used it and that was for work purposes. We had to figure out the logistics of music, lighting and most importantly making our participants still feel connected. Our team felt it was vital in this unknown season to provide something, even if it wasn’t perfect. This was something none of us had experienced and we knew that because of the isolation, being active was vital. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and we felt the need to be available. Whether that was a class we lead on Zoom or sharing a YouTube playlist. So, we entered the uncharted waters of Zoom classes. All the while having the support of Active SWV.
During the summer when Covid numbers were lower, we were able to transition our classes outdoors. We used New River park a lot and the tree covered parking lot provided just the respite we all needed. Even on the hottest of days, the shade and breeze of being outdoors provided a great oasis. We followed all Covid guidelines and soaked up being in the presence of one another, sharing in the joy of being able to workout together!
At the beginning of October we were able to provide indoor classes again with very limited numbers. People were so eager to attend classes that we had to start a waiting list. We were so happy to see the excitement of everyone that attended. As we were just beginning to add more weekly classes, Covid numbers began to rise and the decision was made to halt in person classes again. Our first priority, as well as Active SWV’s, is always the safety of our participants. Once again we were faced with a decision. Should we just place classes on hold until we can safely begin again or do we attempt Zoom classes? It was the middle of the holidays and we knew this was typically when numbers were low or non-existent. But, we decided we wanted to do all we could to provide a way for our participants to workout. We did one class a week on Zoom and had regular and new faces join us each class!
When 2021 began, we decided to test the Zoom waters again. The response was tremendous! So much so, that Active purchased a Zoom upgrade. This allowed us to offer classes to a larger number of participants for a longer period of time. As instructors, we’ve loved being able to see our people. Most choose to only show their face onscreen and some choose to only show a picture. That’s totally fine with us. We want anyone who attends to be comfortable. It’s not always been easy, but it’s been worth it! Just seeing a person smiling back, makes it worth it! Hearing people decide to workout for the first time, makes it worth it! Seeing new faces because they’ve invited a friend, makes it worth it! Listening to stories of triumph, makes it worth it! You are always worth it!
At the end of the day, we are so appreciative to everyone who has stuck it out with us. Our participants adapted so well to the changes of the past year. We can’t wait to be back to in person classes, but are so thankful that Zoom has allowed us to stay connected and active!