Fitness + Fellowship = Family

Jackie Brence   -  

School may be out, but the Ebenezer Exercise Group is still in session! The group is open to participants of all ages and fitness levels with FREE classes, FREE childcare, and a welcoming environment where everyone feels like family.

“The family and community built within these walls is unlike any other,” said Alyse O’Steen, a certified fitness instructor who helps coordinate the program, along with Patrice DeBord and Lauren Hamilton.

The group originated as an informal gathering of friends doing exercise DVD’s but has since become a comprehensive fitness program with eight certified instructors and a full range of classes including Zumba, HIIT, Boot Camp, RYZE, and HIGH. Many of the current instructors started as participants and were encouraged to pursue teaching by Patrice, whose own fitness career began in an unexpected way.

“I believe I was God-directed. I didn’t get into teaching until my 30’s,” she explained. “A friend said, ‘There’s a class I want you to take,’ and I found my calling.”

The Exercise Group meets on Mondays, Thursdays, and some Saturdays at 9:15 AM. (Note that childcare is not available on Saturdays.) A complete schedule is available on the group’s Facebook page. Registration is not required.

Patrice also leads classes for Active Older Adults on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9:15 AM. These sessions emphasize coordination and practical exercises to improve agility, flexibility, and motor skills. Join their Facebook group to find out more.

Both instructors agree that group exercise offers a unique combination of fitness and fellowship. “One of the fun things about a large group is that you get caught up in the energy. It becomes an integral part of who you are.” Patrice said. “Within a few minutes, I can feel my funk being lifted. They’re sharing their joy.”

At the end of each class, participants gather for a prayer circle. “The instructor begins, then everyone goes around and says what’s on their hearts and minds,” Alyse explained. “It’s a raw and beautiful moment. You learn that you’re not alone. There’s always somebody that can relate to your experience.”

“In a God-graced group, the truth comes out.” Patrice agreed. “It reaches to the heart of where women are. Women like to support each other.”

To find out more about fitness groups at Ebenezer, please visit