Carson recreation department ending longtime fitness programs
Jerry Vance, a fitness instructor for the Carson City Recreation Department for 34 years, has been given notice that her contracts will not be renewed.
Vance said she has until the end of January to wind down her 16 weekly classes.
“It just doesn’t seem right to turn people away from functioning classes. I’m just so frustrated, I’ve turned it over to my attorney,” Vance said. “They’re within their legal rights to cancel contracts, but I’m out of the legal loop. All I want to do is teach the classes.”
Recreation Director Roger Moellendorf said the department wants to open the door to new fitness opportunities for the community and will seek proposals, which Vance is also welcome to submit.
“One of the Board of Supervisors’ goals is to have an actively engaged and healthy community, so we decided it was time to take a look at how we could improve the services we provide through the recreation department,” Moellendorf said.
He said the hope is that they will receive proposals for more diverse classes that appeal to a wider segment of the population.
“The goal is to get more people into the facilities with the result of having more healthy people. We’re hoping to get some new ideas,” he said.
Vance teaches the Sweat Shop, a one-hour co-ed fitness program providing aerobics, Pilates and yoga, 13 times a week at the Community Center. She also teaches Wet Sweat, a water fitness program, three nights a week at the Carson Aquatic Center.
Vance said each class averages 12-16 participants.
Charlotte Schmidt, 66, has been attending Sweat Shop every day for the past seven years.
She said the class includes people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, but younger people come in at night or during their lunch hours.
“Some people in our class have been coming for 25 years. We have two people who are cancer survivors who are there every day. And it’s helped me to feel good. I love it, and I feel cheated if I don’t go for some reason,” Schmidt said.
“It’s a public recreation facility and they’re making it so we can’t use it. Where else can we go and get aerobics for $18 a month? Nobody has complained, so why do they need to change something that’s good? Why try to fix something that’s not broken?” she said.
Moellendorf said he is aware that some people aren’t happy with the recreation department decision.
“We are cognizant that she has a small but very loyal group of people who think her classes are worthwhile and find value there. We’re just hoping to offer classes that will appeal to more people,” he said.
Vance said she feels frustrated for herself as well as her students.
“I’m 70 years old, and I’m tired of fighting,” she said. “I also teach at the senior center and at an assisted living center. I’ve taught in schools and at the hospital. I’m teaching people’s grandchildren now. It’s not just retirees – there are a lot of young people in my classes, too.”
Schmidt said class members have a signed petition they plan to take to the board of supervisors protesting the decision to cancel Vance’s classes and requesting that her contracts be renewed.