YMCA sees new opportunities in 2019

SIDNEY — 2019 was filled with both challenges and great opportunities for the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA. New for the Y was the much anticipated addition of the LiveStrong at the YMCA Program. This wonderful and caring 12 week program designed specifically for cancer survivors and their care givers was offered twice during the year. The two classes combined had 16 participants who credited this program with giving them renewed hope, strength and finding new ways to cope with cancer they had never experienced before.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation and many other donors, this program is offered at no cost to the individuals. Wilson Health Hospital, The Relay for Life and Shelby County Health Department were also very instrumental as both supporters and partners,” said Ed Thomas, CEO.

His report continues:

Completing its second year was the Y’s other specialized program “Delay the Disease” specifically designed for individuals dealing with Parkinson’s. Individuals participating in this life changing program give credit to it for helping to increase their mobility and independence, ultimately resulting in radically improving the quality of their lives. Altogether the Y offered over 50 different group exercise classes each week to its members, making it one of the largest and most varied offerings in 51 years of serving our community.

New state of the art stationary bikes called Expresso Bikes were added to what is considered to be the largest and most complete wellness center in the county. These bikes include high resolution touch screens with many options that are designed to benefit all individuals.

The Y Child Development Center served approximately 300 unduplicated children and their families during 2019 by providing learning experiences and care that encourage social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth in children. Every day, the children who participate in our center encountered opportunities to create, explore, discover, interact, encourage, play, and grow to their fullest potential. Infants and toddlers learned how to be caring toward others and the world around them as they experienced the care of loving teachers. Preschoolers learned responsibility through being encouraged to help others and care for their classrooms. School-age students learned the importance of respect and honesty as they interacted with each other across a variety of activities and experiences.

Some special highlights from 2019 included: receiving special donations from our friends: A van from Eck Refrigeration, a grant from U.S. Bank and one from Student United Way; being able to provide unique experiences for children in our program and community such as: Healthy Kids Day, field trips to YMCA Camp Willson, Marmon Valley Farms, Sky Zone, and more. The addition of a new comprehensive STEM and Computer Lab for Preschool and School Age participants thanks to the generosity of Honda and the United Way of Shelby County. Offering several special programs and activities such as: Multi-generational interaction during Grandparents’ Day, Fire Safety Week presentation from our local fire department and having visits from the Children’s Room librarian affiliated with our community library. All these accomplishments were due to our dedicated Child Development staff and to the hiring of the Y’s new Child Development Director, Tori Faulder. Tori brought with her a Master’s Degree in Education and 14 years of experience in the classroom. She along with our amazing team of teachers are committed to creating a high-quality program for each participant by impacting their lives through our programs.

This was the Y’s 33rd year of offering Water Safety Week which served over 300 children in 2019. Children are taught valuable life-saving skills in and around the water, through this program that is free to all children in Shelby County thanks to the generous support of Minster Bank, Ruese insurance, The Sidney Daily News and Fricker’s. The Sidney Fire Department also participated by demonstrating and providing water safety information. In addition a new program called Swim Fast was launched. It offers land-and water based strength training and challenges the athlete to execute new movement patterns. As a result, athletes tap into new sources of power and speed on land, translating to greater performances in the water.

Our Kinetics competitive teams (Artistic Gymnastics, Acrobatic Gymnastics & Cheerleading) continue to rank as some of the best in the nation. Summer camps were at an all-time high in attendance with over 250 kids. These athletes train on bars, beams, floor, vault, tramp, and rings. They also had fun with crafts, swimming, and much more!

In addition to all of the traditional activities, the Kinetics Department expanded on their Friday fun nights by adding specialty nights every third Friday.

The YMCA Super Stars received a $ 4,000 Monarch Legacy grant through the Community Foundation and $250 from our long time sponsors the FOP. Because of this generosity there is no cost to the boys and girls with special needs that thought they would never be able to participate and perform as cheerleaders.

The added value youth sports classes were a big hit, participation was at an all-time high throughout the year thanks in part to programs like the Y’s Summer Basketball Camps lead by the great Coach Tom Clark. Over 75 kids participated in this first ever basketball camp. Other youth sports programs offered included Soccer, T-ball and flag Football.

A new program was started called The Run Club, athletes where taught proper run technique, how to run long distances, and help kids develop a love for running. This is one of the ways the Y is trying to help combat childhood obesity by getting the kids to be outside and to discovering their passion for other healthier things rather than sitting playing video games.

The life blood of the Y more commonly known as our “members” continues to be our highest priority. Jamie Crippin was hired as our new Membership Engagement Director. She along with the rest of our Membership Services Staff created a new Corporate Discount Program designed to encourage local businesses to sign up their employees as members. New Birthday Party Packages were created as a great alternative to where youth of all ages can celebrate their special day, and new Youth Center Theme Nights were also started offering a wide variety of fun and entertaining activities as part of the added value Y Members receive.

As we reflect back on 2019, we are grateful for all of the very caring and generous donors and the over 600 volunteers that help make our mission come to life. The Y overall was able to make a significant difference in the lives of over 10,000 families from our community. We are tremendously grateful to all who supported our efforts and made 2019 the great year that it was. We look forward to future possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead as the Y strives to continue working for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.