On Tuesday, February 4th, a severe snow and ice storm hit much of the East Coast and Mid West, leaving thousands of homes and businesses without power. This included much of the community of Newtown, Pa. In light of wide-spread power outages, Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) decided to take action and offer refuge to affected members of the community.
On Wednesday, February 5th, NAC opened its doors, lined its hallways with extra tables and filled every available outlet with power strips, knowing many members would need to charge their phones. Around 2,000 members took advantage of NAC’s generosity that day alone.
According to Linda Mitchell, the director of PR and marketing for NAC, the staff didn’t think twice before making the decision to open the club’s doors to those put out. “No, we did not think twice,” said Mitchell. “It is a given that we will stay open no matter what. We may not always have programs going, but we will open our doors. Naturally, [the] safety of our members and employees is paramount, but if we can, we will open.”
Mitchell explained that some community members even stayed at NAC for hours, taking showers, eating meals and of course, exercising. Many took advantage of NAC’s newest amenity, Fitness on Demand.
Although the situation wasn’t ideal, Mitchell believed it has solidified NAC’s relationship with its members. “It is on days like these that they see that we will go the extra mile to be accommodating,” she said. “Especially in times of stress, as these terrifying weather events are, and when our community is so vulnerable, they see us as a shelter. We could be just a place to work out, but we define ourselves as so much more … as a lifestyle whose mission is to ‘make their lives better’ in any way possible. We have set our standards high and are willing to live up to them.”
According to Mitchell, NAC received great feedback from members, both verbally and on social media, such as Facebook. “The members are very, very grateful,” she recalled. “Another quote that we got that was very gratifying was: ‘It’s a day like today that the NAC really shines and we see the value of our membership.’”
Photos courtesy of Newtown Athletic Club
Story by Rachel Zabonick