ARICHAT: With five years under their belt, the folks at the Isle Madame IFIT Centre are looking back on a half decade of community support and many more years of helping people get healthy on Isle Madame.
“Good things come in little packages,” said IFIT general manager Shirley Anne Samson, when asked how things were going at the facility.
Samson along with personal trainer Felicia Brushett visited St. Joseph’s Credit Union on Tuesday of last week to accept a bit of Christmas well-wishes from the management of the credit union. Those well wishes came in the form of a $5,000 donation to assist IFit and their mission of getting folks in shape.
When it was first getting setup, IFIT was given $50,000 from St. Joseph’s Credit Union.
“It’s a huge asset to the community, and as a leader in the community, we are incline to support them,” said credit union general manger Michael Boudreau.
“It’s been five years, so maybe we’ll look at getting a bit more equipment in there – some different equipment – but the money will help maintain what we have too,” Samson said. “We’ve been looking at what’s out there for other grants. When you’re non-profit, you can’t rely on memberships alone.”
“We’ve been applying for grants and looking at other avenues,” said Brushett. “We usually run a 12-week challenge in January that brings a lot of new people into the gym, which is nice.”
The IFIT Centre is located in Arichat behind Ecole Beau Port. The non-profit fitness facility is cared for by a board of directors and two staff members, Samson and Brushett.
“We work very hard to provide all members of our community, of all ages and abilities, with access to an affordable fitness facility, with the mental and physical health of our residents being our top priority,” Brushett said.
“We currently host a number of free services for our community such as Hearts in Motion, a structured GASHA [Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority]-run program for heart patients in our area; La pirouette for early French education of children from newborn to school-aged; provide a friendly and safe environment for our local residents with special needs to come enjoy our facility; and more to come in the new year.”
IFIT bid farewell to some of its founding board members, and both Brushett and Samson said they appreciate the outgoing members’ service over the first five years. IFIT now welcomes new board members president Rachelle Samson, as well as Darren Martell, James Bungay, and Murielle Joshua.
IFIT held a fundraising campaign and open house to mark its five year milestone. Brushett was onsite to offer fitness insights, as well as dietician Lisa DeWolf.
“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all of our donors in this fundraising campaign,” Brushett said, noting IFIT is supported by Island Pharmacy, Fox Group Inc., Bluewave Energy, Premium Seafoods LTD, Ross Screenprint, Bluenose Insurance, Shirley’s Spud Wagon, Dr. Deroche Medical Inc., Wilson’s Gas Stop, eS2 Digital, Polytech Windows and Doors, Catou Consulting, Sherry Boudreau, and Sherry Shears.
“And a final thank you to all of our wonderful members who have supported us over the past five years,” Brushett said. “We look forward to many more years to come.”