Healthy Changes Initiative


 IROC’s Healthy Changes Initiative

for People Living with Chronic Conditions


Healthy Changes Initiative is a wellness program that offers a discounted membership for community members living with chronic conditions, as a way of promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyle changes. Healthy Changes Initiative has welcomed close to 500 community members since its inception, and continues to grow and develop as the years go by. A successful program in its own right, Healthy Changes Initiative helps IROC to stand out among fitness and recreation centers in all of the Northeast Kingdom because it is both financially and physically accessible to almost everyone.


To qualify for Healthy Changes, an individual needs a Physician's refferal, with one or more of the following conditions:



1. Diabetes (Type 1 or 2):


2. Obesity (BMI of 27 or greater)


3. Heart Disease


4.  Rheumatoid Arthritis


5. MS


6. Cancer (Patient/Survivor)


7. Fibromyalgia


Other ways to qualify for Healthy Changes (no Physician's referral required):

  •  Active participation in location-based Weight Watchers. (copy of your book is necessary monthly)
  • Seniors, 65 years or older
  • Community Circle Members (copy of your card is necessary)


Healthy Changes Initiative follows a few simple principles:


       1. "Use it or Lose it"

Qualifying members need to exercise at IROC 12/month for a minimum of 30 minutes each visit.


2. "Be Accountable"

Log every exercise session in an exercise log book (provided at sign-up).


3. "Bring a Friend"

We know it's hard to stay motivated on your own. Add a friend to your account for $10/month. Choose wisely; your exercise buddy is supposed to support all of your healthy changes!


Healthy Changes Initiative Rates


Individual membership: $15/month for first 12 months, increasing to $25/month thereafter. 

Add a buddy to your account for $10/month. Buddies are not held accountable for exercise (that's up you)!


Healthy Changes is billed on a monthly bases. Regardless of when you sign up, the membership begins on the first of the month and is due for renewal in a two-week period beginning the last week of the month and ending by the 10th of the new month. To renew, healthy changes members simply bring their completed log book (with appropriate payment) to the front desk for either Katy or Sue to process. The log book will be returned to the file cabinet when the payment has been processed!



If there's ever a month that it's impossible to hold your end of the deal (exercising 12/month AND logging!), you'll have to buy your way back into the program. Don't get discouraged! This fee is a just an incentive to stay focused. Once you're back on track, your discount will return. "BuyBack" fees are as follows:

  • First year individual members: $30
  • Second year (and beyond) members: $40
  • Add $10 if you have a buddy on your account (making it $40/first yr and $50/second yr).

If you have any questions about Healthy Changes, please contact Sue Engel, Healthy Changes Coordinator, at 334-8511 or email


This exciting program has been operating for over three years and is really flourishing.  Participation now averages over 300 qualifying individuals each month (plus buddies). The program has significantly helped to attract and retain members and (more importantly) helped those members to contain and improve their conditions. Over 54% of those who enroll in the program stay with it for at least a year.




Healthy Changes benefits the entire community

We know that 80% of all health care expenditures go to provide care to people suffering from chronic conditions.  Demonstrably successful programs such as Healthy Changes Initiative have the potential of helping to contain the growth of health care costs and significantly improve the quality of life of its participants.
The “use it or lose it” aspect of the Healthy Changes Initiative appears to be the key to its success.  It has a wide range of possible applications, i.e. to employee wellness programs, discounted health insurance programs and preventative exercise programs for seniors.  If Healthy Changes continues to demonstrate high retention rates, it is expected that this model will be replicated in other areas of Vermont and beyond, as the public focuses more of its attention to prevention and management of chronic conditions.  


What Participants Say:

“As a newcomer to Healthy Changes I have nothing but good things to say about the program.  It is actually one of the reasons I moved to this area. The water aerobics classes have reduced my constant pain from osteoarthritis and helped my mobility a lot.  I'm sure that this in itself will help me avoid painful and expensive medical interventions over time,”

-Healthy Changes Participant Sept. 2010


“I have been going to I.R.O.C. for a year now and I really enjoy it. I have had knee and shoulder problems for years and going to IROC has helped them improve greatly. I have also lost approx. 30 pounds and I feel better and have more energy. Not to mention the benefit of going to a place where you go in and see a smiling face greeting you, I have never met a grumpy person there so I am pretty sure that working out not only improves your health but also improves your attitude. THANKS HEALTHY INITIATIVES!”

-Healthy Changes Participant June 2010


“First, I would like to tell you and all of the IROC family how much I appreciate it here and how fortunate (in the NEK!!) we all are to have a place like this and to also have this great program- The Healthy Changes Program. I started over a year ago and I was on a med that caused muscle loss. I had lots of achy and painful joints, was very sluggish, weak, and short of breath when doing just about anything. I started slowly-just walking. I then tried the weights and bikes but I was more sore in my joints and knew myself well enough to know if it causes me more pain, I would not stick to it. That’s when I started the water classes - I loved them and still do them at least 3 times a week plus the yoga for senior’s class was my favorite. I can now bend and do things I couldn’t before and with no pain. I’m getting braver and would like to start the Pilates to start getting my core stronger. I love how I feel now and I thank it all to this great program.”

-Healthy Changes Participant Sept. 2010


“I am so glad to be able to use the facilities at IROC and the Healthy Changes program.  I didn’t realize how out of shape I had gotten myself into.  I feel more energized, alert, happy and relaxed.  I have dropped two dress sizes, even though I have not lost much weight. I thank all those who sponsor Healthy Changes for allowing us to use IROC and get healthy.  I also thank Melissa for her coordination of the program.”

-Healthy Changes Participant Sept. 2010


“Since I have been in the Healthy Initiatives program at IROC good things have happened. For starters I have gotten healthier. I have lost almost 30 lbs. and have had more energy to do things. I have access to the fitness center where there is cardio equipment and weights. I can swim in the Olympic size pool for exercise and for fun with the family. The arena has been great for time with my boys to play basketball or walk the track together. If you are someone that wants to improve your health and/or have the opportunity to spend healthy time with your family with fun activities, the Healthy Initiatives program at IROC is for you.”

-Healthy Changes Participant Sept. 2010


 "I've tried for many years to lose weight at home. Home exercise equipment is very expensive and take up a lot of space. When I heard of the Healthy Changes program from my doctor, I jumped at the chance to join.  I began by walking the indoor track and worked up to, with Harry's help, using the weights and cardio equipment in the gym. The staff provides a motivating environment and we enjoy going to IROC at least three times a week, if not more. I am proud to say the strength in my arms is returning and I am able to walk the track a lot longer than when I first started a month ago. I am in need of a double knee replacement and my doctors won't allow it until I have reached a healthy weight and strengthened my upper body to make the recovery easier for me. With the help of the Healthy Changes program, I am sure to reach my goals.”

-Healthy Changes Participant Sept. 2010




Participant fees cover only about 10-15% of all program costs. The primary fundraising vehicles for covering the remaining costs of the program are IROC's Kingdom Summer Games, including:


“The best part of my day is coming to IROC”