Free 6 Week Y Program Promises to Kick the Pandemic Rut

Community gets STRONG Together in partnership with Valley Shore Y, Camp Hazen Y, Community Foundation of Middlesex

MIDDLETOWN,CT (October 9, 2020)–Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired in these COVID-19 times?  The Northern Middlesex YMCA invites all in the community to participate in a free six-week STRONG challenge designed to help transform spirit, mind and body. The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati began this program earlier this year, and it had such great success in helping to elevate their community that they wanted to make it national and available to all YMCA’s.

“Now, more than ever before we need to recharge and refocus,”said YMCA of Greater Cincinnati President and CEO Jorge Perez. “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.” 

The six-week Strong program will begin on Monday, Oct. 19 and end on Friday, Nov. 27. Registration is free and open to everyone in the community. Each week there will be a new menu of national and local virtual and in-person programs. Once people register, they’ll receive three texts a week with motivation, challenges, and workouts, and a chance to celebrate their successes at the end of the week.

The Middlesex YMCA program is connected to national Y STRONG Challenges and offered locally along with the Valley Shore YMCA and YMCA Camp Hazen. Support from Middlesex Health and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County make it possible to offer the program to everyone in the community for FREE. YMCA membership is not required; in fact, the program includes a free two-week Y membership, although it doesn’t require participants to take group classes or come into the Y at all.

“We want to offer this as a way to help everyone in the community feel empowered to take care of themselves, their health and reconnect with other people,”said Northern Middlesex YMCA CEO Michele Rulnick.“We wanted to give people an easy way to think about their health and wellness again, do something small for themselves to get started on that journey and come together as a community.”—

Those wishing to participate should text the word STRONG to 844-360-5656. The first 500 Y members to do so will receive a magnetic accountability calendar to plan activities and set goals. A paper version of the calendar, which can be printed at home, is available on the Middlesex YMCA website.

“The program is really designed to motivate us to get us moving, but also to help us as we progress through the six weeks concentrate on things like sleep, reducing stress, or incorporating play into our day. Participants gain access to weekly STRONG Challenge coaching sessions, a weekly STRONG Virtual workout and a weekly STRONG newsletter filled with wellness tips and links.It’s the perfect time to take back our lives, reenergize, achieve goals, feel better and stronger,said Heather Chandor, Vice President of the Northern Middlesex YMCA.

Visit to learn more about the STRONG Challenge.


About the YMCA

The YMCA is one of the area’s largest nonprofits focused on engaging individuals and families in youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y is dedicated to helping people achieve goals, make friends and find a true sense of belonging. The Y offers quality time for families to be together, resources for parents, and a variety of opportunities for seniors to be active. The YMCA ensures these opportunities are available to everyone no matter their ability to pay with generous support from community partners and donors. For more information about the Y, visit

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The Y is made up of people of all ages and from every walk of life working side by side to strengthen communities. Together we work to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation, has the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity. Our core values are caring, honesty, respect and responsibility—they guide everything we do.


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