Clubfit Blog | Inspirational Stories

Club Fit Swim Team Raises over 16K for Charities!

March 26, 2019 by karen


Kudos to our Club Fit Swim Team, and swimmers Alana Rabinowitz and Hannah Nemerever, whose efforts have raised over $16,000 for charities!

Alana has been on the swim team for seven years. She is the team Charity Co-coordinator to help spearhead our annual swim-a-thon. Her father, who passed away last summer, was the founder of Panthera. Panthera is the only organization in the world that is devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 40 wildcat species and their landscapes. Our Jefferson Valley Swim Team has raised over $15,000 for this amazing charity in honor of Dr. Alan Rabinowitz.

Community-minded Club Fit swimmers raised over 16K for charities!
Community-minded Club Fit swimmers Hannah and Alana raised over 16K for charities!

Hannah Nemerever has been on the team for nine years. She has been our charity coordinator for the past five years, raising thousands for charities, as part our ongoing effort to give back to those in need. Hannah’s father Ed, who was our Parent Charity Coordinator, passed away last spring. Ed was relentless in his passion to help those in need. In honor of Ed Nemerever, we have raised over $1000 for local charity Sparrow’s Nest. This organization is dedicated to helping families with food donations while battling cancer. Sparrow’s Nest provides two meals, once a week, to the families of caregivers and children diagnosed with any type of cancer.

As Club Fit President Bill Beck noted recently, we have our members to thank for bringing so many worthy charities to our attention. “Over the many years we’ve been in business we’ve supported many local charities. Often times we have our very generous members to thank for this, as it is our members who are involved in these organizations. We’re happy to support them in their efforts to improve our community while they support us as we help them improve their health and wellness.” It’s rewarding to us to be part of such a thoughtful and caring community.

We’re also offering our new members a chance to give back when the join, by donating their enrollment fees to one of these deserving local charities: SPCA of Westchester Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Support Connection, Inc., The Justin Veatch Fund, United for the Troops, or Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center.


Another successful Think Fit for Kids at Club Fit

March 25, 2019 by karen

Great news — we are happy to announce we hosted yet another successful Think Fit For Kids event at Club Fit Briarcliff!

The goal of this annual event is to raise to benefit pediatric brain tumor research via Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The foundation is the world’s leading nonprofit dedicated to the childhood brain tumor community. They serve the more than 28,000 U.S. children and teens battling brain tumors by investing in the most promising research and providing practical, informational and emotional support to families.

smiling group of Club Fit volunteers at the 2019 Think Fit for Kids event in Briarcliff Manor
Smiling volunteers at this year’s Think Fit for Kids event: Energy Center staff Jesse, Jason, Bobby, Christian, and Manager Melissa, along with club member Chrissy

Event organizer Kim Gilman was happy to report this year’s event, held on March 9, 2019, had an impressive turnout. “Thank you, once again, to Club Fit for donating their amazing venue and staff for the 9th annual Think Fit For Kids! This year alone, we have already raised over $225,000 to fund the most promising pediatric brain cancer research. When we first approached Club Fit back in 2011, I don’t think any of us thought we could ever come close to raising $2 million in nine years! But, we have! And in the process, we have built awareness around this horrific disease and built a community of support and hope for families battling pediatric brain cancer. Thank you, Club Fit for your generous partnership. Together, we WILL find gentler and more promising treatments and a cure for kids’ brain cancer!”

Shout out to our caring and enthusiastic Energy Center Staff, and Manager Melissa Lawrence, who says, “I am very happy to be a part of this event. We have been doing it for nine years and it’s for a great cause. My staff never hesitate to help and they have a great time engaging with the kids at the event.”

Want to be notified about their upcoming events? Follow Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation on Facebook or Instagram. For more information on how to help/donate, visit”



Tips to Keep Kids Active and Healthy

February 27, 2019 by karen

Pediatrician Dr. Rodd Stein offers some practical advice on keeping kids active


Last year’s release of new Federal Physical Activity Guidelines has many wondering how to keep their kids active. We reached out to local pediatrician and Club Fit member Dr. Rodd Stein to ask his advice… “I think that preaching to people about exercise is like talking about the benefits of quitting smoking. Everyone knows that It’s good for you. There are plenty of studies out there that illustrate how good exercise is for you and how detrimental inactivity and obesity are to your health, which are nicely summarized on these CDC links . The trick is getting a child to start. A lot of it may have to come from the person themself, but I think that the one thing parents can do to motivate their children is to exercise with them. Go for a walk in the park, or a hike, or a trip to the city, or join a gym and make it your mission to go with them. Most people need a partner to get motivated. Make your children your partner. In order to improve one’s health, you can’t just talk about exercise, you need to include diet in the conversation, but a lot of times people need to break a cycle of inactivity and poor diet by first just getting out there and doing something. Anything. Once they start to move around more, they start to feel better about themselves. Then, they may not want to make some of the poor food choices they have been making. Maybe they’ll start to slowly change their diet around. For example, they’ll stop eating sugary snacks, stop drinking sodas and fruit drinks, or limit desserts. Then they start to see a difference in how they look and feel, which feeds back to a desire to stay healthy. It starts with tiny steps; nothing too dramatic. Every year when I see people for check ups a few of them have actually gotten themselves into shape and I always ask them how they did it. I always get the same answer. It’s never tricks, fad diets or drugs. It’s always, ‘I stopped eating and drinking garbage and I started exercising’.” ————————————————————— Looking for a fun way to get your kids moving? Bring them to our Cardio Kids class led by Personal Trainer Kelly Baurista, held on the first Saturday of each month. Kids from ages 5–12 will enjoy 45 minutes of high-energy fun. Class is FREE for Club Fit members!
Pediatrician Dr. Rodd Stein, an active Club Fit member, offers tips to help keep kids active

Last year’s release of new Federal Physical Activity Guidelines has many parents wondering how to keep their kids active. We reached out to local pediatrician and Club Fit member Dr. Rodd Stein to ask his advice…

“I think that preaching to people about exercise is like talking about the benefits of quitting smoking. Everyone knows that It’s good for you. There are plenty of studies out there that illustrate how good exercise is for you and how detrimental inactivity and obesity are to your health, which are nicely summarized in the CDC links below.* The trick is getting a child to start. A lot of it may have to come from the person themself, but I think that the one thing parents can do to motivate their children is to exercise with them. Go for a walk in the park, or a hike, or a trip to the city, or join a gym and make it your mission to go with them. Most people need a partner to get motivated. Make your children your partner.

In order to improve one’s health, you can’t just talk about exercise, you need to include diet in the conversation, but a lot of times people need to break a cycle of inactivity and poor diet by first just getting out there and doing something. Anything. Once they start to move around more, they start to feel better about themselves. Then, they may not want to make some of the poor food choices they have been making. Maybe they’ll start to slowly change their diet around. For example, they’ll stop eating sugary snacks, stop drinking sodas and fruit drinks, or limit desserts. Then they start to see a difference in how they look and feel, which feeds back to a desire to stay healthy. It starts with tiny steps; nothing too dramatic. Every year when I see people for check ups a few of them have actually gotten themselves into shape and I always ask them how they did it. I always get the same answer. It’s never tricks, fad diets or drugs. It’s always, ‘I stopped eating and drinking garbage and I started exercising’.”


Looking for a fun way to get your kids moving? Bring them to our Cardio Kids class led by Personal Trainer Kelly Bautista, held on the first Saturday of each month. Kids from ages 5–12 will enjoy 45 minutes of high-energy fun. Class is FREE for Club Fit members!

*More info:


Club Fit Tennis Pro Heath Hoover

February 26, 2019 by karen

Club Fit’s Heath Hoover has been named Southern District President for the USPTA Eastern Division

Congratulations to our Assistant Director of Tennis and Adult Tennis Program Director Heath Hoover on his new position as Southern District President for the USPTA Eastern Division!

Club Fit Briarcliff Assistant Director of Tennis / Adult Tennis Program Director Heath Hoover
Club Fit Briarcliff Assistant Director of Tennis / Adult Tennis Program Director Heath Hoover

Heath — who grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas — was taught to play tennis when he was eight years old by his father, a former college player and local junior high school coach.

Heath became a certified teaching pro with the USPTA (U.S. Professional Tennis Association) in 1997 in Ft. Worth, Texas. He moved to the Northeast in 1999 and has been an active member of the USPTA for 22 years. In 2009, he won the Cardio Tennis Fast Feed contest for the Eastern Division. He then went on to take second place in the National Cardio Tennis Fast Feed contest at the USPTA National Conference in Marco Island, Florida. Heath continues to attend multiple Eastern conferences every year. This year, the Eastern USPTA Board of Directors voted him in as Southern District President after current Eastern President, Geoff Jagdfeld, nominated him for the position.

There are six district presidents within the Eastern Division: Manhattan, New Jersey, Western, Northern, Long Island, & Southern. The Southern District is made up of Westchester & Rockland Counties. Each district’s president serves as a liaison between the district’s members and the Board of Directors. The district president is responsible for forming a committee within the district and to work with them to create and offer multiple events for the USPTA members of their district as well as neighboring districts — three educational events, two social events, and one charity event per calendar year. The district presidents also carry out various administrative duties as required to support their respective districts.

Heath is also hoping to use his new position to bring some additional tennis events to Club Fit Briarcliff. For more info on USPTA, you can find it at

Club Fit Tennis Director Rodrigo Schtscherbyna, Heath, Tennis Pro David Hugues
Club Fit Tennis Director Rodrigo Schtscherbyna, Heath, Tennis Pro David Hugues

Healthy Heart Nutrition Tips from Alicia

January 25, 2019 by karen

Club Fit Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Alicia Lusardi
Club Fit Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Alicia Lusardi

You may ask yourself, “What factors play a role in maintaining a healthy heart?” There are many, but the good news is, YOU have control over almost all of them! Aside from genetics, cardiovascular exercise, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and smoking/tobacco use are the main agents that influence your heart health. Specifically, staying active will help prevent obesity, decrease blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol, improve blood sugar control, and make that heart of yours nice and strong! Developing good eating habits such as avoiding processed foods, limiting sugar intake, and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables will aid in sustaining adequate blood flow by decreasing the risk of hypertension and lowering LDL cholesterol.

Eating foods lower in sodium and limiting alcohol consumption to 1–2 drinks daily can help lower blood pressure as well. Finally, abstain from smoking or using tobacco and make an effort to spend time in smoke-free environments whenever possible. Consciously following these simple guidelines or making small changes to work towards them will ensure longevity and a thriving heart.

NEW: Come join Alicia in our JV café on April 28, 2019
for a pre-Mother’s Day Munch ‘n’ Brunch!

Special occasions can sometimes be difficult to navigate when trying to make healthier choices. Alicia has some tips and tricks to help!

She’ll cover healthy holiday eating topics including:

• Healthy Brunch Ideas
• How to Balance Your Plate at a Brunch
• Mindful Eating Techniques
• Balancing the Booze


Club FIt Staff Spotlight: Sam Nunes

December 21, 2018 by jeanne

On the Move with Sam Nunes

Samantha Nunes is always pushing forward and is working hard to keep her trainers and her clients going in the same direction.

By Jeremy Brown

Samantha Nunes smiling

It’s long been an immutable fact that there are 24 hours in a day. No more no less. But, talking to Samantha Nunes, it seems as though she might have found a few extra here and there. Either that or she is actually superhuman.

As the Fitness Director and Master Trainer, as well as the Parisi Speed School Program Director, Nunes puts in a full 40 hours at Club Fit’s Jefferson Valley location. In between, she also manages her own personal training business, training clients before and after hours. Oh, and did we mention that she also has her real estate license.

“Even as a kid I always had to stay busy,” she says. “I’m not the kind of person that can sit behind a desk. I always have to be out and about.”

Still, in spite of her hectic schedule, Nunes knows the importance of time management, something she admits wasn’t always her strongest suit. “In order to keep all those plates spinning requires a schedule. It’s a balance,” Nunes says. “I try to fit everything into Monday and Thursday, so that, when it comes to the weekends, I’m able to have that for family time.”

That word, family, is an important one to Nunes, and she says that Club Fit shares her appreciation for family.

“It’s very family oriented,” she says about the club. “I have a great team, they were very welcoming when I came in. When I first went into a manager’s meeting and everyone introduced themselves, there wasn’t a person in there who hadn’t been with the club for at least ten years. That says something about the company.”

As the Fitness Director, Nunes notes that there are many benefits to training at Club Fit, but stressed the importance of small group training, something she feels members don’t take enough advantage of.

“What’s so great about small group training is that you can train with family, friends or a group of people that share the same interest,” she explains, “and you’re all able to be front and center with a trainer that can walk you through biomechanics, watch your form and help you and your group all together.”

Even if you don’t opt for small group training, Nunes says that Club Fit offers so much for members that, whatever your fitness goals are, they’ll definitely be met. That said, with more than 80 classes to choose from, Nunes admits that it can be daunting for new members to decide which ones to take on first. But don’t worry, she says, the team has you covered. “Every member that signs up gets a free fitness orientation,” she says. “We assess your biomechanics, which is how your body moves, where your imperfections are and how we can fix them. We also do an upper body assessment to see where your strength is. It’s a free one-on-one session with a trainer. You can ask them questions and we go over all the important details that can help get you where you need to be to live a healthy lifestyle.”

In the end, that is the ultimate goal, says Nunes. Making health and fitness a cornerstone of your life. As she tells her clients, “Your body is the king or the queen of your castle. And if you’re not taking care of yourself, that king or queen is coming down and taking the whole kingdom with it! It’s not a selfish thing to put yourself first sometimes. Your kids are always the most important, but you have to keep yourself healthy so you’re around for them.”

Looking ahead to 2019, Nunes says she has big plans for her team of trainers.

“I want to see the trainers that I have to explode to an elite level and be training 60 to 100 sessions a month,” she says, “and for them to be the point of contact for anyone who needs help in the club.”

And, she adds, while she doesn’t usually make New Year’s resolutions for herself, this year might be a little different.

“I recently said to myself, ‘2019 is finally going to be the year of me,’” she says. “I always put everyone first, and I have a lot of goals that I want to be able to accomplish. So, for this year, I really am focusing on becoming a better version of myself.”







Club Fit Member Spotlight: Richard Senato

November 26, 2018 by jeanne

The Season of Giving

A happy family in thanksgiving dinner

By Jeremy Brown

Love Holds Life’s annual toy drive will bring holiday joy and happiness to the families who need it the most.

In 2012, Richard Senato, then a volunteer with the Red Cross, was approached by a friend with the prospect of starting a foundation. A young boy, Michael Montana, was battling leukemia at just 11 and the family was struggling financially. The proposed foundation would help raise money to fund Michael’s treatments.

“I agreed to do it,” Senato recalled, “and that’s how Love Holds Life was formed.”

Through fundraisers, motorcycle rides, golf outings charitable donations and toy drives, Love Holds Life helped raise more than $70,000 for the Montana family and has gone on to help families throughout the region at an average of $25,000 per child.”

“Our mission is to financially assist families whose children are battling cancer,” said Senato. “We want to help to relieve the financial pressure that they’re facing.”

Senato feels that Love Holds Life stands apart from other organizations due to the immediacy of the work that they perform.

“We have a powerful message and mission,” he said. “We do something that most people don’t do, which is take care of people who are battling cancer now. I’m looking to help those that are sick right now – whether it be your brother, your sister, your father or your mother.

As the holiday season approaches, Senato is looking ahead to Love Holds Life’s annual Toy Drive, which will be held on Saturday, December 15th at Lewis Tompkins Hose Company #1 in Beacon, New York. The event, which is officially titled “Cookies & Cocoa with Santa” will feature holiday treats, an array of superheroes and princesses to meet, and plenty of photo ops with Santa himself.

The drive is held each year in memory of Leticia Dos Santos, the eighth child to be sponsored by Love Holds Life, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 15. “She and I started these toy drives about five years ago,” Senato said.

Recently, Senato, in need of a little extra help, has been reaching out to Club Fit for their involvement. A long time member of the Briarcliff location, Senato said that Club Fit’s charitable and family-driven approach make them the perfect ally for Love Holds Life.

“I think they’re great,” he said. “They’re family-run and family-oriented, and they’ve got great staff members who are always smiling and happy and there to help you. I think everything that they stand for is great.”

For Club Fit members and families who are looking to help out with the toy drive, Senato said that boxes will be available at the Briarcliff location. People who wish to donate have until December 7th to bring new and unwrapped gifts ranging from board games to stuffed animals, books, sports equipment and Legos. Senato says that, however little or much each family wants to give, he can guarantee that it will be worth it.

“The kids get so happy and the parents are so grateful,” he said. “It brings people together. And the holidays aren’t just about presents, it’s about coming together. It’s about being happy and joyful. What could be better than that?”

Club Fit Staff Spotlight: Matt Macias

November 19, 2018 by jeanne

Marathon Man

Matt Macias in the  Marathon Man

By Jeremy Brown

Matt Macias’s run at the New York City Marathon turned tragic circumstances into a day of triumph.

It seems that Matt Macias is always running. Between teaching full-time in the South Bronx and working at Club Fit’s Energy Center, he’s perennially on the move. But recently, Macias was running not because he had to, but because he needed to.

Last month, Macias participated in the New York City Marathon, running to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. It was an emotional and challenging run, particularly because the cause is one that is very close to his heart.

“My grandmother was very sick with Alzheimer’s and dementia,” he said. “I was feeling kind of useless in a way. Like there wasn’t anything that I could do. So I decided to try and run and raise money for the cause.”

Macias said that he was inspired to take on the marathon by Chris Becker, another Club Fit employee. Two years ago, Becker ran the Chicago Marathon, raising more than $2,000 for breast cancer research in the process.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Macias said. “So I knew that, if he could do it, I had to one-up him!”

Macias had run a number of half marathons but had yet to actually run a full marathon. The closest he had come was a race in San Diego, but an injury had forced him to walk the course instead. In addition, his training was made more difficult by the fact that his grandmother had passed away.

“Everything was just so tense,” he recalled of that time. “The stress was getting to me physically. I know running probably would have been better for me, but I just couldn’t.”

Luckily, Macias said, he had a built-in support system at Club Fit, with many of his co-workers stepping in to help him out when things became too trying.

“Chris Becker was always there, Angelina Curcio always had my back, Kristen Saffo was also there for me,” he said. “All those people helped me every step of the way. I’m starting to realize that all my friends work at Club Fit!”

On the day of the marathon, the unthinkable almost happened when Macias awoke with a fever of 101 degrees. Determined to compete in spite of his illness, he hauled himself out of bed and hit the pavement. However, about halfway through the race, the fever began to catch up with him, and Macias began having second, and maybe even third, thoughts.

“I actually thought about quitting and started texting people saying, ‘I shouldn’t have done this, I’m too sick to run,’” he said. “But, in my armband, I had my grandmother’s prayer card. So I just took it out and ran with it in my hands the rest of the way. That’s when I knew that I was going to finish.”

Having crossed the finish line and raising more than $4,000 for Alzheimer’s research, Macias said that the whole experience was overwhelming.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “Especially all the support I received from everyone. And not just the friends and family who came to watch, but all the people who were tracking me at home and everyone who helped me raise money for this great cause. And being able to run through the streets of New York City was just insane. There’s nothing quite like it.”

Next up, Macias and Becker plan to run a marathon at Disney World in Orlando, with a course that will take them through all five parks in one day.

“I haven’t started preparing for that one yet,” he said. “I’m giving myself time to recover from the last one. But the physical part isn’t as challenging as the mental part. Once you get to mile 18 and you say to yourself, ‘I still have six more to go!’, that’s when you start questioning what you’re doing.’ But the more you work at it, the easier it gets. Practice makes perfect.”

Club Fit Member Spotlight: Nancy Brophy

September 28, 2018 by jeanne

Nancy Brophy  the member of Club Fit since its earliest days

Stronger Than Ever

By Jeremy Brown


Nancy Brophy has been a member of Club Fit since its earliest days and shows no signs of slowing down!

When Nancy Brophy first came to Club Fit back in 1973, it was a very different place than what it is today. “There were just six tennis courts and you didn’t have to be a member,” she recalled.

As the ’70s gave way to the ’80s, the trend of racquetball began to grow. Brophy, always eager to take on a new challenge, decided to give it a try. “I’d never heard of it, but I like to try anything new,” she said. “So I gave it a go and I’m still playing twice a week!”

Born and raised in Peekskill, Brophy says that she always had a high energy level, most likely inherited from her mother, and has remained active well into her adult years. “I play golf, tennis, and racquetball,” she says. “And I used to ski, although I don’t do that anymore.”

When she’s not playing hard on Club Fit’s racquetball courts (where she can still be found every Tuesday and Thursday), Brophy is working just as hard as the director, owner, and founder of the Tom Thumb Preschool in Mohegan Lake. Brophy founded the school 50 years ago in 1968 when her circumstances forced her to think outside the box.

“I was teaching at Copper Beech Middle School, and I was going to have a baby,” she recalls. “And the laws at that time were when women began to show, they had to take a year off. They couldn’t teach and be pregnant.”

Not wanting to stay idle, Brophy sought out a piece of land owned by her father and decided to start a school.

“I had a year off with nothing to do,” she says with a laugh. “And here I am today!”

During her half-century teaching the children in and around Mohegan Lake, Brophy has seen the kids she once taught grow up and come back to her school to enroll their own children.

“The special part of it is that every day the children are the challenge,” she says of the joys of teaching. “I have a wonderful staff, hundreds of people who’ve worked for me over the years. My teachers and staff make possible my dreams for children come true. I’ve had a great run and I’m still there every day!”

But, she says, “I don’t let anything interfere with racquetball!”

That commitment to her twice-weekly racquetball games is part of Brophy’s philosophy of staying active and keeping oneself in shape. In fact, she is so devoted to that philosophy that she makes physical education a key component of Tom Thumb’s curriculum.

“Even with my four and five-year-olds, I’m teaching them how to hold a racquet and hit the ball against the wall,” she says. “They love to do that. I also try and teach them how to putt. We have some artificial turf where we do putting. Kids should have physical education every day. And I’m afraid for this new generation because they’re not active enough.”

Brophy’s devotion to staying fit is part of what drew her to Club Fit, but it’s not the sole reason she’s remained a member for forty-five years. “It’s a great place to be,” she says simply. “They’re accommodating, the place is immaculate, and they throw wonderful parties for the members! They’ve got a lot of competition, as I do. And they’ve managed to stay afloat and keep getting better.”


Club Fit Member Spotlight: Mark Voeltz

August 30, 2018 by jeanne

Remembering the Fallen
Mark Voeltz is on a mission to honor lost police officers, one name at a time.

By Jeremy Brown

Police officers Mark Voeltz whit USA flag


When Mark Voeltz isn’t working as the owner of Mark’s Towing in Thornwood, he’s patrolling the streets of Fishkill as a member of the Duchess County town’s police department. It’s a difficult and demanding job, and one that Voeltz feels isn’t often given the respect and reverence it deserves. “People don’t realize what we do and the sacrifice we make when we go out every day,” he said. “They don’t know the amount of cops that are killed every year. On average in the United States, one cop gets killed every 53 hours.”

As Voeltz took note of the rising number of police officers killed in the line of duty, he knew that he had to act. “I thought, let me do something for these cops who are getting killed,” he said. “After they’re killed and the funeral is over, no one gives them recognition anymore. They’re making the ultimate sacrifice, so let me give some recognition to these guys.”

In 2016, Voeltz purchased a 2006 Crown Victoria formerly used by the Connecticut State Police and, with the help of volunteers, friends and family, had it decorated with the names of all the fallen police officers since 2015, along with an image of St. Michael, the Policeman’s Prayer, and images of the World Trade Center. Voeltz dubbed the project “Wheels of Honor,” and today the car makes regular appearances at law enforcement funerals, but also at parades, memorial services, and fundraising events. For Voeltz, Wheels of Honor is a way to keep the names and the memories of fallen officers in people’s minds long after the last honor guard shot has been fired. “When it’s all over, two days later, the family is on their own and the recognition is over,” he said. “So I think that, with this car, and having their names on the car, they’ll always be remembered.”

Unfortunately, the original Wheels of Honor car, although it has served Voeltz honorably and well, is growing a bit tired. Purchased used in 2006, the car already had 160,000 miles on it and that number has grown considerably in just two years. As such, with the help of Club Fit, a Casino Night fundraiser is planned at Club Fit Briarcliff on October 12th. Tickets can be purchased for a minimum donation of $25 and 100% of the ticket proceeds will go to the Wheels of Honor foundation to purchase a new car. This event is guaranteed to be filled with a night of fun, hours of “play” gambling, food samplings, music, and prizes! 350 tickets will be available for sale starting on September 1st at either the Reception Desk or Service Desk.

Having the fundraiser at Club Fit is fitting for Voeltz, as he is a long-time member of the club. In fact, he can be found there hitting the weights six days a week. “I’ve been going there for years, and it’s a great club. I usually do a lot of weights, although recently someone pushed me to try out some of the classes as well. But most of the time I’m just training with weights.” A former high school wrestler and football player, Voeltz knows the value of staying in shape. “It’s really important to stay healthy,” he noted. “Especially in my line of work. You can’t afford to be out of shape when you’re a police officer.” And, when it comes to staying healthy, Voeltz says that Club Fit fits all his needs. “It has everything you could want,” he said, “It’s clean, the staff are all professionals It’s just a great place.”

Wizard of Water – Larry Koffer

August 1, 2018 by jeanne

Meet the Wizard of Water

By Jeremy Brown

IMG 1523 e1532959324110 225x300 - Wizard of Water - Larry Koffer

Larry Koffer has been swimming all his life, but his biggest challenge is yet to come.

For Club Fit swimming instructor Larry Koffer, being in the water is just a way of life. “I love swimming,” he says, “and I’ve been doing it all my life, one way or another.”

Born and raised in the Bronx, Koffer began swimming in the Bronx River and was a competitive swimmer in high school and college. “I wasn’t the fastest guy on the team,” he said. “I remember when we’d swim, my coach would use a sundial to time me!” Koffer, however, is just being modest. In fact, he was the Bronx Park Department 100-meter swim champion in 1964.

From swimming in the river to swimming in the pool, Koffer knew that he had found a second home in the water. From then on, he was always trying to find a way to get wet, diving in whenever and wherever he could. When he sold his construction business, the opportunity suddenly presented itself to make swimming a full-time pursuit. “Looking at retirement, I thought, what am I going to do?’” he said. “So I became a Red Cross instructor.”

Koffer’s Red Cross training eventually paved the way for him to become a swimming instructor at Club Fit. At the club, he says that he gets a particular thrill from passing on his love of swimming to people.

“I love teaching people how to swim,” he says. “It’s magical to me. Swimming is an out-of-this-world experience. It’s the perfect exercise and it’s very meditative.”

He says that he really enjoys being able to work with people who aren’t used to being in or around the water and seeing that “moment” when it all clicks for them. “I teach a lot of adults,” he says, “and they haven’t learned how to swim, and they’ve got some anxiety about it. And to get them loosened up and approach swimming as fun, when they get it, it’s like bells go off. Suddenly it all fits.”

Koffer’s enthusiasm and passion for swimming has earned him the nickname “The Wizard of Water.” Although, in the interest of full disclosure, he admits that he is responsible for the moniker.

“On some memo, I signed off as ‘the Wizard of Water,’ and it stuck!” he says, laughing.

After a lifetime of swimming, Koffer is about to undertake his most exciting challenge on the water, a one-mile swim across the Hudson River, from Newburgh to Beacon, on July 28. The swim is a charity event to raise money for the care and maintenance of the River Pool in Beacon. Even more than the challenge of swimming across the Hudson, Koffer is excited about the feeling of unity that comes when a group of swimmers all get together. “I love being on the beach with hundreds of water babies, swimmers who are all loving the water, some are skilled, some are Olympians or near Olympians, national champions,” he said. “But they’re all loving the water, and it’s just like this camaraderie. Some want to swim for a record, some just want to be in the water.”

After crossing the Hudson, Koffer might try for a two-mile swim, he said. But, whatever comes next, he is just grateful for every day in the water. “When I was in junior high school, my best friend’s family had a house on Lake Mahopac, so I came up here 50 years ago,” he said. “And now, to be back here as an adult, living here, swimming in the lake, having wonderful friends…this is perfect.”

Club Fit Member Spotlight: Maria Sanchez

May 29, 2018 by jeanne

Club Fit Member Spotlight: Club Fit’s Tennis Community Comes Together for One of Their Own

A man, e woman and a girl part of Club Fit's Tennis Community

By Lisa Olney

A lot more than winning records, aggressive net play, and plantar fasciitis are cultivated on the tennis court. So are lifelong friendships with people so special that it can be hard to remember a time when they weren’t in your life. Just ask Club Fit member Maria Sanchez from Yorktown, who met some of her best friends on the Club Fit Jefferson Valley and Briarcliff tennis courts almost 25 years ago. Like family, Maria and her tennis friends have shared the celebrations of each other’s milestones along with the despair of life’s tragedies, such as the loss of one of Maria’s four vibrant, accomplished children, Maribel Sanchez Souther to breast cancer in 2016 at the age of 41.

Maribel was a five-year cross country and track star at Yorktown High School, beginning as an eighth grader. She won multiple Section 1 cross country championships and finished fourth at the indoor National Championships at two miles. Maribel attended Dartmouth from 1992-1996, winning several Ivy League titles in Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track, leading the 1996 cross country team to a fifth-place NCAA finish. The first Dartmouth female runner to be an All-American in Cross Country, Maribel ended her collegiate career as a four-time All American. After college, she ran professionally, coached the Hanover High School track team, and returned to Dartmouth as its head cross country coach and assistant track coach. Maribel’s time as a collegian at Dartmouth is credited as the catalyst in rebuilding the women’s track program.

In March of 2014, the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center launched its annual Team Tennis to Smash Cancer fundraising event at Dartmouth’s Boss Tennis Center. Maribel presented her mom with the ultimate of family visits – play in the all-day tennis fundraiser and visit the grandkids – a definite win-win for this 4.0 USTA player. Maria was partnered with an oncologist from the Cancer Center. Little did she know, that just a month later, her new tennis friend would be the oncologist who delivered an unexpected diagnosis to Maribel: Stage 4 breast cancer. Just two and a half short years later, Maribel lost her battle against cancer on December 31, 2016.

The Hanover and Dartmouth community lost an inspiring, joyous, hardworking leader that day, evidenced by her alma mater renaming their invitational, season opening cross country meet to the Maribel Sanchez Souther Invitational. Maria’s closest tennis friends rallied around their dear friend in any way they could. When Maria shared that she was continuing her annual trek to Hanover for the 2017 tennis fundraiser in honor of Maribel just a few months after her passing, Dee Young, Margo Smith, Ginger Canfield, Andrea Oncioiu and Maria Borg packed their tennis bags and joined her in Hanover, forming the team, Maria’s Crew.

Still wondrous that her friends would drive all the way up to Hanover for her, Maria remembers thinking, “It’s too much for them, how can they do it? I was very surprised — not even our family could come up.”

This year, Maria’s crew couldn’t make it to Hanover for the fundraiser so they took the fundraiser to Club Fit, organizing a round robin on Sunday, April 29, from 3pm to 6pm at Club Fit Jefferson Valley that drew 25 women and raised $2,400 for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Dee, Margo, and Ginger organized the event and Kelly Thomann created the format for an easy, fun, and non-competitive round-robin format, ensuring a great format for all skill levels. Maria’s son, Silvio Jr., and granddaughter, Camille, were on hand as well to cheer on this outpouring of love and support from the Club Fit tennis community.

When a last-minute venue change was required, Michael Bratt, Club Fit Jefferson Valley’s Tennis Program Director, accommodated the event and donated three courts for three hours, becoming the event’s knight in shining tennis armor. Michael provided a level of support – before, during, and after the event – beyond the call of duty, exemplifying Club Fit’s mission of supporting their members. “Mike is warm and gracious and always willing to lend a helping hand,” Margo says. “I can’t give Mike enough praise,” adds Dee. “He was so helpful and supportive.” Maria couldn’t agree more with the level of commitment Mike shows to the Jefferson Valley tennis family. “I don’t have words to describe Mike or to thank him for all the things he did. I hope he stays here forever,” says Maria. “We need somebody like that. He’s doing great things for the Club and made sure we were taken care of. He was a lifesaver.”

From graduations to grandmother showers, no other recreational sport creates such opportunities for the development of deep-rooted, lifelong friendships. Years of playing as partners, on season courts, or in the competitive USTA and club leagues, builds strong bonds and a family dynamic. “We all try to have each other’s backs,” explains Margo “and given Maria’s circumstances, there is nothing we’d rather do than be there for her in any way we can.”

Perhaps Margaret Mead said it best when she penned “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Maria Sanchez’ tennis family at Club Fit and beyond embodies this philosophy, and it is clear that their show of solidarity will remain with Maria forever. “I feel that I owe my life to them,” Maria explains. “Even if I can’t help my friends, I can and will help someone else.”

Club Fit Instructors Enter ACE Hall of Fame

April 27, 2018 by jeanne

Three extraordinary women are honored for their commitment to fitness and community.

Three woman smiling, Karen Cornetz, Liz Mallon and Olivia Kapush

By Jeremy Brown

Karen Cornetz, Liz Mallon and Olivia Kapush are three women from different backgrounds who have found themselves all on the same journey. Through years of dance, and health and fitness instruction, each of them found their respective ways to Club Fit. They have thrived as teachers, instructors and members of the community. Club Fit is proud of their achievement with the ACE Hall of Fame, each being certified by the American Council on Exercise for 30+ years.

During the early 1990s, Karen was running her own successful dance studio in Yorktown Heights. But even then, she knew about Club Fit and its reputation for not only offering top-flight fitness, but also for giving back to the community. “That was one of the reasons I wanted to work here,” she said. “Because the club does so much for the community.” In 2001, she joined Club Fit as the Group Fitness Manager, and has been with the club ever since. “Coming here was like coming home,” she said. “Because I knew so much about the club and the reputation it had.”

All three women have been involved in Club Fit’s various community efforts, ranging from Think Fit for Kids to Relay for Life. They’ve also worked hard to form positive, long-lasting relationships with the members. Liz Mallon, who brings to the club an extensive dance back ground, which includes a prestigious Alvin Ailey Scholarship, has earned a reputation as being a strong and supportive teacher who members can turn to when facing all sorts of crisis. “I am passionate about learning, laughing, and teaching what I love,” says Liz. “It is a synergy — I give what I have and in return get back so much more — gratitude, smiles, energy, dedication.  I am truly blessed.” She brings both her dancing and personal skills to the club’s assorted Zumba and Pilates classes. “She’s a real talent,” says Karen. “And she’s very warm, kind and personable. She’s the kind of instructor who really represents what our core values are about.”

Similarly, Olivia Kapush, who came to the club in 2001 after teaching in lower Westchester, has won over many of the members with her excellent teaching style and kind, approachable manner. Kapush got her start teaching aerobics, but has been a spin instructor for the last 18 years. “In spinning, even though we ride as individuals, we come together as a team,” says Olivia. “Members cheer as a new person makes it through their first ride!” “She’s made a lot of friends over the years,” Karen said. “The members always tell her what a difference she’s made for them. Her classes give them something positive to look forward to.”

Now, after so many years of serving the community and the members of Club Fit, all three women have been named to the American Council on Exercise’s Hall of Fame. “We consider it a great honor to be ACE Hall of Famers,” said Karen. “We feel very fortunate to be teaching this long and to continue to be working with Club Fit and its members.

However, as welcomed and appreciated as such accolades are for all three ladies, the real thrill comes each and every day when they step into the studio to begin another class. After so many years of teaching, that thrill hasn’t dissipated and Karen says that she doesn’t see that happening any time soon. “We plan to teach until we can’t do it anymore. It’s a part of us — a joy and a privilege to assist members on their journey to health and wellness.”

Club Fit Staff Spotlight: Clint Hodder

April 3, 2018 by jeanne

Club Fit Staff Spotlight: Clint Hodder, Director of Maintenance & Special Projects

By Lisa Olney

March Madness came early to the Hudson Valley as Mother Nature rained four nor’easters upon the Hudson Valley, backing up Punxsutawney Phil’s unpopular prediction of six more weeks of winter. Winter storm Riley hit the area on Friday, March 2, leaving communities from Briarcliff to Jefferson Valley without power – some for over eight days, including Club Fit Jefferson Valley. Club Fit’s Director of Maintenance and Special Projects, Clint Hodder, and his crew sprang into action assessing damage at both Clubs. Club Fit Jefferson Valley was forced to close while Clint tracked down an industrial strength generator in Connecticut, and his crew worked tirelessly to restore the club to functionality for its members. Down the Taconic, however, Club Fit Briarcliff seemingly dodged a weather bullet, remaining fully operational for members of both clubs – that is until 9:30 p.m., the next night.

On Saturday, Club Fit Briarcliff closed at 9:00 p.m., and the maintenance team – a few men down due to cleanup and repair efforts at Jefferson Valley – began their overnight shifts, readying the Club for the following day. At 9:30 p.m., one of the crew was grooming the courts in the tennis bubble when he heard a loud pop and the ominous sound of a steady rip followed by the sudden listing of the bubble due to a pressure imbalance. As it turned out, Club Fit Briarcliff did sustain a hit from the relentless 60-plus mph wind gusts, and the bubble absorbed a 60-foot tear when an anchor bolt gave way, cutting through the bubble.

Club Fit’s tennis bubbles are nearly indestructible, so the issue was not of the bubble collapsing, but of the growing pressure imbalance within and the still gusting winds which could topple the unbalanced bubble, taking out the fences and damaging the exterior of the Club. Clint, however, had a contingency plan in place, and the call was instantly and decisively made to take the bubble down and wait out the raging winds. The only X factor was time. Nor’easter #2 was due to arrive on Wednesday, promising over a foot of snow.

After the weather stabilized on Sunday, Clint’s hardworking team once again rose to the challenge, surpassing expectations by having the bubble repaired, restored, and cleaned with one court playable by Tuesday evening and the remaining six courts ready for play the following morning. This huge project with an extremely quick timeline included two men heat welding the tear while five others held the material in place, cleaning and drying the bubble and the fixtures within, resurfacing the courts, and checking the electrical and HVAC systems. The dedication and work ethic of Club Fit’s maintenance team is nothing new, but never had it been more on display then during this mad month of March.

“Never doubt the power to accomplish monstrous tasks when a thoughtful, committed group of people work together,” said Club Fit Tennis Director Rodrigo Schtscherbyna. “Getting our bubble fixed and all courts ready for play only a few days after the storm is a major accomplishment, and all parts of our Maintenance Team should be commended for it.”

21 years ago, when Club Fit first decided to install tennis bubbles, David Swope, the Club’s co-founder, did his research and hired Clint, who was an expert and respected professional in tennis court construction and bubble installation, to manage Club Fit’s tennis bubble project. Clint also had a background in exercise physiology, and while living in the City, he worked as a fitness director, helped with the building of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, and ran his own tennis bubble business. It wasn’t long before David and co-founder Beth Beck brought Clint on board as their full-time special projects manager.

“David and Beth gave me the freedom to learn and grow on my own,” Clint recalls of entering the area of health club maintenance and construction. “It wasn’t my field, so I was self-taught, I watched, learned, paid attention, did my own homework. And, I adapted it to this industry.”

David Swope and Beth Beck had an uncanny knack for finding employees who combined specialized expertise with tremendous growth potential. “Our members, particularly tennis players, probably don’t know how lucky they are to have Clint working on our courts and bubbles. He’s one of the most knowledgeable people in the country with regard to tennis court maintenance and bubble procedures,” says Club Fit President Bill Beck. “When other businesses in this industry need help, they are often directed to Clint for troubleshooting by the manufacturers and suppliers, themselves,” explains Bill. “Clint does a great job.”

So, when you are heading to Club Fit for your next tennis clinic or workout rest assured that Clint Hodder and the Club Fit maintenance crew are always hard at work, doing their part to make your Club Fit experience the best it can be.

David Swope

February 22, 2018 by jeanne

Photo of Geoff Thompson that contributed by long time Club Fit member and friend of David

The following is contributed by long time Club Fit member and friend of David, Geoff Thompson, along with David’s family. Here is an insightful look at the life of the pivotal figure in our community’s history. 

David Swope of Ossining, a prominent Westchester environmentalist, philanthropist, community leader and business owner, died Wednesday. He was 76.

Among his many roles he served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Westchester Community College in Valhalla, the Teatown Lake Reservation Environmental Education Center in Ossining, and the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville. As a co-founder of Club Fit health and fitness centers in Briarcliff Manor and Jefferson Valley, he was a pioneer in the development of full service health and fitness membership clubs. He was also the owner of Tappan Hill in Tarrytown, now Abagail Kirsch catering.

Born in Mount Kisco, NY, September 24, 1941, he was the son of David and Sarah (Sally) Porter Swope. He was the third generation of his family to live in the Ossining area. His grandfather, Gerard Swope Sr., was President of General Electric and owned The Croft, a large equestrian-oriented estate which was donated by the family to form the original part of Teatown Lake Reservation.

David, known as Dee to family and friends, graduated from the Scarborough School in Briarcliff Manor and the Loomis School in Connecticut. He was a graduate of Harvard University and earned a law degree from Columbia University.

In the early 1960s he answered President Kennedy’s call and joined the Peace Corps spending two and a half years in India. This proved to be a life-changing experience and forged his life-long interest and love of India and Indian art and culture. It also inspired him to form a legal aid society in Bombay (Mumbai.) Throughout his life he visited India and maintained an extensive network of Indian friends both at home and abroad.

After returning to the U.S., he worked as an attorney in Manhattan, first with the White & Case, and then the Davis Polk law firms. In the late 1970s his father became ill and David moved back to Ossining to assume his business interests which included the Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley Racquet Clubs and Tappan Hill. With his business partner, Beth Beck, they began adding exercise equipment and other facilities to what had been strictly tennis clubs. Over the ensuing decades they continued to expand and modernize the clubs making then among the first full-service clubs of their kind in the region and both clubs remain highly successful today.

As he entered his 60s, David gradually shifted away from his business interests and devoted his time to working with not-for-profit organizations. Throughout his adult life he played a major role in the evolution and growth of Teatown, and he also supported numerous other environmental organizations and programs including the Westchester Land Trust and the Pace University Environmental Center. He spent many years on the Westchester Community College Board including overseeing the search for a new president to succeed long-time president Dr. Joseph Hankin. The effort culminated in the hiring Dr. Belinda Miles, the current President.

He took an early interest in the creation of and growth of the Jacob Burns Film Center and as board chairman worked to support the major expansion and outreach of its educational programming. He also served on the boards of the Ossining Children’s Center and Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, and offered generous financial support to numerous other groups and organizations.

In addition to living in Westchester, from childhood David loved both short and long stays at his mother’s family’s ancestral cottage at Wauwinet on Nantucket where he welcomed guests and friends from back home as well as Nantucket. He supported land preservation efforts on the island and various non-profit organizations.

David traveled extensively having visited every continent and he had friends across the nation and the globe.

He is survived by his sister, Dorothea (Dorry) Swope, by many cousins and by hundreds of friends. Funeral services will be private. Those interested in making contributions in David’s memory are asked to consider Teatown Lake Reservation, Westchester Community College, the Jacob Burns Film Center or a worthy organization of their choice.

Club Fit Staff Spotlight: Pam Rotando

January 26, 2018 by jeanne

Club Fit Staff Spotlight: Pam Rotando: 32 Years & Full Speed Ahead

By Lisa Olney

Pam Rotando, Club Fit Director of Communications

When Pam Rotando walked across the stage at Fordham University in a cap and gown, she carried with her a range of interests, on a foundation of passion and energy. All she needed was a job offer that would combine her love of sports, the outdoors, her inherent drive for self-improvement and her natural leadership ability. All of these traits had been apparent to her bosses in the part-time summer job she held at Club Fit Jefferson Valley, working in the Café and helping with tennis court maintenance as she worked toward her degree.

Graduating from Fordham in 1986 with a degree in communications, Pam reached out to Club Fit, who had just opened its Briarcliff location, for work while looking for that first full-time job. Club Fit recognized in Pam someone they wanted to keep on their team and offered her the full-time position of Reception manager — also working with tennis programming. This month Pam will celebrate her 32nd anniversary as a full-time member of the Club Fit team.

In addition to that first position as Reception Manager, Pam has worked as a Membership Sales Representative, Member Services Director and in her current position as Club Fit Communications Director in which she manages membership communication, database management, and manages club marketing projects. She has developed a diverse skill set, effective management style, and leadership qualities throughout her steadfast career at Club Fit, a feat that many in today’s job-hopping workforce feel is only attainable by switching companies every few years. Pam’s 32nd anniversary exemplifies the unique longevity and supportive environment that Club Fit has always provided.

“I am very fortunate and grateful for the opportunities that Bill Beck and Ellen Koelsch have given me. I was able to grow with the organization,” explains Pam. “The basic philosophies that were established when David Swope and Beth Beck started Club Fit in 1973, are still the core values that Bill and Ellen instill in us today; to help people maintain good health and wellness and to live a healthy life. It’s just a wonderful place for members and staff.”

Raised in Yorktown Heights, Pam grew up in an athletic family playing volleyball and softball, biking, and sailing at their family home in Cape Cod — a place that is still her haven. While at Yorktown High School, Pam discovered her passion for tennis and went on to play doubles for the Fordham Lady Rams. Pam continues her passion for tennis, while managing to play on the club courts in the morning. No stranger to tennis facilities around the region, she also says that Club Fit’s year-round tennis facilities are terrific and among the best she’s played at.

Pam lives near the Ossining Riverfront, and when not playing tennis, she loves biking, hiking, and sailing. Her favorite local trails are the Ossining-Croton loop along the Riverfront as well as the North County Trailway that runs directly behind Club Fit Briarcliff. She often takes advantage of the North County “rail trail” and says it’s literally one of the nicest that she has seen. Pam has also joined friends for 50-mile bike tours around the Eastern United States and looks forward to training toward another tour in the future. Her other outdoor passion is sailing, and while she acknowledges the undeniable beauty of the Hudson River, she prefers open water sailing. Among her favorite spots have been sailing the Atlantic off of Cape Cod and Newport, as well as the Caribbean Sea. “Any chance I have to get on a boat, I am on a boat,” she laughs.

Growing up with a grandfather who was a violinist and a father who introduced her to the free-spirited magic of both jazz and Frank Sinatra, Pam is an aficionado with eclectic musical tastes and a collection to match. One of her favorite trips was to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and her last concert was the Dave Matthews Band.

After 32 years at Club Fit, Pam feels there probably is not much about her that her Club Fit family doesn’t already know. However, some lesser-known fun facts about Pam are that she is an amateur outdoor landscape photographer — a hobby she picked up in high school. And, while she’s not a huge traveler, her new goal is to see as much of the United States as possible, including the National Parks. A couple of years ago, she took one of her two favorite trips to visit Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Besides traveling the country, what does the future hold for our Club Fit extraordinaire? “I see Club Fit continuing to be a very important part of my life,” says Pam, “and hopefully, someday I’ll retire near the water — maybe Cape Cod.”


To Keep You Inspired:

November 27, 2017 by jeanne

 Marie Senno & Barbara Dellicurti: Zumba-ing for a Cause….

by Lisa Olney

Two young women they are Group Fitness instructors Barbara Dellicurti and Marie Senno

The Club Fit philosophy is all about empowering its members, its staff, and the community to be the change they’d like to see – whether in the world or in their own health and fitness journeys. Group Fitness instructors Barbara Dellicurti and Marie Senno have perfected this philosophy by merging their passions for fitness and philanthropy, touching many lives along the way.

Marie has been a fan-favorite on the Group Fitness schedule since 2013. Using her lifelong love of dance, she brings a distinct motivational style to her Club Fit classes, which include Booty Barre, Sculpt, 20/20/20, Pilates, and Piloxing (a cardio fusion of standing Pilates, boxing and dance). Barbara has been a Zumba instructor at Club Fit since September of 2016 and also teaches kids’ yoga. Her energy and happy feet are infectious, making her classes a can’t miss option for Zumba veterans and newcomers, alike. Her early morning Sunday class draws both early birds as well as night owls still yawning as they enter the Studio. Recognizing the early hour, after class Barbara will ask, “So who’s sorry they came?” Her students laugh and readily acknowledge that they never regret coming to class. Waking up early and dancing the morning away with a full-body workout makes them feel proud for staying committed to their fitness goals.

Marie and Barbara first met at a small exercise studio five years ago. They instantly recognized in one another the same effervescent energy, commitment to health and fitness, and the need to help others. Since that day, they have been devoted to making the world a better place, one charity event at a time. “Our energy together gets things done – we support each other and feel so blessed to give back to the community,” explains Marie. “We haven’t known each other forever, but we are forever friends. Forever moving forward together – helping people in need.”

Marie and Barbara organize approximately four fundraisers a year for causes such as the American Heart Association, local animal rescue organizations, breast cancer research, local food pantries, Toys for Tots, and disaster relief. This September, after watching Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact on Puerto Rico, Barbara and Marie knew that they needed to act.  “In October, our focus is usually breast cancer, but this year we felt that Puerto Rico was on everyone’s minds and hearts and decided that should be our focus,” recalls Barbara. It is the first year that Club Fit has served as the venue for one of their philanthropic events, and the level of support was overwhelming. The two were moved not only by Club Fit’s assistance, but also the way in which the Club Fit membership embraced the opportunity to make a difference. In the end, members raised over $2,500 for hurricane relief efforts at the October Zumbathon for Puerto Rico.

With frosty temps and a chill in the air, Marie offers the perfect complement to a winter workout with her sage and sincere advice, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” On Friday, December 8th, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Club Fit Jefferson Valley, the dynamic duo invites you to do just that as they kick off the holiday season with their Toys for Tots Zumbathon. Collection boxes will be at the event and will also be at the Club for a few days afterward for those who would like to support the toy drive by bringing an unwrapped, new toy to brighten the holidays for those less fortunate. “This is our way of giving back,” explains Barbara. “It is also a way of thanking the members for their generosity with a great, holiday-themed Zumba class led with our fellow Zumba instructors.”

The Hiking Club

October 30, 2017 by jeanne

two montain with the text Hiking club and the club fit logo

By Lisa Olney

Balancing the 24-7 responsibilities of everyday life while taking time for oneself can be as elusive as catching a cloud, and, often, the first casualties of this struggle are one’s own health, fitness, and sense of serenity. Experienced hiking leaders and Club Fit Jefferson Valley members Peter Meskin, Andrew Stein, and Michael Capsuto have the antidote, however, and it’s the longstanding Club Fit Hiking Club that has traversed the trails of the Hudson Valley for over two decades. A free activity for Club Fit members and their guests, hikes range from easy to challenging, and the only prerequisites are good physical condition, hiking boots, and a sense of adventure. The ability to combine exercise with the natural wonders of the Hudson Valley has never been easier … or more fun!

Peter Meskin is a former New York City high school English teacher whose innate gift for teaching earned him several awards for innovation in teaching his students desktop publishing in the days when computers were practically unheard of in the classroom. His inspiring teaching style still touches everything he does, whether in a classroom or in the great outdoors. The hiking bug first bit Meskin as a child growing up in Brooklyn, and as a young man, he went on day hikes with the American Youth Hostels hiking club throughout the Hudson Valley. Later, as a member of the Westchester Trails Hiking Club and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), he became a hiking leader and received extensive training from the AMC at the 1,800-acre Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill. Not limited to dry land, however, Meskin was also a sailing instructor for the New York Sailing School on City Island, received his Coast Guard Captain’s license, and had his own charter boat business in the British Virgin Islands. His hobbies also include sculpting in wood and stone along with photography, and he and his wife, Diane, volunteer at a humane society animal shelter and Guiding Eyes for the Blind where they foster puppies to help socialize the potential guide dogs at a young age.

22 years ago, Club Fit Jefferson Valley reached out to Meskin about creating a hiking club, and it was about this time that Meskin met fellow Club Fit member Andrew Stein. Another avid hiker who grew up in the Bronx, Stein has hiked all over the country including Alaska and the Rockies, and as a videographer he has documented some of his favorite experiences. Encouraged by friends to share his local hiking experiences, Stein decided to look into starting a hiking club. As if Mother Nature herself introduced these two, their meeting couldn’t have happened at a better time. “Andrew is a caring and engaged hiking leader and has hiked the local trails since he was a boy,” says Meskin. “He shares his vast knowledge of local history and lore with the hikers, and his friendly dog Molly accompanies him on the trails, greeting all of the hikers and giving them even more reasons to smile. Andrew has been very important to the success of the hiking club.”

Hand-picked from within the hiking club, Club Fit’s third hiking leader is Michael Capsuto, a Yorktown resident who has been hiking since childhood. Capsuto discovered the hiking club 10 years ago, and his vast knowledge of area trails along with his Red Cross certifications in adult first aid/CPR/AED make him a valued addition as a hike leader. “Michael has an intimate knowledge of the trails from many years of hiking with the Club Fit Hiking Club and on his own,” says Meskin. “He is a caring and compassionate person who only wants the best for our members.”

Meskin, Stein, and Capsuto all combine working out at Club Fit with their outdoor exercise routines and agree that daily exercise is the key to staying healthy. They can often be found in the cardio area on the treadmills and elliptical machines or in the strength training area using equipment like the FitLinxx circuit. “I’ve been working out at Club Fit since the 1980s,” says Meskin. “They are constantly reinventing themselves, integrating new exercise strategies and programs to keep everyone involved and motivated.” Combine that with the physical and mental benefits of hiking, and the result is a full mind-body workout that spells balance with a capital B.

The Club Fit Hiking Club is always ready to welcome newcomers and familiar faces, alike. Hikes take place all year long, ranging from easy to challenging. No sign-up is required, and as part of the Club Fit membership, all hikes are free to members and their guests. The next two hikes are November 4th at Teatown with a Teatown naturalist and November 12th at the Fahnestock Park Appalachian Trail.  To view a Hiking Club photo montage from Hike Leader Andrew Stein. Happy hiking!

Dryland & Kids Conditioning October 2017 Athletes

October 14, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear


Dryland Athlete of the Month: Marina Wheeler

The girl Marina Wheeler practicing exercises
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Marina Wheeler

Marina showed up this session raring to go! As it is her first year in Dryland I was unfamiliar with her and her abilities. She quickly demonstrated her athleticism and desire to excel. Marina is a strong runner, eager to learn and dedicated to take new drills to their limit. She encourages her teammates and always is a pleasure to work with. Keep on rocking Marina!




Most Improved Dryland Athlete: Madeline Wolin

The girl Madeline Wolin practicing exercises
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Madeline Wolin

This is Madeline’s first year in the Dryland program. She showed up on day one eager to start. Her enthusiasm and energy is apparent and she always is looking to improve at the drills given to her. Madeline works hard and seems to enjoy everything she does. She will ask how to perform better with something that might be new for her and always comes from a place of determination and desire to excel. She has made marked improvements in a short period of time and I’m thrilled to watch as she continues to blossom. Way to go Madeline!






To Keep You Inspired: Katherine Stern

September 25, 2017 by jeanne

Club Fit Member Katherine Stern practicing kayak

To Keep You inspired….. Club Fit Member Katherine Stern

By Lisa Olney

Days before embarking on the July 9, 2016, 31-mile Manhattan Kayak Circumnavigation, known as “The Circ”, 67-year old Club Fit member Katherine Stern received a diagnosis that would send her into unchartered waters:  early-stage breast cancer.  No one would have faulted her for pulling out of The Circ, but for Katherine kayaking offered a spiritual solitude in which to think, to clear one’s mind, and to take charge.  And 31 miles cutting through the currents of the Hudson and East Rivers provided her with the best therapy for what lay ahead.

Two days after completing The Circ, Katherine had a lumpectomy. “I consider myself one of the lucky ones because of early detection,” Stern says.  When her oncologist explained the diagnosis, prognosis, and everything in between, Katherine interrupted, simply asking, “Is it going to kill me?”  “No,” was her doctor’s answer. “Then I don’t want to bother with details” Katherine replied.  “Just tell me when and where to go.”  Chemotherapy began in August – every three weeks in four-hour sessions through February 2017 – followed by a six-week daily course of radiation.

While Katherine was strong and fit heading into her treatment program, the chemo and radiation robbed her of her strength and vitality making her feel like a prisoner in her own body.  After each chemo treatment, she would have ten days of extreme sickness and fatigue that worsened over the course of her treatment.  “Within months, I was an old lady, and as the months went on, those 10 days got worse and worse,” Katherine remembers.  “Food was difficult, and I could only seem to handle white foods – things that I had never kept in my house before.” With no energy, Katherine gained 40 pounds and remembers it as being a very isolating time.

Her treatments ended in mid-April, and Katherine was ready to take back her body.  Her doctor recommended Club Fit’s Help RX program, a physician-referred exercise program designed to ease patients back into exercising. A discounted three-month membership program, Help RX features personalized attention from Fit Coaches in order to set goals and achieve lifestyle changes.  To ease her re-entry into an active lifestyle, Katherine traveled to a yoga and boot camp spa in Mexico. “I had no idea how young everyone was going to be there, but I thought I would just go for it,” she laughs.  “It was the start of taking control of my body.”   Upon returning home, she began her Club Fit Help RX program, with a dual goal in mind: to regain her strength and to complete the 2017 Circ on July 15.

At the gym five days a week, Katherine’s workout included strength training, treadmill, and a Pilates class.  A fitness level that was once in her wheelhouse, however, was now difficult to recall – especially in Pilates.  But with the help of Club Fit’s Fit Coaches, instructors, and her laser-like drive, she stuck with it.  Everyone she encountered at Club Fit made her feel like she could reach her goals. “Eric, one of my Fit Coaches, treated me as if I was a regular person, but 20 years younger,” she recalls.  “He was no-nonsense with a sense of humor and would always say, ‘You can do it!’  He sensed that this was really important to me, and once I was at Club Fit, I knew I could do it.“  After just a couple months, her fitness level soared.  She could not only handle the Pilates class, but her goal of the 2017 Circ, became a reality on July 15 as she lowered her kayak into waters of the Hudson under unusually ideal weather conditions.

Today, Katherine has lost 28 pounds, kayaks on the weekends, is at the gym four days a week, but most importantly, she is cancer free.  Strength training remains her favorite activity and she still catches up on CNN while on the treadmill.  “I feel strong again and that’s my way of being in control of my body.”  Katherine continued her Club Fit membership after the three-month prescription period due to the supportive atmosphere throughout the Club. “I would never have considered coming to Club Fit without the Rx program, and I probably would have gone back to my old club,” says Katherine.  “It would have been a totally different experience, because I would have had no motivation to work on the equipment.  But at Club Fit, I knew that working on the circuit would help me to regain my strength, and this was the key.”

Owner of Katherine Stern Design, Katherine is an interior designer and stager.  She also volunteers with the Northern Westchester Hospital Cancer Wellness Center in Mt. Kisco and is the driving force behind promoting a lesser known cancer therapy option called Cold Capping, a method that prevents hair loss by freezing hair follicles. If she could impart any wisdom to her friends and the Club Fit community it would be to get annual mammograms.  “You’ve got to get regular mammos,” says Katherine.  “There is no history of cancer of any kind in my family, but I’ve always been very good at getting regular mammograms.  And, then they found something.”

Thanks to early detection, Katherine is now spending her weekends kayaking around local lakes, rivers and the Eastern Seaboard.  If you’re out in the Hyde Park area along the Hudson this October and see any kayakers, give a wave, because there’s a good chance one of those kayakers just may be our own Katherine Stern.