• An analysis of one community in the far north Simply Core Alaska: a case study beyond the studio

      Main, Emily Kathryn; Ehrlander, Mary F.; Cole, Terrence; Plumb, Veronica M. (2017-05)
      Alaska is a vast and starkly diverse land. One could argue that communities throughout the state share as many differences as similarities. Yet, each reflects humans' need for social interaction and our reliance on one another for physical, mental and emotional well-being. This project hypothesizes that here in the far north, family and community are particularly important to mental and emotional well-being. In a region where winters are long, cold and dark, and where individuals, especially non-Native Alaskans, often live far from their birth families and communities, we tend to form virtual families or communities to fulfill our need for close-knit social units. I hypothesize that one community in the far north, known as Simply Core Alaska serves as a family-community-like unit for Individuals. While Simply Core is a group fitness class, my hypothesis grew from my belief that it is more than an exercise class based on my own personal experiences as a transplant to Alaska. Simply Core Alaska reflects a frontier community culture wherein members warm up to one another quickly, accept one another regardless of fitness levels, and support one another through personal struggles. This Project explores Alaskans' need for community, considering the experiences of Indigenous individuals and transplants like myself. Chapter One, illustrates that from the beginning of time, community has been essential to the survival of Alaska Natives. Chapter Two introduces Melodee Morris, founder and creator of Simply Core Alaska's program of simultaneous physical and mental fitness. Chapter Three presents survey data from Core participants. The final chapters synthesize findings from interviews and spontaneous conversations with Core participants to analyze Simply Core Alaska's value and meaning both individually and collectively.