YMCA Uses ECCF Grant to Make Eau Claire STRONG

The YMCA of the Chippewa Valley has received a $7,000 grant from the Response and Recovery Community Fund of the Eau Claire Community Foundation to support The STRONG Challenge – a free, 6-week community-wide wellness initiative for the entire Chippewa Valley.

“None of us expected 2020 to go the way it has,” says Suzie Slota, Director of Mission Advancement for the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley. “It seems like it’s been a never-ending string of challenges. And that gets exhausting. Some of us at the Y realized we needed something to help us reclaim our lives – to intentionally focus on the things that we can do to make ourselves feel better and stronger. The more we talked about it, the more we realized this is something that we all need right now. And that’s how the Chippewa Valley STRONG Challenge came about.”

Craig Monson, regional executive director of the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley, agrees. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worn us down. It’s isolated us in so many ways. This challenge provides an opportunity to get active and healthier by yourself or as a STRONG family. We’re grateful for the Eau Claire Community Foundation’s support in bringing this to our entire community.”

The STRONG Challenge will start on Monday, October 19 and last for six weeks. Participants will be challenged to be active for 20 minutes per day, five days a week, for six weeks. Each week there will be an additional challenge related to the weekly themes of play, connect, rest, serve and balance.

The STRONG Challenge is open to everyone in the Chippewa Valley and there is no cost to participate. Participants will receive weekly motivation, resources, workouts, support and more. During the challenge, those who don’t already belong to the YMCA will be able to attend the Y for one day each week to enjoy swimming, working out, and a variety of classes.

Additionally, everyone in the challenge is invited to workout wherever they are, taking on-demand or live YMCA online classes like Zumba, yoga, and HIIT. There will also be weekly walking clubs and opportunities to gather – either online or outside (following COVID-19 precautions).

“It's the perfect time to take back our lives, reenergize, achieve goals, and to feel better and stronger,” says Linda May, regional executive director. “But we know how difficult that can be to do on your own. Throughout the STRONG Challenge, participants will encourage and inspire each other, and the YMCA will keep us all on track. We also encourage businesses, organizations, and families to do the challenge together. Let’s all help each other out!”

The YMCA hopes to get 800 people involved in the Chippewa Valley Challenge. In the first 24 hours after registration opened, 272 people had already signed up. YMCAs around the country will be running simultaneous STRONG Challenges as the Y seeks to rally people across the United States to reclaim their strength in body, mind, and spirit, and to remember that we are stronger together. Register by texting STRONG to 833-962-2777 or visiting www.ymca-cv.org/strong


About the Y: The YMCA of the Chippewa Valley is one of the Chippewa Valley’s leading non-profit organizations strengthening our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Annually, the YMCA engages more than 20,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.