About 10 years ago, Jean Deitrick joined the Williamsport YMCA and began participating in the wellness program.
"I originally started my weekly exercise regime by walking five times per week on the indoor track," said Deitrick, "and then I also joined the active older adult group exercise class and go to that three times a week."
The YMCA senior program helps older adults, ages 60 and over, seeking a venue for physical fitness and social interaction.
Deitrick, 81, was born and raised in Williamsport and resides in Loyalsock Township.
According to her, the YMCA helps provide the social and physical outlet many seniors need.
"The exercise class specifically targets the needs of active older adults working to increase their cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, coordination, and balance," she explained. "I have personally benefited from an increase in full body strengthening, but what I enjoy the most about coming to the Y is the camaraderie with my peers."
Each morning she wakes up at 5:30, eats breakfast and gets to the Y by 8.
"It's just the first thing I do in the morning," she said with a smile.
Deitrick said she has always been on the move and maintained an active lifestyle with her family. She lives alone and still is able to take care of all inside and outside household chores herself.
"Just recently while out of town I walked six miles sightseeing and never thought anything of the mileage," she said.
"I consider myself very fortunate to be 81 years old with no health issues. I just try to live each day to the fullest, one day at a time," she concluded.
The senior program at the YMCA is one of the 43 human service programs in Lycoming County funded by United Way. Through its annual funds distribution process determined by community volunteers, United Way allocated $12,000 to the YMCA for the senior programs this year based on community needs and program outcomes.
"When you're a part of the Y, you're part of a community that's committed to help you learn new things and make new friends in any stage of your life," explained Chad Eberhart, branch executive director, Williamsport Branch YMCA. "Our everyday mission is to help you achieve a balance of spirit, mind and body. We do that by encouraging good health and fostering connections with new and old friends through sports, fun and shared interests.
"Our senior programming is proven to increase participants feeling of wellness and improve their physical health," added Eberhart. "We appreciate the funding from United Way to help us provide the programs."
"The senior programs at the Y give people a place to enjoy social interaction that they may not normally have, as well as improve their physical fitness and overall quality of life," said Scott Lowery, executive director for Lycoming County United Way. "Jean's story gives credence to the importance of providing our seniors with both programs and facilities that can allow them to experience and enjoy a continuous active lifestyle. We are happy to have the Y as a program partner and be able to provide funding to support our seniors."
For more information on the YMCA, call 323-7134 or visit williamsportymca.org.
For more information on Lycoming County United Way or to support the campaign that funds more than 40 human service programs such as these, visit lcuw.org or dial 323-9448. Lycoming County United Way also is now on Facebook.