Fit Families: Katz JCC inspires fit minds and fit bodies
A state-of-the-art comprehensive wellnesS COMPLEX. Cutting-edge parent-child programs like baby massage and signing. An exercise arcade to encourage teen workouts. A NAEYC-accredited, state-licensed Early Childhood Center. Pilates, yoga and Zumba. Cultural programming and day trips. The Katz Jewish Community Center has been a South Jersey staple for more than 60 years—but it definitely hasn’t stood still.
Today, the Katz JCC is a vital community resource, offering not only educational, health and wellness programs, but also social and recreational opportunities that the entire family can enjoy.
“The JCC truly offers something for every family member, regardless of age or ability,” says Debbie Orel, the Katz JCC’s membership and marketing director. “We run the gamut from classes for newborns and their parents to teen activities and even community special events for the entire family.”
Health & wellness
The JCC offers the entire family a facility like none other in the area. The fitness center boasts the newest cardiovascular and strength training equipment which include a 15-inch personal TV.
The two full-sized gymnasiums offer men’s, teen’s and children’s basketball leagues, while the indoor and outdoor pools offer lap swimming, family playtime, water aerobics, competitive swim teams and the nationally known Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy. There are also ball fields, playgrounds, outdoor lighted tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court and an outdoor fitness course. The JCC also hosts sports camps with the 76ers, Eagles and other local partners.
For those who prefer to work out in a group setting, the JCC offers more than 150 free adult group wellness classes each week. These include the ultra-popular spinning classes, held in a temperature-controlled indoor spinning studio with 26 new bikes. “Group fitness lovers will enjoy our talented and creative instructors, as well as classes both on land and in water for all abilities and interests,” adds Jayne Miller Morgan, the JCC’s assistant fitness director. “We have a wide variety of classes including TRX total resistance training, Body Pump, Zumba and Groovics.” Rob Kiewe, Katz JCC health & wellness director, says the group fitness dynamics at the facility make a difference. “There is a good deal of socialization here where everyone looks forward to seeing their friends in class (including the instructors). There is a variety of things to try here so you’ll never get stuck in a rut and you can keep trying new things until you find something you enjoy and it never gets old.” In addition to certified personal trainers, the JCC has a nutritionist on staff to help create a nutrition plan to match an individual’s fitness plan. They also provide massage, physical therapy services on site and even an aesthetician.
And kids aren’t left out either. Whether your little athlete is into gymnastics, karate, soccer, basketball or cheerleading, the JCC’s skilled staff will help them excel. Older kids can stay healthy in the fitness center, pool, walking track or through programs such as an annual 5K run, kids’ triathlon or Kids Fit Challenge. Upcoming this January will also be “CATCH–Coordinated Approach To Child Health,” an evidence-based, coordinated health program designed to promote physical activity, healthy food choices and more in children from preschool through eighth grade.
Educational programs for kids
There’s no question that the JCC wholeheartedly embraces kids of all ages. It starts with the very youngest at the NAEYC-accredited Sari Isdaner Early Childhood Center, where the highest quality of care is offered for infants 6 weeks old through kindergarten age. All children enrolled in school enjoy weekly gym and music classes, while children ages 3 and older also receive swim lessons. Additionally, the JCC offers enrichment classes for children ages 3-6, which include Pre-School of Rock, Kinderlanguage, Mad Science and more, which are open to the entire community to enjoy.
For children in kindergarten through eighth grade, the Just 4 Kids after-school childcare program, which includes transportation from area school districts, offers enrichment activities that include homework help, swimming, cooking, art and science. Participants in sixth to eighth grades have an elective afternoon where the program’s structured activities are offered on a choice basis to suit an older child’s interests and independence.
The JCC also recently partnered with Cherry Hill Township and the mayor’s Wellness Program for a program called Girls on the Run, which is aimed at boosting the confidence of girls ages 8-11 through mentorship and support. The program encourages friendship while offering discussion points that include emotional health, nutrition, the importance of rest, positive attitudes and personal values. The inaugural 10-week course culminated in a celebratory 5K running event in Somerville last month.
Something for everyone Additionally, the JCC offers a wide variety of Judaic and cultural programs, social events and day trips, arts and culture activities, and “60 and Better” offerings. Seniors can participate in Tai Chi, yoga, chair aerobics and water fitness classes. The JCC is proud to be one of the largest providers of programs and services for individuals with special needs of all ages. Youth and teens with special needs can participate in a swim team and basketball league, as well as a variety of recreational and social programs. Kiewe adds, “One of the great things about our facility is how our members are multigenerational and we all coexist and mutually respect one another.”
The Katz JCC facility and its programs are open to men, women and children of all ages, races, religions and abilities.
The Katz Jewish Community Center
1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 10 (December, 2012).
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