More than a gym membership. YMCA keeps up with the times, kids’ needsBookmark this
Since 1876, the year of America’s centennial celebration, the Young Men’s Christian Association has been serving youth in San Antonio.
Today, the association is better known as the YMCA, or, for short, “The Y.” It serves men and women, boys and girls in both San Antonio and Greater San Antonio.
YMCA has four locations inside Loop 410, four inside Loop 1604, and three in Greater San Antonio. They also have three early learning centers, 54 school-aged childcare sites, and one program center for medical-based wellness.
Besides the local locations, YMCA also has a summer residence camp in Hunt, near Kerrville.
Stephanie Chavira, Director of Marketing and Communications, says the YMCA takes a customized approach. Each location in the Alamo City is tailored to the individual needs of its local customers and neighborhoods, and the YMCAs in San Antonio are different from the ones not only in other states, but also in other Texas cities.
Across the board, every YMCA has the same mission – to put Christian principles into practice through programs building a healthy spirit, mind and body.
“What I love about the YMCA is their shared value in commitment to community. Their programs serve the needs of our community, both child and adult. From child care, sports, and leadership development to fitness, family camps, and wellness, they have something for every member of our community. Without the YMCA, many parents wouldn’t have access to programs like this. It’s important we support the organizations that allow our community to thrive.”
Preston Woolfolk, Co-President DOCUmation
The Y’s offer programs such as adult fitness (personal training, Pilates, yoga, races, water exercises, martial arts and adult sports) and various programs for children, including swimming and athletics.
“The Y is adapted to the community needs,” says Carrie Bair-Norwood, Senior Vice President of Financial Development. “We evolve as the community evolves. We rebranded in 2011 into these three areas: Youth Development, Social Responsibility, and Healthy Living.”
More than just sports, Youth Development programs are open for everyone regardless of their economic standing. One facet, Y Achievers, provides speaking and learning events as well as help with office attire and budgets. Teaching kids about office attire shows them how to dress for the occasion: in mock trials in the Youth and Government program, the kids dress like lawyers in court.
The YMCA unites the community through Síclovía, which serves 120,000 annually.
“Youth Government involves 40 kids who are learning about the justice system and mock trials,” Stephanie says. “Power Scholars AcademyTM keeps kids safe during the summer months and offers educational help to keep them sharp until the next school year.”
Stephanie says Youth Development has the idea of helping kids to mature and develop into responsible citizens.
“We have programming that’s very well known to the community,” she says. “These include swim lessons and after school programs. As a nonprofit, we’re helping to close achievement gaps and to nurture potential. To us, each youth program has its own impact. We serve all communities but focus on the underserved. In the summer, when the students have no access to meals at school, we provide healthy lunches at no cost.”
“We help children learn, grow and thrive through childhood and become positive, productive adults serving our community,” says Carrie.
That also includes “learning events,” where kids can get mentors, tutoring, and college and career readiness.
The YMCA teaches kids about the social responsibility of giving back to the community by partnering with other nonprofit efforts.
The prime example of this is the annual Síclovía (Sick-low-vee-a) Event. It's San Antonio’s largest health and wellness event. They hold it twice per year, and it serves 120,000 people annually.
Stephanie says the event originated in Colombia. She described it as a time the streets are opened up for people to walk, bike, run, skateboard or walk their dogs.
“This allows residents to get to know the city from a different viewpoint,” Stephanie says. “It’s closed to cars and motor vehicles. We work with local business and nonprofits, and introduce the community to them. The route is six miles, round trip, and we use it to talk about health and wellness. It’s a free event.”
Besides being a place known for exercising and recreating, the YMCA also has a Healthy Living program. It focuses on financial classes, lifestyle changes and nutrition education and physical activity to address chronic disease.
It also offers a program on diabetes, that has attracted 300 participants and is still growing.
“We have partnered with the YMCA for several years now. They’re more than just a client to us. They are essential for the health of our community and children. We love everything they stand for and we try to do what we can to bring light and awareness to the services they offer.”
Hunter Woolfolk, Co-President DOCUmation
Lifestyle change programs help people deal with stress, mental and emotional issues and in getting into better physical shape.
Carrie says the YMCA has two teaching kitchens.
“It’s also healthy lifestyle and cooking and is open to families so they can do things together and bond,” she says. “They learn and cook together.”
This is a beneficial program, Stephanie says, because it helps navigate the stigma that healthy foods are more expensive.
“We work with them on meal plans to fit their budgetary needs,” she says. “We introduce new healthy foods into their lifestyle, as opposed to packaged or fast foods.”
The YMCAs, evidenced by the “C” in in their name, also have a chaplain on duty to provide prayer and insight.
Boerne Family YMCA
820 Adler Rd., Boerne, TX 78006 | ph. (830) 815-1040
Davis-Scott Family YMCA
1213 Iowa St., SAT 78203 | ph. (210) 532-0932
D.R. Semmes Family YMCA at TriPoint
3233 N. St. Mary's, SAT 78212 | ph. (210) 246-9622
Harvey E. Najim Family YMCA
3122 Roosevelt Ave., SAT 78214 | ph. 210-538-0555
Mays Family YMCA at Stone Oak
21654 Blanco Rd., SAT 78260 | ph. (210) 497-7088
Mays Family YMCA at Potranco
8765 Hwy 151 Access Rd., SAT 78245 | ph. (210) 901-6622
Schertz Family YMCA
621 Westchester, Schertz, TX 78154 | ph. (210) 619-1900
Thousand Oaks Family YMCA
16103 Henderson Pass, SAT 78232 | ph. (210) 494-5292
Walzem Family YMCA
5538 Walzem, Windcrest, TX 78218 | ph. (210) 656-5777
YMCA Youth Development
(Day Camps, After School, Y Early Learning Centers)
231 E. Rhapsody, SAT 78216 | ph. (210) 924-2277
Camp Flaming Arrow
190 Flaming Arrow Rd., Hunt, TX 78024 | ph. (830) 238-4631
Be A Light.
Give. The YMCA relies on fundraising. It focuses on individuals and company support and has a $1.8 million fundraising goal. The funding will help with capital projects, such as Phase Two at the Boerne YMCA. The plans include an outdoor pool and gym with expanded indoor space. Other projects include an all-inclusive baseball field and playground at Cibolo, field renovations at the Mays Family YMCA at Stone Oak and reinvesting in infrastructure and expansion in San Antonio. Volunteer. YMCA also relies on volunteers. They are needed for the fundraising campaigns, Síclovía, advocate work and in youth sports. New YMCA on the way. San Antonio’s 12th YMCA slated to open in early July, in Cibolo.
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