Thirty years ago, T. Boone Pickens was a pioneer in the corporate fitness arena. In 1979, Pickens built a $2.5 million, 30,000-square-foot fitness center at Mesa Petroleum in Amarillo and instituted a corporate wellness program available to all employees. Pickens not only espoused that physical fitness created a better, more economically sound workforce and workplace, he walked the talk. Wearing the standard program participant’s blue sweats and gray T-shirt, Pickens became a daily fixture on the stationery bike and on the racquetball court, where he regularly trounced his younger partners.
“Good health does not just happen,” he coached employees in the foreword to the Fitness Center program packet. “To achieve and maintain it requires individual effort. Such effort is particularly essential for individuals holding jobs that do not require physical labor. Anyone will deteriorate physically sitting at a desk with no regular physical exercise!”
Fast forward to 2009, as the Downtown YMCA was transformed through a generous $5 million gift from the Foundation, the largest the Dallas YMCA has ever received. Renamed the T. Boone Pickens YMCA, the center provides a modern place for downtown business employees to work out, as well as a health organizational center for the individuals and families who are part of the expanded residential population moving into condos and apartments in the revitalized downtown residential community.
Today, corporate wellness programs are essential to business objectives. In the competitive business world, health must become a core business value. Healthier employees are more productive which leads to better customer service, better profits, and a better organization. The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, the largest human care organization in the city, continues to be a strong partner today with 58 Corporate Wellness Partners, up 63 percent from 2009. The preventative health and wellness market has continued to grow and is more attractive to businesses as health insurance costs have continued to rise.
As a partner, the YMCA helps companies by providing active membership programs with both onsite and off site classes. In addition to the wide variety of classes provided each day at the Y, they currently offer 12 offsite classes per week. Lunch and Learn sessions are offered, providing nutritional information on healthy eating habits, label reading and portion size. Sports Leagues are provided both at the YMCA and at Main Street Gardens.
The T Boone Pickens YMCA is actively engaging not only the businesses downtown but also the growing residential population. Saturday morning residential-based classes are held at Main Street Gardens. Kickball leagues at Main Street are creating neighborhood team building among the downtown residents. Beginning this fall, with the opening of the Klyde Warren Park over Woodall Rogers, the YMCA will offer six classes a week including Zumba, yoga and Baby Bootcamp with strollers. Croquet and Ping-Pong, along with a quarterly nutritional lunchtime series, also will be offered.
Despite the economy, membership trends have continued to rise at the T. Boone Pickens YMCA. The healthy business objectives Pickens pioneered more than three decades ago continue at the Y, a leading voice on health and well being. With a mission centered on balance, the T. Boone Pickens Y encourages good health and fosters connections through fitness, sports and fun. As a result, youth, adults and families are receiving the support, guidance, and resources need to achieve great health and well being for their spirit, mind, and body.
For more information, visit www.ymcadallas.org.