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Valley of the Sun JCC striding toward 20th anniversary – scottsdale.org

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Mainly clear skies. Low 44F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: November 14, 2022 @ 7:02 pm
Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center CEO Jay Jacobs said, “We have a significant number of families with a significant number of adults and we have a significant number of young adults,” (David Minton/Progress Staff Photographer)

Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center CEO Jay Jacobs said, “We have a significant number of families with a significant number of adults and we have a significant number of young adults,” (David Minton/Progress Staff Photographer)
Twenty years ago, the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center was only a fraction of what it is today.
And although Valley of the Sun JCC CEO Jay Jacobs has only been with the center for just over a quarter of that time, he attributes the facility’s goals of offering comprehensive programming and continuously meeting the needs of the community as reasons for its success.
“Our goal is, to the best of our ability, to be as comprehensive as possible in terms of programming to make sure that we truly are staying up to date,” Jacobs said. 
Though the basic needs of providing places to maintain fitness, provide social stimulation and childcare have remained constant over the past two decades, it is the delivery of those programs where Jacobs has witnessed the biggest change. 
“Part of our challenge always is to understand – regardless of the demographic – what’s the difference between a fad and a trend,” he said. “A fad comes and goes but a trend stays.” 
Because of this, a third of the gym equipment is switched out every year so that machines never are older than 3 years. Sports like pickleball have been integrated onto the basketball courts. Pre-school has begun offering more programming, including day- and after-school care. 
“I don’t think the needs have changed (for) them for the last 50 years,” Jacobs said. “We always want childcare and we always know that there is the need for socialization – and you can throw fitness into that — but the biggest thing is we’ve been prepared to make the adjustments and shift to meet the ever-changing needs of the community.” 
Over the years, the facility has maximized its once compact fitness area into a top-floor iron paradise, created year-round programming for its two pools that are heated in the wintertime and, most recently, is undergoing an interior renovation. 
The once-travertine floors have since been replaced with bright white tile and the carpet has been updated. 
Next up on the list of renovations is a fresh coat of paint for the walls, updated lighting and new countertops before the facility opens its doors on its 20th-anniversary gala on Dec. 3. 
“Part of it is still always reinvesting to make sure this place stays up to date,” Jacobs said. 
With his facility featuring a more modern interior, Jacobs hopes to build on his current pool of 2,100 units of memberships – which equates to roughly 7,000 people. 
“We have a significant number of families with a significant number of adults and we have a significant number of young adults,” Jacobs said.
“We’ve got a fair amount of people with kids working out, we have 185 kids in our preschool and the key to having people continue to be walking in the building is the making sure that our programming is meeting the needs of all the different demographics.” 
Another key element of retention has been the commitment to safety and security at the Valley of the Sun JCC. 
“It’s a different world today. and we want people to feel safe when they walk in this building,” Jacobs said.
“And we know it’s working, because, for example, the unfortunate incident in Texas back in the summer happened a few days before our camp started and we did not get one phone call from anybody who asked us what ‘we were going to do?’ They trusted that we would be doing what we need to do.” 
With a deep commitment to security and continually refreshing programming, Jacobs hopes to see more of the same things as the Valley of the Sun JCC grows older. 
“I don’t think the goal ever changes but how we do it may change,” he said. “We want to be a hub of the community, but how do we continue to make the adjustments that keep us that way? Our job is to protect it.”
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