The weekend is usually when people schedule fun outings, events or activities with friends, but at the Linwood Center, the fun begins on Tuesday nights.
In November, the center kicked-off its programming of five months of Tuesday evening classes. Those classes include cooking and baking instruction and a variety of art medium projects.
Snowshoe Community and Employee Involvement Director Tracey Valach, who operates the center, said the classes were a way to get the community together and involved in different and fun activities.
“We reached out to local artisans, local bakers and partners in the community and said, ‘what would you like to teach,’ and it was crazy how quick all the dates filled up,” she said.
“I had people coming out of the woodwork, saying they wanted to teach a class. We’re really excited to see how it evolves.”
The classes are open to the public, but space is limited so it is important to pre-register online. The class list is posted on the Linwood Center Facebook page and includes a QR code that participants can scan with their cell phone in order to signup.
For those less tech savvy, Valach said she can be contacted at the center or through the Linwood Alive! Facebook page for assistance.
“We prefer signing up on the sign-up genius because if there is a fee, they can pay for it right there in the portal,” she said.
“They can reach out to us on Facebook, which we’ve done for a few people who struggled or couldn’t make that happen.”
The classes are limited to 12 to 18 spots, making it an intimate setting for a small group to learn a new art or recipe. It also makes it easier for the instructor to spend more time with each student.
Classes are given by local artisans including the Artspot artist Cris Bartlett, Cheryl Beverage, Teresa Mullen of Mountain State Cakes, Momma J – A.J. Sharp – and even Valach’s ,daughter, Mia.
Librarian Trisha Barb also participates with game nights and other programs in the library.
While the programming is only scheduled to the end of March, Valach said she hopes to continue the Tuesday classes and is looking forward to expanding the program.
“I would love to add on “We’ve already had instructors reaching out, wanting to do different things. This was kind of a let’s see how this goes and if it goes well, then we’ll continue. I would love for Tuesdays to be our opportunity to try new things at Linwood.”
The center has grown in the past decade and continues to do so with programs such as the Tuesday classes and the new fitness area with exercise equipment. The center now contains the daycare center, library, market, office and meeting space, a kitchen and lounge area.
“We’re really trying to become a hub for health and wellness,” Valach said. “Whether that’s constructive activities, support programs, resources, fitness equipment – we’re really trying to create a cohesive community resource and guest resource facility.
“The daycare is providing care,” she continued. “They added Saturday care. The library has been increasing what they have to offer; they’re getting laptops and getting people resources. We’ve reconfigured the center to be a lounge type area, as well as a small meeting space and work space. Then the healthy foods market with the West Virginia foods and the meeting room where we have yoga, AA and the Tuesday night classes.”
The office space at the center is available for use by outside entities. It is used by Youth Health Services to provide sessions with clients. It is also available for individuals who need an office space for Zoom meetings of conference calls.
The kitchen has been upgraded to commercial status and now there are fresh treats being prepared and sold in the market. At this time, they have salads using local produce and dressings, and yogurt with local granola.
The fitness area has several pieces of equipment including medicine balls, free weights, a treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine and an elliptical. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free of charge.
Valach said she is working on opening the fitness area after hours, as well. There will be a coded door lock and for $10 a month, members will be given an access code to the room where they can use the equipment when the facility is closed.
As she reflects on all the progress that has been made at the center, Valach said it’s really been a community effort to get to where they are today. It started with the Linwood Alive! sponsored hunters’ dinner which was held at the Beckwith building in Slaty Fork 10 years ago.
“We had a big blank piece of paper and people wrote the things that they would love to see happen in our community,” Valach said. “The pump track was one of them – we built it. The Farmers Market was one of them – we host those. Now the fitness and wellness equipment. That was ten years ago and it’s taken time, but we’re addressing the needs of our community, which was Linwood Alive!’s mission from the beginning.”
For more information about the Linwood Center and the Tuesday night classes, visit the Linwood Alive! Facebook page.