Things are happening at the YMCA of Douglas County, despite the facility being shuttered due to statewide restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Those restrictions banned indoor activities at fitness gyms, so this week the YMCA took the workouts outside. The idea of offering outdoor exercise classes actually dates back to July, when the YMCA began offering them for people who were struggling with working out with masks on. The YMCA then received a donation to help it buy an outdoor studio for the winter season.

On Monday, the agency held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially welcome its series of outdoor classes. The group fitness classes are held Monday through Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. There are also cycling classes held Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the mornings and early evenings and Zumba classes scheduled for Monday and Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There are limits on capacity and social distancing rules apply.

“We aren’t allowed to reopen our indoor facility to anything other than our emergency childcare, creating another financial hit to our Y when we’re still hard hit by the pandemic,” said YMCA Membership Director Amber Gries. “We so appreciate all of those who continue to support us.”

The classes are for members only. However, Gries said the YMCA currently has a grant called the Family Wellness Project where those interested in becoming a member can apply and receive a two month family membership for free. The grants are for individuals and families who are not currently members, she said. Application deadline is Dec. 31. For more information or how to apply go to

The YMCA also announced this week a fundraising drive that just kicked off to help keep the YMCA afloat.

The YMCA typically holds an annual fundraising drive in the spring, but this year CEO Marisa Fink left the agency in February so the fundraising drive was postponed. Then COVID-19 hit, and any thoughts of a fundraising drive were put on hold.

However, a private donor recently agreed to match whatever money the YMCA can raise through Dec. 31, up to $50,000. So there is both enthusiasm and excitement over this current fundraising rush, said Shelley Briggs Loosley, chair of the YMCA Board of Directors.

“The fundraising drive is needed because we are a membership-based organization and we are currently closed and we had to close back in March and April, and a large percentage of our members canceled,” Briggs Loosley said. “Some have been gracious and let us continue to draft their account. Even when we were allowed to reopen, over half of our members have not come back, for a number of reasons as you can imagine. We are facing financial challenges and we need to communicate our need.”

Donations can be made a variety of ways:

Scott Carroll can be reached at or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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