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Indoor exercise moves outdoors under tents at Siskiyou Family YMCA

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News
The equipment at the Arctic Tent at the Siskiyou Family YMCA.

Siskiyou Family YMCA in Yreka has found a way for people to use indoor exercise equipment safely outdoors during the pandemic, under a heated Artctic Tent.

The YMCA closed on Nov. 18, when Siskiyou County moved to the purple, or widespread, COVID-19 tier.

YMCA executive director Scott Eastman said staff and board members discussed what other groups, both south and north, were doing to provide outdoor fitness opportunities for their communities.

The decision was made to erect two large tents, which were graciously loaned out for the effort, Eastman said.

Staff and volunteers set up two 20 foot by 40 foot tents, placed them together, then laid rubber matting on the pavement to create a floor. Dumbbells, barbells, benches, racks, a stairclimber, and an elliptical machine were moved outdoors.

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“We have lights and large propane heaters running periodically that help keep the temp reasonable in the mornings and evenings,” Eastman said. 

The response has been positive, he added.

“We’re hearing gratitude from our members for doing whatever it takes to provide some level of connection to health and wellness equipment during this time.” 

“I appreciate the effort and availability to workout," said YMCA member Donna Thompson.

A member of the Siskiyou Family YMCA get ready to use the equipment at the Arctic Tent.

Noelle Collier, Health and Wellness Director for the YMCA, said she had one member tell her "having a place to come and feel safe while getting a workout in is just what I was hoping for.” 

“Health and fitness is extremely important at this time," said Eastman. "Many people have lost access to fitness equipment during this pandemic.” 

He said that the immune system is significantly boosted by consistent exercise. 

“Additionally, mental health is being taxed at levels we haven’t seen in recent times,” Eastman said. “The endorphin release, stress relief features of exercise have never been so important for those struggling with isolation issues, work and home stress.”  

He said that the tent will stay up for as long as the YMCA remains closed. 

YMCA hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Eastman said they will be collecting weekly feedback from members and will look to shift or add hours if the need is there. For more information, call the YMCA at 530) 842-9622. 

 “Our Y is so appreciative of the support the community has shown our organization throughout this very challenging year,” Eastman said. “We’re committed to doing whatever we can to safely provide health and wellness options at this time."