Change is hard. But also inevitable. After over 45 years of being a fitness center for the community, Omni/Omni 41/Omni 41 Fitness Center/Franciscan Health Fitness Centers (well, you get the idea) will be closing for it’s final time on December 4, 2021. Before Crossroads YMCA moves in to continue the tradition of assisting in the health and wellness of our Lake County residents, we asked several members and staff what were their favorite memories about “the Club” and here’s what they had to say:
"The best part about the Club will always be the people! Member and Staff were the spirit of the Club...bricks and mortar don’t really matter. I am confident the YMCA will fill programming and service needs to our Members just as they are used to. Thanks for the memories!" - Marci Crozier, former Administrative Director Health Promotions, Franciscan Health Fitness Centers Schererville
"My greatest memory of Omni is of all the lasting relationships I was able to build with so many people that I still have today. Omni and its members were a family. I am still friends with many of those people today." - Tom Bainbridge, former Programs Supervisor, Franciscan Health Fitness Centers Schererville
Most fond memories of the Club always involve the handball tournaments for me. Whether a tournament or a pick-up match, the camaraderie/competition while getting a great workout was always the best part of the day!" - Dave Dohman, Handball Ambassador, Franciscan Health Fitness Centers Schererville
"I’ll never forget my first time working with Evelyn on day shift. I admired the connection she had with the members, HER members. Our interactions with members might be short and quick but Ev never skipped a beat! And I thought—how can I ever get to that level and be like her? She was more than a staff member of the Service Desk and more like an extended family member to those members. When Ev passed away, our hearts were broken and I knew I had to step up to the plate. They were mighty big shoes to fill but, over time, the connections I made with these members that are ones I’ll never forget! I looked forward to work everyday knowing that I would encounter these members who had turned into MY extended family. We’ve laughed and we’ve cried and I’m forever grateful for the memories! “Ohana means family, family means nobody is left behind or forgotten.” I’ll never forget my memories of Omni and all that have touched my heart in my 10+ years employment." - Melissa Hinshaw, former Customer Care Associate, Franciscan Health Fitness Centers Schererville
"I’ve been a member for 37 years and have made so many friends here and the staff has always been so friendly and nice to all of us. I go in 5-6 times a week and use it to get out of the house and stay healthy. I loved volunteering with the race, racquetball tournaments and Open Houses. Our Chicago Bulls’ Swinging Seniors group practiced at the Club and many were members of Omni. We started with the 41+ Luncheon in the 1980’s and some of us have even started a birthday club, as well. It’s been a great place to make friends and I am going to miss the instructors and staff who are leaving." - Louise Brandys, Member, Franciscan Health Fitness Centers Schererville
My greatest memory… When I decided to make a lifestyle change and ultimately lose 75 pounds I wanted to be an inspiration to others. I sought out a job that would let me do that, and I came across Omni Health and Fitness. After 16 years in the hair industry I changed my career path and I started working at Omni, March 2014. Less than a week before my first day on the job, I discovered I was pregnant. I had a couple losses in the past, and not sure if it would ever happen. However, becoming a more healthy person I was able to carry to term and we were blessed with our son. After having our son, I was able to come back to work part time and spend those precious baby years at home with him. I will be forever grateful to Omni for giving me the opportunity to work here for 7 and a half years, and for blessing me with some amazing connections with staff, and members that have come through my office. - Jennifer Dudzik, former Membership Coordinator, Franciscan Health Fitness Centers Schererville
Over the years, we’ve saved lives by providing a great foundation for health and wellness but also literally saved lives by being trained and ready for a crisis. Some of our sweetest memories include the opportunity to be a “family” for our Members by celebrating their return to the Club after they have fallen ill and recovered. And, celebrating the birthdays of several of our active 90+ year olds! Testimony in itself as to how important exercise is to us all! For many, memories of the parties, bus trips to ball games and events, volleyball tournaments, and endless games of tennis would rank in the favorites.
For the record, my favorite days have been the Tuesdays we have the 41+ Luncheon. The Club seems to come alive on those days with old and new members, their excitement showing with smiling faces and happy greetings. I loved seeing the regulars including Louise, Dee, Dottie, Eddie and Bob and Joanne (and many more!) and to see who had bravely signed up and were coming for the first time. The day was designated for lunch and Bingo but ended up being a celebration of each other’s birthdays, sharing of recipes and the showing off grandchildren’s pictures. Best day of the month! Best Club in the Region!
Compiled and edited by Amy Baxter, Programs Specialist, Schererville Location