YMCA offers free wellness program for vets

The YMCA of Marquette County is shown. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — For local veterans looking to get active this fall, the YMCA of Marquette County is offering a free Veterans Wellness Program for up to 45 veterans.

The program — which will offer a free 90-day membership to the YMCA, along with free wellness counseling and training — has sign-up available through Tuesday and begins Sept. 23 with a meeting for all participants, said Will Weycker, the Michigan Veterans Trust Coordinator for Marquette County.

Funding for the program stems from a Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency grant awarded to Marquette County and passed along to the YMCA. It’s the first time this program has been offered.

“It’s going to be great camaraderie for local veterans to go in and potentially work out together and improve their overall wellness,” Weycker said.

Offering fitness opportunities for local veterans is important, said Membership Director Rachel Berglund at the YMCA, as the program can offer veterans a sense of community while helping them stay healthy.

“I think a lot of these support groups really just create a common framework and built the comfort for somebody getting back into a routine that maybe hasn’t been in a routine in a while,” Berglund said. “It just creates a collaborative environment of folks who have been in similar boots.”

The program is also a way to show appreciation to local veterans, organizer said.

“We’re so thankful for all of our servicemen and women and what they’ve done,” Berglund. “So we’re looking for ways that we can serve them and we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with them.”

Veterans can engage with group or individual programs depending on their preferences, needs and interests, Weycker said.

“We’re looking at two things: group sessions where veterans can get together as a group; or individual, self-guided plans to improve their fitness and wellness overall,” Weycker said. “Different people are going to have different fitness and wellness goals.”

Participants will receive individual wellness counseling at 30, 60 and 90 days into the program to “counsel them into achieving those goals,” whether they be fitness, health, weight loss or other goals, he said.

Interested parties can visit the YMCA of Marquette County, located at 1420 Pine St. in Marquette to sign up. Proof of service, such as a military identification card, a Veterans Affairs health card, a DD214, an NGB22 or 22A, is needed for sign-up, Weycker said.

For more information on the program, call the YMCA of Marquette County at 906-227-9622.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.