Editor’s note: Local residents have submitted a letter to the Daily Citizen regarding their desire for the Champaign Family YMCA to participate in a fitness program known as Silver Sneakers. The letter is printed below and is followed by the YMCA’s response.

This letter encourages the Champaign Family YMCA in Urbana to negotiate a contract with the Silver Sneakers program. Many senior citizens have earned the benefit of Silver Sneakers in their retirement plans. Health facilities that accept the Silver Sneakers program help retired seniors to establish and maintain good health throughout their advancing years. This program is accepted by many health systems, including many Y’s. To this point, 20 Y’s in the Columbus area already accept the Silver Sneakers program for seniors.

We believe that a Y that promotes itself as a “Family Y” should be especially accepting of programs that allow grandparents to more easily join, along with their children and grandchildren, as participants in their health facility.

Any senior citizen whose retirement plan includes Silver Sneakers is strongly encouraged to contact the Champaign Family Y in Urbana, Ohio, to add their support to this petition. This statement is endorsed by the following senior citizens. These people strongly encourage the Champaign Family Y to enter into negotiations with Silver Sneakers and ultimately come to an agreement to welcome such participants to their health facility.

Submitted by Chuck Spinner on behalf of the following signers:

Ruth Hunsberger, Fred Fullerton, Brenda Rutan, Colvin Bear, Nancy Heckman, Marilyn Mason, William Purk, Kristi K. Phillip, Bonnie Knull, Karen L. Headlee, Zara Liskowiak, Jean Sutton, Carol A. Nance, Kathy Bodey, George O’Neal, Phyllis Youtz, Steve Botts, Mary O’Neal, Suzie Phillips, Merle Hunsberger, Patrice Spinner, Anne Tulleners, Ann M. Corfman, Belle L. Salzgaber, Carol Mills, Linda K. Fullerton, Dolly R. Wisma, Pat Sommer, Mary Kay Russell, Linda Smallsmith, Dick Sommer, Sandra J. Marsh, Mary E. Mott, Dick Marsh, Van Evans, Mary Evans, Dixie Idle, Donna Lohnes, Donna Roegan

Champaign Family YMCA response:

The Champaign Family YMCA is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that strengthens our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. As part of our charitable mission, we offer many programs and classes for older adults.

We do not offer the Silver Sneakers program because it is designed only for persons who have a certain type of medical insurance. At the Y, we welcome all people and want everyone to have access to the same programming. That’s one reason why we offer financial assistance.

The Champaign Family Y is led by a 20-member volunteer Board of Trustees.

“Silver Sneakers and similar for-profit programs allow their members to utilize wellness centers all across the country, without actually joining any facility. They pay only when they use the facility,” stated Y Board President Tim Kemper. “Our Y’s Board feels that by providing special pricing for occasional users, we would be devaluing the membership of the families and individuals that join because they see the true value the YMCA offers. All our members would like preferential pricing; but to maintain the facility, offer fitness, wellness and youth programs, and keep up-to-date equipment available, guidelines must be maintained.”

Anyone with questions about our membership opportunities or programming can contact Champaign Family YMCA CEO Paul Waldsmith or Y Membership Director Greg Hower at 937-653-9622.