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‘Outside the box’

Warren YMCA takes another step forward

Photo submitted to the Times Observer YMCA personnel test out the new outdoor training facility at the west end of the Lexington Street location. Once fully operational, the soon-to-be-named “box,” sponsored by Northwest Bank, will be able to be accessed by YMCA members. When fall turns to winter, the outdoor equipment could be locked away in what would turn into a storage unit.

Kim Slocum said it best when she complimented Thad Turner for “thinking outside the box.”

But that compliment fits both figuratively and literally with the YMCA’s new fitness equipment that includes both “outside” and a “box.”

Slocum, Warren County YMCA’s marketing coordinator, said Turner, the Y’s executive director, always comes up with unique ideas to help the facilities move forward. Facilities — plural — with the additions of branches in Youngsville and Sheffield.

The Warren location at Lexington Avenue already offers a climbing wall, racquetball courts, two gyms, multiple fitness rooms, a group exercise room, a cycle studio, indoor track and weight room. Listen, we could go on and on about the facility and the YMCA’s community programs.

But not even the YMCA’s indoor facility was an exception to COVID’s wrath.

Photo submitted to The Times Observer YMCA personnel turn the new outdoor storage unit located at the west end of the Warren YMCA into an outdoor training facility that can be used by YMCA members.

That contributed to Turner’s latest idea.

Even with restrictions being lifted, slowly but surely, Turner’s idea will further shape the YMCA’s image both inside and out.

Slocum said exercise equipment will be housed in an outdoor container that opens up to members and allows for outdoor fitness for parts of the year.

“Welcome to the Warren YMCA’s outdoor gym,” Turner says in a promotional video. “We don’t really have a name for it yet, but we do know that Northwest Bank has done a lot to help us out.”

Words wouldn’t do it justice as you watch the exercise functions throughout the rest of the video.

Photo submitted to The Times Observer YMCA personnel turn the new outdoor storage unit located at the west end of the Warren YMCA into an outdoor training facility that can be used by YMCA members.

Equipment is housed in what BeaverFit (beaverfitusa.com) calls “human performance facilities.”

Again, Warren County YMCA doesn’t have a name for it, but Slocum says the Y is always evolving with the times and this is another example.

Turner said the idea was around “way before COVID,” and that his experience as a Navy Seal might have had a little influence on his thinking. He said he often follows the lead of government or university facilities when thinking of the Y moving forward.

This was one of those cases as the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has dozens of these types of portable facilities for functional outdoor training.

“BeaverFit was established in the United Kingdom in 2010 as the offshoot of a family bridge-building business — Beaver Bridges — and began with a simple functional fitness rig, custom-built for British SAS paratroopers,” according to BeaverFit. “In collaboration with the British Army, BeaverFit released the world’s first fully functional containerized gym solution in 2012, rewriting the script for outdoor fitness training and creating an entirely new product category. In 2013, BeaverFit partnered with former US Navy Riverines to introduce the container gym to the US military and establish operations in North America. As a result of this unique partnership, BeaverFit exploded globally, quickly growing to be the worldwide leader in human performance solutions for American, British and allied military forces.

Photo submitted to The Times Observer YMCA personnel turn the new outdoor storage unit located at the west end of the Warren YMCA into an outdoor training facility that can be used by YMCA members.

“Building on the success of their expeditionary human performance equipment, and combined with their expertise in military operations, BeaverFit introduced a robust line of Special Operations Equipment in 2015. These solutions are modular, deployable and reconfigurable container-based rappel towers, shoot-houses, air delivery platforms, urban combat villages, breaching trainers and assault courses.

“Today, BeaverFit manufactures thousands of container gyms per year for military forces and designs and builds SOE solutions for special operations teams. In addition to supporting military forces, BeaverFit supplies Fortune 100 corporations and major fitness clubs with unique indoor and outdoor training solutions and continues to innovate and create new products to meet emerging requirements around the world.”

So, no, that box you see on the western side of the Y is not just a box. It’s like a Transformer robot turning into a fitness gym facility.

“BeaverFit Performance Lockers are standard shipping containers custom-fabricated to anchor BeaverFit Training Rigs and store the equipment necessary to create world class multi-modality training centers,” according to BeaverFit. “The lockers can be customized to meet any training need and come in six standard sizes and two inner shelving configurations with either a light, heavy, or custom accessory package. Performance Lockers are used extensively by the US Military, Fortune 500 Corporations, CrossFit® Boxes and World Class Human Performance Training Centers. BeaverFit Lockers expand the footprint and effectiveness of training facilities, create outdoor training options and provide fully deployable solutions to enable training in locations never before possible.”

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