For the past six years through the office of Athletics and Extended Learning, a membership from the ASF community and partners has been growing. The Recreational Membership program provides current ASF employees and their families, parents of actively enrolled students, former employees, alumni, ABC hospital employees and US embassy employees access to high quality weight and cardiovascular rooms, a semi-Olympic swimming pool and locker rooms, and 350-meter track. Equaling some of the best gyms in the city, the facilities at ASF are top notch. Robert Wilson, Head of Athletics and Extended Learning explains, “Because the pool and fitness room are commercial standard, our community enjoys facilities that are second to none in a K-12 school environment. These facilities give our athletes the tools to train at a high level and our other community members to stay in good condition throughout the school year.”
The swimming pool, the run/walking track and the weight and cardiovascular rooms which are located in the Jenkins Foundation Wellness Center (WEC) are pivotal assets to the ASF community. When previewing the campus to new employees or potential families considering enrolling, these are certainly amenities that attract.
The pool is a semi-Olympic pool spanning 25 meters. It boasts eight lanes with eight diving platforms. When the pool is open, it is supervised by trained and licensed life guards. The track, located on the Upper Field, in 350 meters surrounds the football/soccer field. It has four lanes merging into three and is constructed of solid polyurethane. This withstands weather and provides an easier running platform than asphalt tracks. If swimming and running outside is not enough, the WEC, which opened in 2012, highlights an extensive weight room and cardiovascular room available to members during assigned hours. The weight room hosts rows of dumbbells, stacks of free weights, lines of exercise benches and racks, two brands of strength circuit machines and so much more to meet the needs of the novice to the seasoned athlete. The cardiovascular room is adjacent to the weight room. Ellipticals and rowing machines and a row of Life Fitness treadmills are on one side overlooking the Middle School Field. While at the opposite side overlooking the basketball court, stands a row of stationary bikes.
The Recreational Membership is open to ASF students and current staff as a benefit at no cost. For parents of current students, family members of faculty and staff, former staff, alumni, and US embassy staff pay $5,000 pesos, while a $10,000 pesos membership is available to ABC staff. The membership avails the facilities over a 10-month period beginning in August and ending in early June. Due to the limited hours of availability to the facilities, Wilson believes this detracts from the enrollment of external members who might come from ABC Hospital or the US embassy. He explains, “Because we are open only before and after school, Saturdays from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on weekends and closed on long weekends and holidays, this program works best for students and employees.”
From getting in and staying in shape to simple healing and re-strengthening, many employees and students take advantage of membership and access to the facilities. Marianne Hudson, A&EL Administrative Assistant likes the convenience, “I am at work by 7:00 a.m. It is nice not to have to run around the city. It is great that it is all in one place.” Hudson uses all three facilities five days a week. “I like that I meet people (employees) from other areas.”
Alan Fisk, grade 12 student, likes the ability to get in and stay in shape. “I use the weight room twice a week. They have something for everyone. If something breaks down, they are quick to fix it.” Fisk uses the pool regularly and earned a lifeguard certificate during his sophomore year.
Members find various reasons to use the facilities here at ASF. Javier Campos, Upper School Learning Center Assistant and Moctezuma Carlos, Upper School Librarian, both enjoy the facilities for their convenience but both found the pool and weight room beneficial in their own recovery from injuries. Carlos sustained a back injury and found the pool very helpful in relieving pain. When Carlos began, he did not know how to swim. He explains, “Initially it was therapy . . . but then I started to think I should learn to swim.” With the help of the coaches and the other swimmers, Carlos learned to swim. He reflects on this, “For me it was a good experience because also it showed me the support I had within the community.” Carlos continues to swim every Friday after school and is planning to start on Saturdays.
Campos found the pool equally therapeutic in his own recovery from a terrible knee injury but to really gain strength back, he found the weight room crucial. “I used to train in the gym, but after I injured my knee I used the gym at ASF more. They had everything I needed to get back to normal. Without the pool and the gym, I don’t think I could have healed.”
The best time to exercise really depends on who you are. Students tend to populate all of the facilities directly after school until about 4:00 p.m. This is the busiest time of the day where numbers can reach as high 70 people in the cardiovascular and weight rooms alone. The best time for adults to use the facilities is early in the morning before school from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and later in the afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. These times are less busy. The pool is open before school Monday through Thursday with two lanes available to members from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. On Fridays, the pool is open from 2:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. While Saturdays, the cardiovascular and weight rooms, the track, and the pool are all open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Locker rooms are available during the times the facilities are open. Of course, during the school day, access to all of the facilities by members is prohibited, as students are using the facilities.
Online registration for the Recreational Membership makes it easier for the community to join. The applicable fee is charged automatically to the members who have an ASF account, otherwise, a bill is sent. Once membership is established, a special Athletics and Extended Learning membership ID is created and provided to members. Members do have access to parking for a nominal fee and can bring one guest for $100 pesos per day.
The Recreational Membership provides outstanding facilities to the ASF community at low and no cost where members can get in shape, maintain their strength, and heal their bodies. As part of the ASF mission, these facilities support the cultivation and curation of the mind, body, and soul.