By Northeast Community Center staff
For the Hollywood Star News
“Everything Old is New Again,” might just be the unofficial slogan of the Northeast Community Center. The historic building that housed the former Northeast YMCA is 90 years old, but the NECC is a spry, 10-year-old non-profit that has injected vibrant energy into the facility. In the past 10 years, the NECC has become woven into the fabric of its community, providing a unique facility for all ages that often feels somewhat like home-away-from- home.
You might be like some in the neighborhood who have wondered what happens in that big, brownish building that is neatly nestled next to the Starbucks on that funny triangle framed by Broadway, Sandy Boulevard, and Northeast 38th Avenue. The answer: a lot.
Every week day, the morning starts nice and early with the 5:30 a.m. lap swimmers. Greeted by name as they arrive, these swimmers head to the pool just as the 6 a.m. Full Body Fitness participants arrive, followed closely by the 8:30 a.m. Water Workout folks. Like most of the classes at the NECC, Full Body Fitness and Water Workout are more than a fitness class – participants are neighbors who support each other in their shared workout habit. This support goes well beyond the gym or the pool. Participants from the Water Workout class regularly send postcards from their travels, and everyone gets a birthday card. And if someone is missing for several weeks, they often receive a friendly call, just making sure that everything is alright.
As the day continues, the “regulars” drop in for Stretch and Move, Pilates, Tai Chi, Active Older Adult Classes, and noontime Basketball. Moms, dads, and grandparents drop children off in the free Child Watch space and head to their Adult Ballet, Yoga, or Zumba class, or to use the treadmills, ellipticals, spin cycles, TRX, or weight room. Many of them spend the time before or after class talking with each other: play-dates are scheduled, community events (and sometimes politics) are discussed, coupons are shared, stories are told, problems are solved.
In the early afternoon, the Parkinson’s Exercise Group and Pickleball players arrive in force, and shortly thereafter the youth movement begins: swim lessons, ballet, basketball leagues, volleyball class, and soccer skills. Every day nearly 100 children participate in some type of physical activity at the NECC, encouraging a love for movement and exercise that will support a lifetime of health. The “after-work” crowd arrives around 5:30 p.m., and immediately gets back to work in a variety of higher-intensity cardio classes, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and Circuit Training.
The NECC packs all of this and more into a single day, but there is an important component of community-building that often goes unnoticed. NECC members and their neighbors volunteer more than 2,000 hours each year, supporting youth programs and contributing to the NECC’s sustainability. Parents coach basketball and volleyball leagues, retirees and young adults alike serve on the Board and on committees, and teens assist in summer camps. These volunteer efforts not only support the NECC, but they bring together people of all ages, create bonds between neighbors, and strengthen our community.
Community demand for NECC’s programs and activities continues to grow, and the NECC keeps expanding to serve this demand. This fall, the NECC will open a new, 4,500-square-foot “Annex,” and has added more swim classes, a unique Women’s Boot Camp program, Gentle Restorative Yoga, Cardio Kickboxing, Tabata classes, Power & Flow Yoga and Barre Fusion. Stop by this fall, see what is new at the NECC, pick up a free day pass, and get engaged in your neighborhood, non-profit community center.
For more information: Northeast Community Center, 1630 N.E. 38th Ave., (503) 284-3377, necommunitycenter.org.