New fitness center opens on Camp Kinser

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa
The military prides itself in taking care of family members, and sometimes it takes a family member to help make it happen.
That was case with the recently opened family fitness center at Camp Kinser.
“It’s not one of the largest facilities. But it is the only family fitness center offered on a Marine Corps installation. That’s a pretty big deal,” said Ruth Euler, a Marine Corps spouse who had the honor of helping cut the ribbon with members of Marine Corps Community Services during the center’s Oct. 13 opening ceremony.
Although Euler is not part of MCCS, she was a part of the opening ceremony because the family fitness center was her brainchild.
When she arrived on Okinawa with her family three years ago, she quickly noticed a need for a facility to that accommodates parents’ and children’s workout needs.
“I just discovered a need for the young families. Because for me, it’s more than just about getting in exercising,” Euler said. “It’s providing an opportunity for young families who may be missing home and feeling isolated.
“There are so many physical and emotional benefits to getting out of your home and going to a place where you are actively moving and physically getting stronger. But at the same time, meeting other people,  said the Marine Corps spouse.
Euler did more than come up with an idea. She did the legwork and homework.
It took a lot of market research, she said, explaining there were many hurdles, starting with restrictions and money. She had to convince the MCCS and Marine Corps that there would be a real value to the facility. So, she made her case by collecting information, piece by piece.
She connected with groups such as Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), and conducted surveys asking if people would use the facility. She consulted with the Naval Hospital to show the benefits the facility can bring to the Marine Corps community. A friend of hers, who was a Marine Corps colonel, advised her on how to present the information.
She heard “no” several times, but kept pushing. And the “no” eventually turned to “yes.”
And now, families have a comfortable place to work out and connect with others.
“It is a beautiful facility, and everything is brand new,” Euler said proudly. “It has cardio equipment like treadmills, universal pieces of equipment that you can do several different weight resistance exercises on, free weights, adjustable benches, as well as mats if you want to do stretching or abdominal core work.”
And while the parents are working out, they can still keep an eye on their children in a play area in the next room, which is separated by a plexiglass see-through wall.
“MCCS provided little table and chairs, books and toys,” Euler said. “There is also a television mounted on the wall with kids’ programming.”
Euler believes the facility is a good place for those who want to connect with others, but are scared to join a club.
“Think of this as an opportunity to go in, be autonomous at first, but know there are opportunities to really make some deep connections with folks who have similar experiences,” she said with a smile. “In addition to getting physically stronger, they really have the opportunity to grow in some other ways and develop some deep bonds with people who become family.”
Location: Next to Kinser Fitness Center (Bldg. 1307) 
Hours: Mon - Fri: 4 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Sat, Sun, Holidays: 4 a.m. - 11 p.m.
DSN: 637-1114

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