Columbia Association (CA) recently launched two new initiatives — the JumpStart program and a series of New Member Events — with the goal of helping members make the most of their membership.

CA’s membership structure used to be rather complicated. The launch of the new membership structure earlier this year decreased the number of options to six, which include amenities and programs related to fitness, recreation and golf.

While the change to fewer options has been beneficial, even some of our longstanding members still may not know about all the benefits of their membership, particularly members who once may have had only access to the pools or to the tennis clubs; but now, for the same price as before, have much more available to them. Those members now have Play memberships, and they receive access to CA’s pools, Columbia SportsPark and SkatePark, Columbia Ice Rink and CA’s indoor and outdoor tennis courts.

We are working to assist this particular group of members and all other new members in learning about how they can best take advantage of what these facilities have to offer. Each month brings a special free event. This month highlights Columbia Swim Center and SplashDown, for example, while in October the spotlight is on Columbia Ice Rink. More information can be found at ColumbiaAssociation.org/newmembers.
In a similar fashion, the JumpStart program — which launches in October — will provide more assistance to new members at CA’s fitness clubs.

New members will receive two coaching sessions from CA’s personal trainers. These sessions will include discussing the goals they hope to accomplish and any barriers they might perceive. Also, there will be a brief functional movement screening, followed by work with the trainer to design a program, whether it is walking them through specific exercises or recommending certain classes that will better help each member reach his or her goal. Current members are still eligible for a fitness consultation, which offers many similar benefits.

These are important adjustments that will help improve how we engage and assist our members. We have learned that members who feel more knowledgeable earlier on in their membership will be more likely to fully use their membership. Further, we believe they are more likely to remain members into the future and, more importantly, to achieve their personal health and fitness goals.

CA had a head start in the community. There once were not as many options for exercise and recreation. Now there are many more options available in Columbia and beyond. That can be a good thing. Competition prevents complacency.

We are listening and adjusting. Member feedback helps CA make informed decisions about classes, programs and equipment — and ensures that members have the best possible experience. We are proactively soliciting the opinions of members, whether gained through personal interactions or feedback from online survey data.

CA once was the only choice for the Columbia community. Now we are working every day to make sure we remain the best choice.

E-mail milton.matthews@columbiaassociation.org with questions/comments.