The YMCA: More than a Swim and Gym
[Wabash Valley, IN - 3/2019] In 2018, the YMCA of the Wabash Valley made the difficult decision to close the pool at the Vigo County facility. The Y never wants to reduce the health and wellness benefits it provides to the community, however, in Vigo County, the Y was faced with financial challenges and needed to reduce costs to improve profitability and sustainability.
The Vigo County YMCA pool closing wasn’t a unique situation. Pools are closing all over the country in Ys and municipalities. The pool is the most expensive amenity offered in a YMCA building. The Y also knows that as pools age they become increasingly more expensive to operate. Staffing a pool with certified, experienced lifeguards provides additional challenges. Yet, when pools are operated in partnership, they can be successful and add health benefits to the community.
“Reopening the pool isn't a YMCA issue - it is a community issue,” commented CEO of the YMCA of the Wabash Valley Ryan Penrod. “The Y isn't against the pool reopening, however at this time we do not have the financial means available, or community support, to reopen the pool and keep it open and maintained for an extended period of time on our own.
“YMCA board members and I have been meeting and negotiating with Mayor Bennett regarding the terms and conditions for reopening the pool and updating the building lease arrangement between the YMCA and the city. Negotiations are progressing, but a finalized deal acceptable to both parties has yet to be reached. While a reopening date for the pool would be exciting to announce, there are additional steps to be taken and agreements that need to be completed before that can happen.”
When a deal is reached and finalized, Ryan Penrod and Mayor Bennett will make a joint announcement.The YMCA currently still supports the value of aquatic activity as members currently have the opportunity to swim laps or take aqua aerobics classes through the Y’s partnership with Rose Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT). Other aquatic facilities in the Terre Haute community include the Aquatic Center, Indiana State University, and Deming Park pool.
The YMCA of the Wabash Valley is much more than a swim and gym organization. The Y is more than a pool, a dumbbell, a basketball court… or any one thing. The Y is about strengthening the community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The YMCAs in Clay and Vigo County provide before and after school care, summer day camp, youth and adult sports activities, health and wellness activities for people of all ages, and so much more.
The Y also addresses societal issues such as obesity through the TOO (Taking On Obesity) program, and offers free tutoring to the community with the help of RHIT students. Community groups such as Garrett Sands Kindness Project have partnered with the Y to offer gently used prom dresses to high school students in need. The Wabash Valley Crew utilizes the Y as an indoor training facility for youth seeking to learn about and compete in a rowing program.
Currently, the Y is in the middle of a fundraising campaign and is raising funds to support existing programs and services that address needs and services in our community. As donations and community support increases, the Y is able to provide more opportunities for people to participate in programs and expand services. To make a donation to the YMCA in Vigo County, visit www.ymcaswv.org or mail in a donation to 951 dresser drive, Terre Haute, IN 47807.
About the YMCA of the Wabash Valley
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits, strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. In the Wabash Valley, the Clay County and Vigo County YMCAs serve over 8,000 men, women and children, and provide opportunities through the annual campaign to give back and support neighbors. The YMCAs have the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. For more information visit www.ymcaswv.org.