SALEM, Ohio – The Salem Community Center’s new normal remains much of the old normal, focusing on its mission to improve the quality of life in the community.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the center operates from a technology standpoint. Many adjustments and modifications were made along the way, says Heather Young, executive director.
Throughout the pandemic the center faced shutdowns, roadblocks and cancellations daily but made it work by leaning on its core values, staff and desire to help the community.
The community center offered online classes to help keep members fit and connected. After it reopened, the center used outdoor space for programs, rearranged equipment for more space, implemented hands-free check-in and provided a clean space for everyone to feel comfortable.
Some of the pandemic protocols were permanently implemented, such as reducing the use of paper, streamlining payments and using a QR code check-in system that replaced membership cards and uses a person’s phone. In 2023, the center launched online membership sales. It continues to offer hybrid classes with fitness on demand.
In recognition of its 20th anniversary, the Salem Community Foundation presented the center with new strength equipment.
In 2023, the center looks to return membership to pre-pandemic levels. At the end of 2022, the center was 15% away from that goal, Young says.