UPPER PROVIDENCE >> The absence of snow blanketing the rolling hills of Collegeville last week did not detract one bit from the theme of an annual “winter wonderland.”
In fact, the dry, sunny conditions probably brought more curious folks out to the Upper Providence Township Recreation Center at Anderson Farm Park than falling snowflakes ever would have.
The 4-year-old world-class fitness center nestled off of Hopwood Road in a curiously modern farm-like structure with its very own silo provided the setting for the Second Annual Winter Wonderland of Wellness — with “wellness” being the operative word, according to recreation supervisor Kevin Letrinko.
“We’re missing the snow, but we still have all of our holiday decorations up and there are snowflakes scattered around. “Winter Wonderland” is a name that was created when they ran it last year for the first time and it kind of stuck. Essentially it’s an open house for anyone, to get people in the door to find out what we offer here. We’re running classes all day, like Zumba, strength training, yoga, cycling, Pilates, rock wall climbing, to give people a taste of the classes we have,” explained Letrinko, who added that the timing of the event was not coincidental.
“People are making their New Year resolutions and are looking for fitness opportunities they can get into once the new year hits. We’re showing them our different memberships styles, but more than anything, giving them a chance to sample some of the classes we offer. People can try out some of the classes today and see if they’re interested in signing up for them.”
With special membership promotions in full swing, many guests were discovering that township residency was not required to join the fitness center, although those who do call Upper Providence home earn a break in dues ($220 for residents; $320, non- residents.)
“We definitely offer incentives to residents of the township, but we don’t discriminate if you’re not a resident,” Letrinko allowed.
The event also benefitted Montgomery County SPCA and the Royersford Food Pantry.
“There is no charge for the classes today, but we ask that people bring pet supplies, like food, toys, blankets, treats, a canned good for the food pantry, or donate a coat for our coat drive. These are collections that we do all year long,” Letrinko noted.
Vendors providing information about their services included Valley Forge Running Company, Isagenics, Be Balanced, Mary Kay and Lemongrass Spa.
“One of our goals is promoting local business, so we do try to keep everything local,” Letrinko said. “We work with a lot of local companies and businesses and give them an opportunity to come in and promote what they do.”
On the upper gymnasium level, certified rock wall climbing instructor Scott Weichel kept a watchful eye on curious climbers who mounted the wall and sampled the smooth descent made possible by the auto belay technology.
“Normally you’d need a spotter at the bottom to help catch you, but with the self-belayer device you don’t,” Weichel explained.
As Weichel lowered himself down from a quick ascent, Letrinko added, “The rock wall sort of differentiates us from a lot of recreation centers, so it’s something we like to showcase.”
The recreation center is situated amid a pair of regulation-sized Little League Baseball fields, two regulation-sized soccer fields, a walking trail, picnic areas, and a deck hockey rink.
“When the recreation center was built, it opened a lot of different avenues as far as what we could offer to residents,” Letrinko pointed out. “We never had a place to do classes or anything before the center was built, and we’re always looking for an opportunity to expand what we offer.
Ironically, township residents and others routinely tell Letrinko they had no idea the center existed, he said.
“That’s something we’re trying to combat with events like this, to drive that local awareness,” he said. “In recreation, the more you’re able to do events consistently, that’s how the special programs grow. This year’s ‘Winter Wonderland of Wellness’ is bigger than it was last year and we’re hoping next year’s is even bigger.”
For more information about Upper Providence Township Recreation Center at Anderson Farm Park, 499 Hopwood Road, Collegeville, call 484-391-2390.