Engagement Recommendations

To increase Oak Hill Adaptive Sports and Fitness’ sphere of influence and their general involvement with community organizations and other physical activity facilities, we have engineered engagement recommendations for gyms, charity and healthcare organizations, nursing homes and with groups such as YMCA’s, YWCA’s, and JCC’s.

YMCAs, YWCAs, and JCCs

Kelly Boscarino recommended that we focus on nursing homes, YMCA’s, YWCA’s, and JCC’s because they would be the most like-minded organizations. With this in mind, we offered the following engagement recommendations for our target groups:

  • Invite YMCA’s, YWCA’s, and JCC’s to Oak Hill Adaptive Sports and Fitness center to examine facilities and experience first-hand the work Oak Hill does and the unique relationships they have with the clientele.
  • Offer training to YMCA’s, YWCA’s, and JCC’s training staff which will allow the staff to experience an individualized training session and learn the importance of specialized training for people with disabilities.
  • Propose hiring a specialized trainer from Oak Hill to work with YMCA’s, YWCA’s, and JCC’s for a week which will allow the organizations to see how incorporating Oak Hill’s specialized training can be beneficial to their own programs and mission.
  • Offer a review of their equipment to help Oak Hill determine what programs can accommodate the needs of people with disabilities and where the programs could be more accommodating and accessible.
  • Cosponsor an athletic event in Hartford. This would allow both Oak Hill and the YMCA, YWCA, or JCC exposure that they may not have received and allow both organizations to be more involved with the community and form a strong relationship with one another.
Gyms and Fitness Facilities

Shifting Oak Hill’s stature from an innovator working with largely unadopted methods on the outskirts of the fitness community to an opinion leading organization at the forefront of adaptive fitness of course meant that Gyms and other like minded facilities had to be targeted in order to create connections with well established organizations in the world of physical fitness. We recommend several approaches for how Oak Hill could accomplish this. Many include creating face to face connections with these like minded facilities, for example:

  • Offer to take a representative on a tour of the Oak Hill Facility. This will further understanding and bridge the gap of what it is that Oak Hill offers and why/how their services could be used at the partner gym
  • Offer training sessions for the partner organization’s own trainers to become educated about inclusive fitness. This will allow Oak Hill to utilize their knowledge and expand their sphere of influence by offering a service to a partner gym. This makes them appear as an opinion leading organization.
  • Ask whether they would be interested in conducting a fitness class together. The importance of conducting a class in which both parties have ownership is that the partnering gyms will be more inclined to adopt these practices and fitness plans as their own, making them more amenable to working with Oak Hill moving forward
Nursing Homes

For the nursing homes, we had to be mindful that our engagement recommendations would differ from the YMCA’s, YWCA’s, and JCC’s because they are serving an older community and may have different Covid-19 protocols. To accommodate these protocols, we have offered several Covid-friendly engagement recommendations that will allow for the nursing home community and Oak Hill to form a relationship. We offer the following engagement recommendations:

  • Offer the nursing home administration a tour of Oak Hill’s facilities. The staff of these administrations primarily address the needs of their residents, thus they will have the most say in the relationship between Oak Hill and their respective nursing home.
  • Offer free virtual classes for a few weekends. Offering virtual classes is one of the easiest ways to engage with the facilities without physically coming into contact with the residents and this proposition allows the residents to test the waters a bit and allows the nursing home to gauge enthusiasm in the community without committing to a partnership immediately.
  • Offer programs to be done outside with nursing home residents and Oak Hill trainers. Hosting outdoor programs with the nursing home residents will allow for larger class sizes and to accommodate for any Covid-19 protocols the nursing home likely has in place.
  • Sponsor a local senior-citizen athletic event. The whole ethos of Oak Hill is that the facility is preparing individuals for lifelong fitness and well-being. Senior sports games are a unique, fun niche that Oak Hill could fill because these events could also draw in more clients, who, with age, may have acquired physical disabilities that may require specialized training. 
Charities and Healthcare Organizations 

Although charities and healthcare organizations were not specifically prioritized in the strategy to expand Oak Hill’s visibility, these organizations are critical to engaging with the community and acquiring new clientele. Based on qualitative information provided by individuals who either have disabilities or are caregivers to those with disabilities, such involvement is often the means by which knowledge of facilities like Oak Hill spreads among a community. Essentially, collaboration with these communities is a palpable form of public promotion that simultaneously supports the altruistic ethos of their facilities. Therefore, the following actions were recommended by the research team to form this association.

  • Provide a brochure for healthcare organizations to display in offices/waiting rooms frequented by patients 
  • Offer to co-sponsor an event such as a charity walk/run. This will increase the visibility of Oak Hill and shift their persona towards an opinion leading organization by associating with well established brands.
  • Conduct an open forum discussion with officials/representatives discussing the importance of inclusive fitness and some of its barriers. This will help to promote Oak Hill as an industry leader, and will increase understanding—especially within healthcare organizations—of why Oak Hill is a valid resource for patients to pursue in their path to rehabilitation and productive/healthy behaviors.
Conferences and Academia

Finally, in the complete analysis of the actions that could be taken by Oak Hill to achieve maximum visibility, it was recommended by caregivers of those with disabilities that the facility manage to attend conferences focused on both disability awareness and new research studying various disabilities. These events often host a plethora of medical professionals and influential voices within the disabled community, and whose knowledge of Oak Hill’s presence would be largely beneficial to the visibility of the facility. Therefore the following recommendations were settled upon.

  • Set up a booth at conferences. Conferences are often held in highly populous cities, many of which are held within the tri-state area, including Boston and New York. Considering the range in which Oak Hill seeks to provide care and accessibility to its clients, both of these locations would be feasible to accrue support. 
  • Attend multiple conferences annually

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