How Fitness Fits Into the YWCA Mission

Have you ever been to a YWCA? Specifically, have you ever been to the YWCA of Gettysburg and Adams County? Well, I have explored YW’s in other locations and have been a member of the Gettysburg YW for about 15 years. I am proud of what we have here in our hometown.

As a bit of a fitness nut, I tend to seek out workout opportunities wherever possible. When traveling, unless the goal is to enjoy outdoor activities, I can’t imagine staying at a hotel without at least a treadmill or access to a nearby gym… such as a Y. In my experience, the nearby Y gym inevitably ended up being a YMCA. So, I will ask again, have YOU ever been to the YWCA of Gettysburg of Adams County? If not, you may be surprised.

Nationally, the YWCA has a unified mission:

YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

We might all agree that this is a very worthwhile mission, but how does it serve individuals based on the culture of the local community? I took a moment to visit the YWCA USA webpage, and I was pleased to learn that the plan is for “each YWCA association to tailor its approach to meet their community’s needs.” With over 200 local associations in the USA, the goal is for each YW to have the autonomy to create programming within the overarching goals laid out in the mission statement.

Cool! So for the third time…. Have you been to OUR YWCA? You might be surprised that we have a beautiful pool, a large fitness room, and gyms for basketball, racquetball, and other sports. We also have my personal favorites, which include a spin room and a dance room with various programs, including yoga, barre, Zumba, Silver Sneakers, boot camp, and more.

These programs sound worthwhile, but why does our programming stand out vs. other national YWCAs? The way I see it, our community recognizes that physical fitness programs are a tool to reach the mission goals. I LOVE the diversity in my fitness classes! On any given day, we may have participants of various ages, races, and fitness levels. We are working and having fun together. Eliminating racism can only be achieved in an environment of unity, and believe me, when we are trying to learn dance steps, sweating it out in a difficult spin class, or laughing when we misstep, we feel a sense of unity. Fitness sparks a sense of unity. Only with Unity can racism be combatted.

How do our fitness programs empower women? Within the YW, there is a large population of women who are working to become stronger in body, mind, and spirit. How many of you have come into a workout feeling defeated from the worries of the day and left the YW feeling stronger, more empowered, and ready to focus on the next challenge? Fitness empowers. Whether it is a yoga, boot camp, spin class, a lap swim, 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer, or a powerlifting workout, the sense of accomplishment is freeing and empowering. Try it if you haven’t yet!

In summary, fitness fits nicely into the overarching mission of the YWCA USA. Fitness programs serve the needs of our local community. May you find peace and dignity while you are working out at the YWCA and within you as you leave the facility feeling proud, inspired, and a little freer by what you have accomplished inside the walls of the YWCA.


A longtime member who can be found at the YWCA most any day, Lisa Wolkind was most recently an enthusiastic contestant in the 2023 Dancing With The Local Stars program.

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