Sunshine Gang is free program for the YMCA senior members

Goal is to create sense of community for senior population


 Participants in the Sunshine Gang experience a strong sense of belonging and create a network of friends who provide support for sustained health and well-being.

Through on-going, fun, safe, and engaging programs, Sunshine Gang members build relationships and increase self-confidence while celebrating the successes of each member of their community.

“At the YMCA, we’ve made the physical health and fitness of our seniors a top priority,” Kyle Goff, YMCA chief executive officer said. The Sunshine Gang Program will shift the focus to a more comprehensive view of the overall well-being of our seniors. Through events and activities, we hope to provide social interaction, camaraderie, and psychological safety.”

Monthly senior socials include seminars, lunch and learn, tours of local businesses, games, pickleball, out to lunch, field trips, movies, coffee and donuts, and more.

Nina Weston, fitness and wellness director, said her goal is to create a sense of community for the senior population, in White County.

“I hope that we can create a sense of belonging here,” she said. “For some of our seniors, this is their social life, and I love that we can provide that for them. Many of our members don’t have family nearby. Some have retired and moved away from the homes and friends they developed over the past 40-plus years. We are here for them.”

Goff said many health insurances have programs in place to pay for gym memberships for their members.

“Silver and Fit is a program offered through BlueCross BlueShield that pays for a senior member YMCA membership,” he said and explained this is simply among the benefits included with the insurance coverage. “Just like they cover your doctor visit or hospital stay, they cover your membership here at the YMCA.”

Goff said United Healthcare also has similar programs.

In addition, Sparta-White County YMCA has its own program, Open Doors, that can provide scholarship assistance for memberships.

“If a senior is looking for a YMCA membership, all they need to do is come and talk with member services myself,” Goff said. “We can help with the online registration and insurance paperwork to get them set up so that they can take full advantage of their healthcare benefits and begin participating in the programs offered to help them stay active and healthy.”

Weston explained, “Right now, Sunshine Gang is only available to YMCA members, but we are working on our next phase which would open these actives up to the broader public.”

For more information, call the YMCA at (931) 836-3330, email, or visit


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