New fitness center at BGC South East to support children and youth

BGC South East and Planet Fitness representatives at the Mini Planet Fitness launch at the West End Community Centre. From right to left: Harold Parsons, Executive Director at BGC South East, Jay Lasychuk, Area Director – Eastern Ontario, at Taymax Group LP, Jessica Sisk Roehlem, President – International at Taymax Group LP, Patrick Leroux, GM – Kingston Planet Fitness, Amanda Guarino, BGC South East, Rudy Petrillo, Regional Marketing & Community Investment Manager at Taymax Group LP, Kimberly Traill (GM – Napanee Planet Fitness), and Jahmaal Branker, BGC South East. Photo via BGC South East.

On Monday, Jul. 25, 2022, the first ever mini Planet Fitness was unveiled at BGC South East. The new fitness centre is located in the BGC West End Community Centre at 1300 Bath Road and will reportedly benefit over 3,000 local children and youth.

Planet Fitness donated 28 pieces of cardio equipment to the organization as part of their philanthropic initiative Planet Fitness, Judgement Free Generation®. The high-end Treadmills, Arc Trainers, Ellipticals, and 14 Bikes will be used to support children and youth with fitness and healthy living programs, according to a release from BGC South East.

“For more than 25 years, we have been welcoming thousands of local children and youth into safe and inclusive programs, where they learn active, educational, and social skills to lead healthy lives,” said Harold Parsons, Executive Director at BGC South East.

“When you step into a BGC Club, you belong, no matter where you come from,” Parsons continued. “The creation of a mini Planet Fitness is a natural fit with our mission, vision, and values. It will advance our plans to expand specialized physical activity programs and sports training to children and youth.”

The Judgement Free Generation is designed to combat the bullying faced by teens and empower a generation of teens to choose kindness and accept and respect one another, the organization stated. The initiative has built more than 30 Mini Judgement Free Zone fitness centers in Boys & Girls Clubs across the US and is now committed to expanding the initiative in Canada.

“At Planet Fitness, we believe physical and mental health and wellness has never been more important than it is today. We also pride ourselves on being an active partner in each of our communities and supporting organizations who share our community-minded values,” said Jessica Roehle, President, International, at Taymax Group LP. “With the donation of more than 25 pieces of fitness equipment, we’re pleased to help bolster what is already a fantastic environment for Kingston’s youth at the Boys & Girls Club South East location by creating a welcoming, non-intimidating gym space where they can exercise, have fun and learn about fitness.”

Starting in September, the new BGC fitness centre will offer free structured fitness sessions for over 700 youth, according to the organization. Older children will also benefit from the fitness centre through specialized programs such as the All Female Running Club and Junior Sports League, BGC said.

“Teens have so much energy and we want to help channel and develop it in a positive way,” Parsons said. “We know that if children start learning fitness skills early and exercising regularly, they will develop a host of physical competencies that will set them up for a healthy life.”

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