A club with a focus on fitness

AlIcia Swenhaugen (LEFT) and Denise Clouse are the driving force behind Sanford’s Fit Club. Photo / Per Peterson

Editor’s Note: In late August 1961, the Tracy Municipal Hospital was added to the city’s landscape. Today, Sanford Tracy is preparing to honor the hospital’s history by highlighting the present as its 60th anniversary nears. In conjunction with Sanford Tracy, the Tracy Area Headlight Herald this week continues a four-part series that focuses on the progress the medical center has made over the last decades, as well as the dedicated work its employees have done during the pandemic.

This week: Sanford Fit Club

Sanford Tracy Fit Club works with schools on promoting good habits

By Per Peterson

From medicine to technology, the world of health care has changed in ways too numerous to count over the last              60 years.

It’s no different at Sanford Tracy, and two Sanford employees have, for the last five years, been a part of a special kind of change.

Denise Clouse and Alicia Swenhaugen have gladly adopted the title of the “Fit Ladies” for the work they’ve done through the Sanford Fit Club to promote good habits among the younger generation in both the Tracy Area Public Schools and Westbrook-Walnut Grove school districts.

The women took Sanford’s fitness program, called Sanford Fit, and have customized it on a local level. Over the last five years, the pair has built a strong relationship with young students in an effort to teach them about good habits that will foster better health in the future.

“When I first started six-and-a-half years ago (Sanford) had just finished a community health needs assessment,” said Clouse, community liaison for Sanford Tracy. “Every three years we do surveys to get an idea of what the community sees as needs, related to health care and other things. That survey brought up a need for community-type programs related to health care, especially with children.”

Clouse said the fitness program is a perfect example of how the world of health care has changed over the years, going from treating a person with certain symptoms, to trying to protect them. She said hospitals are, in some respects, going from treating what is wrong with people, to being preventative and doing the things that will prevent them from having to be treated.

“We’ll be here when you are sick, but we also want you to do what you can to stay away,” Clouse said. “It really has started to turn. I think preventative medicine is where this is going. Putting these programs into place will continue to be a goal of ours.”

Before integrating the program into local schools, Sanford’s fit program was being done through an online platform for schools and daycares, and it wasn’t heavily promoted. After some time had passed, it was decided that the program should be brought to kids in more of a first-hand, personal way. That’s where Clouse, Swenhaugen and the Fit Club comes in.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.