BAR HARBOR — Everyone is getting creative with adapting events and activities this year to comply with health and safety rules. At the Mount Desert Island YMCA, the staff has cooked up a way to encourage physical activity, connect kids and families with some friendly online competition and celebrate local history, all in one program to be rolled out in August.
The Fitness in the Streets program is a companion to the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association’s Museum in the Streets walking tour,” explains YMCA fitness director Nick Tymoczko.
At each of the 26 stops on the downtown walking tour (the program does not include the 10 additional placards installed more recently, some of which are farther from downtown), the Y will install a temporary campaign-style sign near the permanent Museum in the Streets placard with an exercise challenge.
“The challenges will contain fun references to the historical information on the placards,” Tymoczko said.
For example, the placard at the hospital describes the construction of the trough to carry water from Eagle Lake during the typhoid epidemic of 1873. The challenge is to hold a squat position with arms held out like a trough.
Part of the idea is to take photos of the challenges and post to social media with a hashtag to encourage others to get in on the fun. Posting photos will also enter folks into a raffle to win prizes. Families can challenge themselves to check off all 26, and of course compete inter-family for who is the fittest of them all.
The Fitness in the Streets program will also be a fundraiser for the Y; each sign will have a sponsorship.
“We canceled our triathalon, we canceled both our half marathons, we canceled our lobster races. So that is approximately $100,000 that we did not bring in,” Tymoczko said. This program won’t come anywhere near that, but every little bit helps.
“The community has been great in supporting us,” he said. “We understand that a lot of folks have needed to put their memberships on hold, but many are continuing their membership because they recognize the Y’s importance to the community. It’s been really heartwarming to see that.”
As the year goes on, he said, the Y staff is also at work on other program ideas, including more online classes and virtual races.
See a map of the Museum in the Streets locations at barharborvia.org/museum-in-the-streets. For information about the Fitness in the Streets program, visit the Mount Desert Island YMCA on Facebook or mdiymca.org.