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Making progress: Thermometer to keep readers informed of fundraising

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By Michael Craig, Wadena Wellness Center Fundraising Committee

You will see, accompanying this article, a thermometer tracking our fundraising progress toward achieving our goal of $11 million. We don’t have far to go!

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In the coming weeks we would like to see this thermometer moving steadily upward. Keep those pledges coming!

A lot of time and effort has been put into trying to design the optimal size, shape and function of our new wellness center. Do we have three lap lanes or six? Do we add a walking/running track or do we just let people use the one at the high school? Do we add more gym space or not? What about a spa?

These are all important issues to resolve, but I think now is the time to expand the conversation and start a discussion about programming at the new wellness center. What do I mean by programming? I’m talking about activities, support services, strategic alliances, rental agreements, making sure that our new center has as many multifaceted uses as possible. This will help ensure that we have broad-based community support. It will also help ensure that the center is self-sustaining, operationally. 

Having spent years talking to community stakeholders, I have some very definite ideas on what should be going on when the wellness center opens. You probably have your own ideas. We need to hear them! So does the city council. There is still a lot that has not been decided, particularly when you talk about programming and operations. Here are some of my thoughts:

Personal trainers – Increasingly, busy people want some professional assistance with their workout program. Maybe your goal is to lose weight. Maybe you are an athlete, and want to increase your strength and agility. I think having personal trainers on staff would be a great strategic asset for us. They could be hired as employees, or the center management could simply contract for services. The latter concept would reduce the financial risk to the center.

Massage therapists – Massage therapy is becoming increasingly popular, and it is being widely accepted as part of a “holistic” wellness program. I could see a staff of therapists providing coverage at almost all hours of the week. Here, again, it would probably be best to contract with outside providers.

Sport and fitness equipment – We could contract with local businesses to run a boutique store at the wellness center, selling exercise equipment and clothing. This might be one way to work with local businesses rather than compete directly with them. This same concept could be used to provide food and beverages on site.

Event planning – We are hoping that our meeting rooms and gymnasium will be used for trade shows, wedding receptions, etc. Why not have an event coordinator on staff or affiliated with the center to market and administer these programs? There is now a loose network in the Wadena area involved in wedding planning. In the immediate vicinity we have wedding photographers, bridal shops, numerous churches and the Scheer homestead, now known as “Green Island,” which is becoming a popular destination site for outdoor weddings. I can see a lot of potential in linking our center to this network of wedding-related services.

I’m only scratching the surface with these ideas. We’d like to hear yours. We’re only limited by our imaginations.

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