Westside Community Center can finally open fitness room

       From the time Woodmen Valley Chapel began operating the Westside Commun-ity Center in April 2010, a slew of fitness equipment sat unused in a locked classroom.

With the Westside Community Center fitness equipment in the background, Jessica Hickman, the new facility's first-time supervisor, shows she's ready to "put up her dukes" to get it open to the public.
Westside Pioneer photo

       As Westside director Dick Siever explained it, Woodmen had hoped to add a fitness area to the center's amenities but could not afford a certified fitness instructor (needed because of liability concerns).
       At last, an epiphany has taken place. Jessica Hickman, an instructor from the Denver area, was seeking low-cost space for a fitness business she recently took over in the Springs; also, she has experience working with at-risk kids, which fits another aspect of the Community Center's mission.
       “It provides us with a new, free service for people who want to use the center,” Siever said. “We think it is a very reasonable solution, and she comes to us with a really nice background.”
       The room is in the middle building (1620 W. Bijou St.) of the three that make up the Community Center. The equipment is a mix of what the center originally had, what people have since donated and what Hickman has brought in.
       She plans to have the room open Saturday, Dec. 3 as part of the Community Center's free public health fair from 1 to 3 p.m.
       Hickman's deal with Woodmen is to supervise during the 10 hours a week that the room will be open to the public. In exchange, at other times, she gets free use of the space for her business, in which she offers classes and personal fitness training.
       “Doors opened,” Hickman said happily, of the arrangement. “It also lets me work with young kids. That's another passion for me.” During her supervising time, she explained, she'll seek to “encourage people to meet fitness goals and show them how not to hurt themselves.”
       In her training classes, she works with men and women of all ages, focusing on what she terms “whole person health” (including meals and lifestyles).
       Hickman is particularly interested in “empowering women and helping them not only physically, but emotionally, socially, mentally and spiritually,” she said. This is reflected in the name of her business: 31:17 Training. The number refers to the Bible's Book of Proverbs, which includes a set of verses describing the characteristics of a “virtuous woman.” 31:17 addresses physical strength.
       Age 26, Hickman had the option of working at a fitness chain in Denver, but decided “my heart wasn't in it… I love the old community center idea, to build community and support systems.”
       Not yet sorted out this week were which hours the fitness room will be available for the public and which for her business.
       For more information, call the center at 385-7920 x100 or Hickman at 377-2348.

Westside Pioneer article