has seen a spike in membership since opening up to outside groups at the start of this month, and township officials said their original goal is still well within reach.
A total of 88 new memberships, mostly from Gloucester County seniors, have been added to the rolls in the first three weeks of the push for new members, adding roughly $36,000 in annual revenue.
While the aim was to get 250 family memberships, the center’s management and RiverWinds advisory board members said this is a good first step, and membership should hit that mark by the end of the year.
“We've had a nice response so far, but I think it could be better,” advisory board chair Jeff Hansen said.
Seniors have joined in droves—33 couples and 29 individuals have signed up so far—which RiverWinds night manager Greg Black said is a net win for the center, given seniors tend to use the facility during off-peak hours.
And with only 17 families joining up so far, the 250 memberships cap is less important than the 1,000 individuals that number translates to—whether the 1,000 come from families or some other combination isn’t a big issue—Black said.
“We have the space,” he said.
to county sheriff’s officers, Gloucester County emergency services employees, members of the State Police, members of groups who rent out the facility, families sponsored by current members and senior citizens who live in Gloucester County.
There’s a cap at 11,300 members—2,000 more than the center had at the start of the membership drive—with the aim at putting the center back at a total of 500 business family memberships and adding $237,000 in membership fees to the coffers. That would mean adding 250 business family memberships, which pay the full $948 annual rate.
“We’d like to try to grab those 250 memberships back,” Black said earlier. “That’s the whole point of this.”
The news has spread mostly by word-of-mouth so far, but Black and day manager Cristin Veit have sent out emails and letters to the targeted groups that can now join up, with more of an effort planned in the fall.
Interest in the summer shouldn’t be nearly as heavy, Black said, given competing interests, whether shore vacations, swim clubs or youth sports, among many others.
A membership blitz ahead of the new school year should help generate interest going into the fall, and Black said he thinks they can hit their cap by the end of the year, at the latest.
“I think he’s being conservative—I think we can do it before then,” said Hansen, who praised the initial gains. “Hopefully by September, I’d like to see it really kick it in.”
Members of the newly-admitted groups who want to join generally need to bring an ID—a work ID for professional groups, or an ID with a Gloucester County address for seniors—or bring their sponsor with them when they sign up at the front desk at the community center.
Memberships will remain open until they hit the cap.