YMCA of Central Ohio

It’s January and the gym is packed: An open letter to our new (and seasoned!) Y members

It's January and the gym is packed: An open letter to our new (and seasoned!) Y members

We all know that some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions are related to health and fitness, and we know that this time of year we see an increase of those health-seekers within our YMCA walls. Yes, the fitness floor may be busy, and yes, it may be overwhelming, but we want you to know that we are here to support you in 2018 and beyond.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a brand-new YMCA member, our promise remains the same- to help you become your best self.

Dear New Year’s Resolutioners,
We see you. We are excited for you. We are proud of you. We want you to know that you belong here. By choosing to become a member of the YMCA of Central Ohio, you are choosing to become part of a community that is so much more, and we are excited you chose us. Don’t be scared or intimidated to walk into the doors or into the studio room. At the Y, we are a judgement-free zone. The fact of the matter is, we have all started somewhere and everyone was a new member at some point. We applaud you for getting the motivation to start. The hardest part is signing up and stepping into the gym, and making the conscious choice to continue stepping into the gym- to find your groove and what motivates you. You CAN do it! We are here to help you in any way we can. Don’t ever be afraid to ask.

Don’t give up. Our goal is for you to stick around. We want you to feel so great about what you’re doing and where you’re doing it that you are motivated to keep coming. We want to see you here next January, and the following, and the one after that. But promise us this: instead of rolling your eyes at the ‘new’ New Year’s Resolutioners coming in and taking your equipment, think back to where you are now, and say hi to someone that looks intimidated and make them feel welcome. Pay it forward. We at the Y are Welcomers. We believe that one positive interaction may not only change someone's day but their life. You might call us idealists, but we have the good fortune seeing this notion in action every single day. We’re glad you’re here and can’t wait to see you crush your goals- whatever they may be!

Here’s to an amazing 2018,
Your friends at the YMCA of Central Ohio

Dear Long Time Members,
So you may have to wait a little bit longer for that treadmill or to complete your next rep. But as regulars, it is our job to welcome, support, and cheer on this new influx of people. These are your neighbors and this is YOUR community!  Be the Welcomers we just bragged about being above. Be the person that lends a helping hand to someone who looks confused in the weight room, or help someone grab equipment that looks lost in a class. Be encouraging. Be excited for someone who has taken a big step to begin to better themselves.

Say Hi. Smile at someone you don’t recognize. Introduce yourself. Be the person you needed when you were brand new to wellness and had no idea where to start. We know you will be the best representation of everything the Y has to offer, because you are our long time valued members, after all. You get it. Help be the reason why the 2018 Resolutioners one day are in the same club. Help show them we always have been, and always will be: So much more than a gym. And, when in doubt, be kind and spread your knowledge and love of the gym- the world could always use a little more of that!!

Here’s to a great 2018,
Your Friends at the YMCA of Central Ohio

Investing In Tomorrow

The YMCA of Central Ohio is in an exciting time of growth and change. Our facilities are evolving, and neighborhoods are expanding. We’re committed to being the best stewards of our resources to invest in the communities we serve as well as you, our valued members. Here are just a few examples:

$1M was put into the infrastructure of our buildings with $1M more planned in 2018

This includes:

  • Pavement/sidewalk repair
  • Roof repairs
  • Pool heater maintenance
  • New carpet
  • And more


An additional $320,000+ was invested in new equipment

This includes:

  • Dumbbells
  • Dumbbell racks
  • Treadmills
  • Spinning bikes
  • Ellipticals
  • Weight bars
  • And more


$20.7M in impact was invested into strengthening our community

This includes programming that meets community needs through:


Nationwide Reciprocity giving you access to any Y in the country

Your Y has worked hard to maintain stable membership rates. In order to continue our level of service, a modest increase in your rate will take effect February 1, 2018. If finances are a barrier, Membership For All assistance is available. If you have further questions, we’re here to help, just stop by your local YMCA’s Welcome Center.


2018 Monthly Membership Rate Increases

Welcoming Friends and Family for the Holidays

Friends and Family visiting for the holidays? Bring 'em to the Y

FREE Guests for Members, December 17th-31st only.

Bonus, guests who join during this time receive $0 join fee.


All YMCA of Central Ohio Guests must:

» Be accompanied by a current
YMCA member, 18 or older,
in good standing.

» Present a current photo ID.
School IDs accepted for minors.
Guests under age 16 are exempt.

» Agree to have his or her photo
saved in the YMCA’s database.

» Complete a Guest Pass Form.
The adult with a guest under age 18
must complete a Guest Pass Form on
the minor’s behalf.

Reframe New Year’s Resolutions in 2018

Reframe New Year’s Resolutions in 2018

Along with singing “Auld Lang Syne” at the start of the New Year, making resolutions is a tradition for millions of Americans. However, while choosing a resolution can be easy, sticking to it can be impossible. A 2014 YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many (71 percent) tried, but stated that they fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed that gave up within the first few months, even weeks, of the New Year!

This year, the YMCA of Central Ohio is encouraging community members to give their New Year’s resolutions a boost by creating smaller, more manageable goals that can lead to success of a larger one. “Losing weight’ is too broad. Reframe that big resolution into smaller, more manageable ones. Resolve to incorporate fruits and vegetables into at least two meals a day. If you’re eating out three times a week, make a goal to only eat out two times a week.

Reframing your goals in a positive way can help you stick to them. For example, you may want to limit your screen time in 2018, but that can be more manageable if you replace it with something positive like volunteering or setting special time aside for family. Try not to think about what you’re missing, but rather what you’re gaining. This can make a resolution feel more positive, and therefore more achievable. 

It's also important to not let yourself get discouraged by setbacks. Even though you may experience some missteps throughout the day—or even the week—that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Nobody got their bad habits over the course of a week, so you’re not going to change them in a week either! Change is a process and bad days are part of that process.

Below are four tips the Y recommends that will help 2018 New Year’s resolutions stick: 

1. Start small. Break those big resolutions into small, achievable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade your two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water.

2. Take it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a new month resolution. Focus on that one change for the month, and add another (small) change when the new month rolls around. 

3. Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors, like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a facility that keeps you motivated. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity.

4. Talk it out. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2018 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them. Set specific check-ins to help each other out of slumps and to cheer each other during the high points.

For additional tips or to learn how to get involved with the YMCA of Central Ohio, visit ymcacolumbus.org/join.

About the Y
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net

YMCA announces Nationwide Reciprocity

Nationwide Membership

At the Y, we are for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We are dedicated to ensuring our facilities, programs and services are open and welcoming to all. As part of this effort, we are proud to offer our members access to YMCA facilities across the United States that participate in Nationwide Membership. This way, our members can use the Y as often as they like, making it easier to achieve their health and wellness goals.

There are more than 2,700 YMCAs in 10,000 communities across the nation.


Nationwide Membership enables you to visit any participating YMCA in the United States, outside of the YMCA of Central Ohio area, through membership at your home YMCA. We offer this because we want to help you reach your health and wellness goals wherever you live, work or travel. This is an essential part of our mission to strengthen communities.

We understand that sometimes it is more convenient for members to take advantage of a Y near their workplace or when they are traveling outside the area of their home Y. With Nationwide Membership, members have the flexibility to use participating Y facilities throughout the United States at no extra charge.

Nationwide Membership is valid for active, full facility YMCA members whose home Y participates without restriction or blackout periods.
Nationwide member visitors must use their home Y at least 50% of the time.
Program-only participants (including Silver Sneakers, Silver and Fit or otherlike programs) are not eligible for nationwide membership.
Special memberships established by any Y for group homes, other agencies, etc., are not eligible.
When visiting a Y, nationwide members will be required to show a valid YMCA membership card and photo ID as well as provide basic membership data such as name and email address.
Members will need to sign a universal liability waiver and privacy policy.
Ys should allow nationwide members access to services typically offered to full-facility members. Check with the Y for schedule and availability. Nationwide members visiting other Ys for a period greater than 28 days must transfer membership affiliation for continued use.
All Ys reserve the right to restrict or revoke these privileges.
Registered sex offenders are prohibited from participating.

SilverSneakers Celebrates 25 Years of Changing Lives

Program at the Forefront of the Older Adult Fitness Revolution

CHANDLER, Ariz. - SilverSneakers®, the nation’s leading community fitness program for older adults, is celebrating 25 years of improving the physical, social and mental health of millions of older Americans. For decades, the program has engaged participants in physical activity, as well as created new friendships with a welcoming member community. Throughout 2017, SilverSneakers will commemorate the silver anniversary with classes, members and partners who have made the program a success for more than two decades.

No other fitness program in the U.S. has such a rich history and experience in delivering older adult fitness. In 1992, SilverSneakers was founded by designed Mary Swanson, whose father served as the inspiration for the nationally acclaimed fitness program. Mary’s father, after surviving a heart attack at age 51, pledged to improve his quality of life with regular physical activity through the first formalized exercise class specifically for older adults.

“I have had the privilege to meet with many of our members across the country, and I’m always moved by the stories they share about how SilverSneakers has changed their lives. We are excited to celebrate SilverSneakers silver anniversary and the positive difference the program makes for members, their families and the community,” said Donato Tramuto, CEO of Tivity Health, parent company of SilverSneakers.

Today, more than 14 million people are eligible for the SilverSneakers benefit at no additional cost through more than 60 health plans, including the nation’s leading Medicare Advantage health plans, Medicare Supplement carriers and group retiree plans.

What began as a first-of-its-kind fitness class for older adults, has not only expanded nationwide, but has become a health movement that has evolved to accommodate all fitness levels and interests through thoughtfully designed programs and networks:

  • SilverSneakers: Original classes including Classic, CardioFit, Circuit, Stability and Splash
  • SilverSneakers BOOM® : A revolutionary fitness series designed for Baby Boomers and active older adults offering fast-paced, higher intensity group exercise classes.
  • SilverSneakers FLEX™: A community fitness network with more than 70 types of unique classes taught in convenient neighborhood locations, such as churches, recreation centers, older-adult living communities, etc.

SilverSneakers is available at more than 13,000 participating gyms and fitness centers, with unrestricted access and unlimited visits to every location in the national network. The program offers specialized group class, and access to each location’s basic amenities, including weights, treadmills, pools and more.

To learn more about SilverSneakers’ 25th Anniversary, visit SilverSneakers25.com.

About SilverSneakers

SilverSneakers, by Tivity Health, is the nation’s leading community fitness program for older Americans. The program was founded in 1992 and is available to more than 14.5 million Medicare beneficiaries through many Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement carriers and group retiree plans. For more information, to check eligibility or enroll, go to silversneakers.com.

Check our schedules for class information.

City of Whitehall and YMCA of Central Ohio Partner to Announce Community Park YMCA

Whitehall Community Park master plan includes new Community Park Y facility

COLUMBUS, OHIO (October 10, 2017) – The City of Whitehall on Tuesday, October 10th announced a partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio to transform the activity building at Whitehall Community Park into the Community Park YMCA.

Tying into last month’s unveiling of Whitehall’s master plan for the 85-acre nature park, an upgraded community recreation center is the single largest proposed element.

The Community Park YMCA will be a rec center focused on providing programming to better all aspects of families, with a unique youth focus. By partnering with the YMCA of Central Ohio, the City of Whitehall will be able to engage with local youth, offer contemporary programs, modernize an existing facility, focus on community-driven programming and facilitate further partnerships.

“City leaders and residents have been working toward a community center for many years,” said Mayor Kim Maggard. “We performed countless surveys, focus groups, stakeholder meetings and interviews with local youth to identify what kind of programming our residents called for. Adding a community center to an already great 85-acre nature park will enhance Whitehall Community Park’s already expansive outdoor offerings.”

Master plan items, such as the re-meadowing of Whitehall Community Park’s lower level, will be implemented beginning in 2018, with architectural selection for the Community Park YMCA to begin in the first quarter of 2018.

About the City of Whitehall:
The City of Whitehall is home to nearly 19,000 residents and is located in eastern Franklin County just minutes from the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, I-270, I-670 and downtown Columbus.  Whitehall is committed to being an innovative, diverse and vibrant community of thriving neighborhoods that are home to exceptional recreational opportunities and flourishing businesses. For more information, please contact the City of Whitehall by visiting http://www.whitehall-oh.us/


About the YMCA of Central Ohio:
The YMCA of Central Ohio is an inclusive organization of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility.

Media Contacts:
Zach Woodruff
Director of Development & Public Service, City of Whitehall
Zach.Woodruff@Whitehall-oh.us, 614-204-9811

Brian Kridler
Senior Vice President - Strategy & Innovation, YMCA of Central Ohio
bkridler@ymcacolumbus.org, 614-420-6001

New YMCA in Reynoldsburg to Break Ground

New YMCA in Reynoldsburg to Break Ground
Event celebrates partnership between the City of Reynoldsburg and YMCA of Central Ohio

[Reynoldsburg, OH, September 25, 2017] – The City of Reynoldsburg will break ground on the new Reynoldsburg Community Center YMCA on Thursday, September 28th.

A brief program and groundbreaking ceremony will take place from 4:30-5:00 p.m. followed by a variety of family activities including a bounce house, face painting, games, food trucks and more available until 7:30 p.m. The event is free and is open to the public.

“This represents an exciting time for the Reynoldsburg community, as well as for our YMCA association,” said Brian Kridler, Senior Vice President of Strategy & Innovation, YMCA of Central Ohio. “We could not be more proud to have the opportunity to provide more people with the resources they need to have a Y experience.”

The new center is expected to open in late 2019 and will feature a pool, fitness center, group exercise studio, multi-purpose rooms, child care rooms, and more. The center will represent the 14th YMCA of Central Ohio branch.

On May 2nd, a majority of voters approved a 1 percent income-tax increase to build the new facility. The levy will generate about $6.5 million annually, increasing Reynoldsburg’s income-tax revenue by about 54 percent each year.

Of the anticipated new yearly revenue, about $1.5 million will be used to repay a 30-year loan for the new YMCA community center and about $5 million will go towards city improvements. The new Y will be a two-story, 52,000-square-foot building built on 10 acres at the north end of Huber Park, on the site of the old Reynoldsburg Swim Center at 7215 E. Main St. The design of the Reynoldsburg Community Center YMCA will resemble the Delaware Community Center YMCA.

Raising Good Sports


Posted by: Ben Reed

Youth sports often start out fun and tend to grow competitive as children age. Sometimes the focus on athletic skill and physical achievement can overshadow the social-emotional learning taking place on the field or court. Youth development professionals can ensure kids of all ages are developing their team building skills at every level of play.

One male Y staff and three kids playing tug-of-war on a grassy field.

Here are four fun team building activities that encourage kids to be good sports:

Relay Races: This simple activity is a quick energizer and can be adapted to any sport. The concept is to have two teams move from point A to point B as fast as possible, and the first team to get all players across the line, wins. After the race, have a group conversation about how each team demonstrated good sportsmanship. Bonus tip: Get creative by incorporating different equipment, such as dribbling a soccer ball with football teams or bouncing a tennis ball with basketball teams.
Hot Potato: Two separate teams stand in a circle and toss or kick/pass a ball to one another. Every time a pass is completed, the team takes one step backwards. As the circle widens, the game becomes more challenging. After a couple of minutes, the biggest circle wins. Encourage players to stay honest and cheer for each other as the game gets more intense. 
Blanket Ball: Communication is key in this game! Two teams are given a blanket and each player holds the edges to spread it out in the form of a “blanket trampoline.” Throw a volleyball (or similar ball) into the middle of one of the blankets, and the team must flip the ball over a net for the opposing team to catch in their blanket and flip back. After the game, have a group conversation to share examples of how each player strengthened their team. Don’t have a net? Improvise and use poles or skipping rope as a makeshift bar that the ball must go over.
Human Knot: Problem solving together makes this silly game a challenge. Have your group stand in a circle with each person grabbing a hand across from them. When all hands are connected, the circle should resemble one big mess of hands that teams must work together to unravel without ever letting go of one another’s hands. Encourage players to talk to each other throughout the process and to cheer as each knot is untangled.

Welcoming Week 2017

YMCA of Central Ohio Joins Welcoming America & Hundreds of Communities to Celebrate New Americans During Welcoming Week

[Columbus, OH, Sept 12, 2017]—This Welcoming Week, taking place Sept. 15–24, 2017, YMCA of Central Ohio will join Welcoming America and hundreds of YMCAs and other organizations nationwide in hosting events to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and bring together all residents in a spirit of unity. Welcoming Week activities are open to the public at the Liberty Township/Powell YMCA, Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA, North YMCA, Jerry L. Garver YMCA, Hilltop YMCA, and Eldon and Elsie Ward YMCA.

“At the YMCA of Central Ohio, we believe Columbus is stronger when everyone in the community feels welcome and we can all work together for the common good,” said Stephen Ives, President and CEO. “Welcoming Week is an opportunity for neighbors – both immigrants and U.S.-born residents – to connect, find common ground and celebrate our shared values – all for a better us.”

“Communities recognize the benefits of being welcoming and ensuring that everyone can fully contribute to a community’s prosperity,” said David Lubell, founder and executive director of Welcoming America. “Welcoming Week events are a powerful way to promote cross-cultural understanding and build bridges between new and long-time residents, which results in stronger communities for all.”

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

The YMCA of Central Ohio wants families in and around Columbus to understand how adopting healthy habits can help reduce childhood obesity

[Columbus, OH, Sept. 6, 2017] – September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and while the dangers of childhood obesity are well chronicled, many families need support changing their families’ habits with the ultimate goal of being a healthy weight. That’s why the YMCA of Central Ohio— a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health—wants families to understand the dangers of childhood obesity and ways to reverse course through improved eating habits and increased physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity has remained stable at about 17 percent and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents. Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. 

“Successfully lowering obesity rates in children requires the whole family to change their eating and physical activity habits,” said Becky Ciminillo, Vice President of Youth Development, “Kids learn unhealthy habits at home, and many parents or caregivers don’t realize how the choices they make affects those who look up to them.”

“Additionally, if families don’t know how to get started, reaching out to your health care provider or organizations like the Y that provide support are great first steps.”

The following tips are some great ways to incorporate healthier eating habits and more physical activity and into your daily family routine:

• Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together.  Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals, and allow children to pour their own water.

• Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.

• Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

• Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).

• Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.

In addition to being healthy at home, there is a need to maintain healthy habits while attending out-of-school programs. To create healthy environments for all children the [INSERT Y] is implementing Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards in our before and after school programs. Our goal is to make the healthy choice the easy choice for your child while he or she is in our care.
To foster your child’s health, the Y strives to:

• Provide a fruit and/or vegetable at all meals and snacks.
• Only provide low-fat milk and water as beverages.
• Serve meals and snacks family-style.
• Set limits on screen time.
• Provide daily physical activity (outdoors when possible).
• Promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for infants.
• Adults model healthy food and beverage choices and active play.
• Provide parent/caregiver education to encourage healthy behaviors at home.

Impact of Hurricane Harvey on YMCA’s

Dear Y Family:

Hurricane Harvey continues to churn across Southeast Texas, leaving devastating flooding and damage in its wake. The full extent of the damage to YMCAs is unknown at this point, because heavy rain is falling unabated and accessing Y facilities and sites is very difficult in some areas.

YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) has been able to reach the leaders of four YMCAs in the region thus far: YMCA of the Coastal Bend in Corpus Christi, YMCA of the Golden Crescent in Victoria and Port Lavaca, YMCA of Greater Houston and YMCA of Southeast Texas in Port Arthur. Here is what they reported:

Coastal Bend – Wind and rain damaged its facility, which is closed due to a power outage.

Golden Crescent – Wind and rain damaged its two facilities, which are closed due to a power outage.

Greater Houston – Three facilities are flooded significantly and at least two more are at risk. Staff have not been able to access six facilities to assess the damage to them. All of Houston’s facilities are closed.

Southeast Texas – Facilities have not sustained major damage but are closed due to significant flooding in the area.


We know YMCAs across the country are wondering how best to help our colleagues in Southeast Texas. What we’ve heard from Ys in the region is that they’re still assessing needs and are not able to accept donated goods, so the best way to help right now is through monetary donations.

The Houston Y already is set up to receive monetary donations; go to its website or text HOUSTON to 91999. Y-USA is working to develop an online donation portal for other affected Ys in the region. We hope to have it up and running in the next day or two and will notify you once it is live.

Additionally, the YMCA Retirement Fund is accepting monetary donations specifically to support YMCA staff who have been affected personally by Hurricane Harvey. Make checks out to the YMCA Retirement Fund, designated to the Hurricane Harvey YMCA Staff Fund, and mail them to:

YMCA Retirement Fund
Attn: Hurricane Harvey YMCA Staff Fund
120 Broadway
New York, NY 10271-1999


Y-USA will be in contact with Y leaders in Southeast Texas as often as conditions allow, and we promise to keep you updated.


Kent Johnson
Executive V.P./Chief Operations Officer
YMCA of the USA

Five Ways to Work Out with the Whole Family

Last month, we told you all about how healthy it is to spend time together as a family. This time, we’ll dive into some ways you can spend time together as a family while getting physical activity at the same time.

Here’s five ways you and your family can exercise together (and have fun!):

1.) Take a walk
Whether it’s with a pet, at a park, around the neighborhood, or on the walking track, walking is an easy, low-impact workout that is perfect for families to do together. Studies have found that regular brisk walking can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Improve your balance and coordination.

2.) Go for a swim
Spend time together in the water! Water is an excellent resistant, and even just simple movements in the pool like walking or treading water can quickly burn calories. Your kids will love to splash around with you, and you’ll get the benefits of a good workout while doing so. At the Y, you’ll never have to worry about inclement weather- our pools are open year-round, so you can always take a dip regardless of the season.

3.) Play a sport
You may think this way to exercise is better fit for kids, however, instead of just watching your child play a sport, joining in and playing with them can be hugely beneficial for both parties. So, throw that football or baseball back and forth, kick around the soccer ball together, or shoot some hoops together at the Y. No matter what sport you choose, playing with your child will not only enhance their skills, but it will also create a stronger bond.

4.) Take a Group Exercise Class
At the Y, you have access to more than 600 group exercise classes weekly as a member. Yoga, Zumba, BootCamp, and Cycling are all great classes to do as a family-- there is no age restriction on who can participate in a class! The next time you are looking to switch up your workout- try a new class, and bring the entire family with you for a great time.

5.) Volunteer
Volunteering is great for your mental and emotional health- but many of our volunteer opportunities also offer a physical benefit as well. Check out some of our upcoming volunteer opportunities and bring the entire family to bond together while strengthening your community at the same time.

Tis the Season: Family Time

School may be looming around the corner, but it’s not in session yet! It’s still summer, which means it’s time to make the most of the coming weeks. Grill out, soak up some rays, lounge by the pool, and perhaps the most rewarding (and simultaneously most difficult to achieve) summer pastime: quality time with your family.

“What are you talking about?” you may think. “I’m around my family all the time!”

However, quality time doesn’t mean just watching tv together or sitting in the same room, absorbed in your own projects. It’s the minutes you spend each day actually being present with your family, talking, playing or otherwise giving them your full attention.

Even committing to one hour a day of quality interaction can be a struggle. With all of the distractions and obligations in our lives, the hours tend to whiz by, leaving you to sink, exhausted, into bed at night… only to realize that you got through the entire day without connecting with your family in a meaningful way.

However, it’s worth building time into your schedule to connect with your kids, spouse, and other family members. Quality time is important for the whole family, but it’s even more important for your kids. When it comes to your children, the effects of quality time are transformative and will affect your child for many years to come.

Influence Future Habits
Studies show that your friends and family are highly influential when it comes to the kind of lifestyle you lead. For many years, family is the single biggest influence on what a child perceives to be normal, especially when it comes to relationships with other people. Emphasizing quality time and giving your child your full attention gives you the opportunity to show your child how they should treat others and what kind of relationships they should seek out.

Lessen the Likelihood of Substance Abuse
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has found that, compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol, and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.

Reduce Stress
It turns out that spending quality “talk time” with Mom can help lower stress, reports CNN. In the study, such interactions seemed to decrease stress hormones and increase the feel-good chemical oxytocin among girls between ages 7 and 12. "Mothers know without being instructed how to soothe a child," oxytocin researcher Anne Campbell, of Durham University. "They know because they come from a long line of women whose genes remained in the gene pool because they kept their kids alive."

Reduce Obesity
Spending time with your child can go beyond healthy emotional development and affect physical health. A study published in Pediatrics shows that the relationship between a mom and her child when the child is young seems to be associated with his or her weight later on as a teen. Specifically, young kids with close relationships with their moms are less likely to be obese in the study in adolescence, says the Huffington Post, compared with those with more distant relationships with their moms during toddlerhood.

Individual Time and Attention
Children who get regular quality time with their family don’t feel the need to act out in order to get attention. When children seek attention through negative behavior, it leads to added stress on the parent-child relationship, which can cause a vicious cycle of emotional and behavioral issues.

Strengthening Family Bonds
Finally, being together as a family brings all of you closer together. Spending time as a group creates memories and allows bonds to grow and strengthen, which only continues over time as children grow older and sibling and parent-child dynamics shift and take on new meanings. When your children have grown up with a tight-knit base they know they can return to, it makes it easier to build on those relationships and continue to stay close as time goes on.

Where to go from here?

Do you want to spend more quality time with your family, but you're struggling to fit it into your schedule? Let us help. This summer, we have all kinds of fun family events to help you connect with your loved ones-- and many of them are free and open to the whole community. Just check out our summer event list to find out what activities sound best for you.

Before school and all of the accompanying clubs, sports, and other craziness make it twice as difficult to spend time with the most important people in your life, bring your family closer together at the Y.

Childcare at the Y: Your Ultimate Guide

The Boy Scouts know what they’re talking about: it never hurts to consider all the possibilities so you can stay prepared to tackle whatever the future throws at you.

Right now, the days are long and sunny, but the school year is on the horizon, which means it’s time to think about what kind of childcare and education will be best for your family in the upcoming months. The Y is the largest provider of childcare in central Ohio, which means we have programs available for all kinds of family situations.

You may already know that we offer childcare for our members while they work out, but did you know that we also offer preschool, early learning centers, support for children with disabilities, and even more? With so many demands on today's families, parents like you need all the support they can get.

This school year, channel your inner Boy Scout and be prepared. Read on to learn more about the depth and breadth of our programs and discover what’s right for you and your child!


Do you need short-term childcare while you’re working out or socializing at the Y?

To help make your busy life a little easier, we have Child Watch and Kids Time are available for parents who would like to bring their children to the YMCA while using the facility!

Child Watch:
6 weeks-5 months, 1 1/2 hr per day
6 months-6 years, 2 1/2 hours per day

Kids Time: 6-12 years old

Learn More

Do you need full-day infant-through-preschool age child care?

We have three Early Learning Centers in Columbus: KIPP, Hilltop, and our YMCA Early Learning Centers.

Our centers are licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our staff are well-trained in early childhood education and follow age-appropriate lesson plans designed to stimulate children’s minds, provide a warm, caring, and safe environment, and ensure a fun and creative experience.

Learn More

Do you fit the following criteria?

Have a child who is age 3, 4 or 5 and who is not yet eligible for kindergarten?
Live in one of the following zip codes: 43119, 43123, 43140, 43146, 43207, 43228, 43147, or 43217?

If so, here’s why Head Start is a great choice for your child:

Learning Experiences: Starting early and right with quality learning experiences through Head Start can help your child succeed now and throughout life.
Skilled Teachers: Our teachers understand early childhood development and are committed to helping each preschool child prepare for a successful kindergarten experience.
Affordability: If your family meets our income qualifications, there is no cost for Head Start.
Accessibility: We provide Head Start services to children who have disabilities. Additionally, foster children and children affected by homelessness are automatically eligible for our services.

Learn More

Is your child ready for their first big preschool adventure?

Luckily, the YMCA of Central Ohio offers State Licensed Preschool programs at 5 of our branches.

Our programs follow the State of Ohio Standards in Early Childhood Education through an enriching curriculum that focuses on kindergarten readiness, literacy and math enrichment, science, social studies, social and emotional development, health, fitness and diversity. Some locations even offer swim time!

The YMCA Preschool is a great way for your little one to interact with other children and gain the social skills they will need as they grow and mature.

Learn More

Is your child already in school? Does he or she need a safe, nurturing environment during the hours before or after class?

The YMCA of Central Ohio offers State Licensed Before and/or After School Care at over 50 locations throughout Central Ohio, allowing children to supplement their education with programming that helps them learn, grow and develop social skills.

Our programs allow for activity choice, but they also provide an educationally based curriculum which in includes homework assistance and KidzLit, an after school literacy program. The Y-Club curriculum is designed around these eight core services:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Character Development
  • Health
  • Wellness & Fitness
  • Homework Support
  • Literacy
  • Science & Technology
  • Service Learning & Social Competence
  • Conflict Resolution

Learn More

Does your child have special needs?

The Y is here to support you. ECRN+ has more than 30 years of experience working with children who have special needs (developmental delays, disabilities and special health care needs) and their families.

This program provides ongoing family service coordination for eligible children (birth to 5 years old) and their families, as well as providing services and resources for children, teens and young adults, such as training for educators, childcare workers, parents, professionals and preschool staff members, an equipment exchange program, and tools for families to make informed decisions.

Learn More

At the Y, we are committed to nurturing the potential in every child, and the above programs are just a few of the ways we do so. Child care at the Y is about more than looking after kids. It's about nurturing their development, providing a safe place to learn foundational skills, developing healthy, trusting relationships and building self-reliance through the Y core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

Building a Better Us: $1.5 Million Raised in YMCA Annual Campaign


YMCA of Central Ohio President and CEO Stephen Ives celebrates with Annual Campaign Board Chair Jamie Richardson

Building a Better Us: $1.5 Million Raised in YMCA Annual Campaign

Philanthropy Campaign Creates Increased Potential to Impact Lives in Central Ohio

[COLUMBUS, OH] (June 15, 2017)—Thanks to the generosity of the central Ohio community and the dedication of staff and volunteers, the YMCA of Central Ohio’s For a better us™ campaign has met its annual fundraising goal by raising over $1.5 million. The philanthropic support garnered by the campaign represents a new high for the organization, exceeding fundraising in previous annual campaigns.

The support and donations from the For a better us™ campaign are essential to meeting needs and creating lasting change in Columbus and surrounding counties.“The Y works to ensure all individuals have the support they need to achieve their full potential, regardless of ability to pay” said Steve Ives, President and CEO for the YMCA of Central Ohio. “We work here in central Ohio and surrounding communities to provide services addressing the most critical social issues.”

The Y hopes to continue this philanthropic momentum in the coming months. “Donations make our mission a reality, allowing us to provide affordable and accessible high quality childcare, life-changing experiences and summer learning opportunities for children through programs such as camp, housing services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, support for families with children with special needs, and wellness and recreation activities,” explains Ives. “These are often programs that go unrecognized as part of the Y, but are at the core of our service to the community. Last year, annual philanthropic support helped us to have more than $16 million in community impact.” 

The YMCA’s annual fundraising is a part of a nationwide Y-USA multimedia marketing campaign designed to educate consumers on the Y’s work as one of the most effective and enduring charitable organizations in the country. The national For a better us™ campaign raises awareness of the work the Y does in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility to address pressing social issues in more than 10,000 communities around the country.

The campaign launched with two powerful public awareness spots, Places and Idle Hands, each depicting a different problem America faces today. Both spots close by highlighting the Y’s work on the ground, helping to serve communities by providing safe spaces and mentorship and volunteerism opportunities.

“This bold campaign underscores the importance of the life-changing work performed by Y staff and volunteers around the country,” said Kevin Washington, President and CEO of YMCA of the USA. “On a daily basis they drive the positive change and outcomes that strengthen our communities and the people who call them home.”

Welcoming our New Membership Software

Drumroll, please...

The YMCA of Central Ohio is excited to announce the launch of our new membership software, PERSONIFY! This software will replace our current system with easier to use account management and more! Our official roll out is scheduled for July 18th. When you log into your account, you’ll see a slick screen with new and improved options to enhance your online experience.

Making a change like this requires a lot of careful consideration of what’s best for you - our members. The new software is designed to make your experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible:

  • Personify is intuitive and user-friendly, which means you’ll get the hang of it right away.
  • The design is clean, simple and easy on the eyes.
  • Finally, a membership software that’s mobile friendly! Now you’ll be able to take care of your Y-related business from anywhere with ease via your smartphone or tablet.
  • Personify offers a plethora of options to keep your information all in one place: easily keep your credit card information updated, upload waivers at the touch of a button, and store health forms for easy access.

We’re really excited about this change and we hope you will be, too. Faster registration means you can jump to the reason you’re at the Y more quickly-- whether that’s jamming out in your favorite fitness class, watching your little ones excel in swim lessons, or bonding with friends and neighbors while playing pickleball.

For the past several months, we’ve been training staff and preparing for the roll out of our new technology. We appreciate your patience as we adapt to the new system. There’s a lot to learn on our side, but we’re up for the task to make sure your experience is the best it can be.

Stay tuned for tips on how to manage your user profile, coming soon!

Tackling Summer Learning Loss

Schools are out, vacations are on, and kids across the country are enjoying a break from traditional learning. While it is important to sit back, relax, and enjoy the downtime, the Y is here to prevent the summer from having a negative effect on a youth’s development. Studies have shown that the break in the summer months can set children back significantly in their academics. However, when kids are active and engaged, amazing things can happen.

Summer camps have all kinds of benefits: kids socialize, spend time in the great outdoors, and have a blast all around. But one of the things that sets YMCA camp apart from other summer camps is our efforts to keep children’s brains in tip-top shape, even when they’re outside of the classroom for months at a time.

Across our YMCA Day Camps this summer, more than 3,000 kids will commit to spending 30 minutes of their daily camp experience reading. This is possible through collaboration with the Columbus Metropolitan Library Mobile Library Metro Mouse and books through the First Books Program. At our Ward, Hilltop, Vaughn, Garver and North camps, which have a collective 240 slots funded by Temporary Assistance to Need Families (TANF), kids will experience 30 minutes of math along with their daily 30 minutes of reading.

These math and reading activities are even incorporated in daily programming. Staff pose tasks and challenges that promote problem solving and critical thinking.  For example, while playing basketball, younger campers can track the score of games and add points together or count the number of passes before each shot is taken and older campers may look at probability in game statistics or camp court measurements compared to regulation court measurements.

In addition to these efforts, the YMCA is part of an initiative co-sponsored by Learn4Life and Learning Circle, providing us access to Columbus City School data on children who are in our care. Through this data, staff can identify areas and concepts in math and language arts that their campers need to work on as they participate in our YMCA Summer Programming.

In addition to offering reduced rates for summer camp and high-quality childcare, the YMCA of Central Ohio seeks to close the opportunity gap for low income children with a Summer Learning Prevention Program at Stiles Elementary, operated in partnership with the Southwestern School District.

The Stiles Summer Learning Prevention Program is a part of YMCA of the USA’s national initiative to close the achievement gap. It pairs literacy instruction provided by certified teachers from the SWCS district in the morning with afternoon enrichment led by YMCA youth development staff including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities, arts, sports and recreation and weekly swim lessons and field trips - all capped off by a healthy lunch.

The goal of the program is to prevent summer learning loss and increase math and reading performance for low-income elementary students performing below grade level. In past years, first graders who participated gained a half year in grade equivalency and rising second graders experienced no slide, better preparing them for the start of the upcoming school year. One hundred percent of parents said the program helped their children to read more often, and with the addition of the another grade level in 2016, the program was able to help students approaching the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

Liz Nusken, Technical Advisor for the Achievement Gap Initiatives under the Youth Development and Social Responsibility Division of the YMCA of the USA, observed the Stiles Elementary program and noted the thoughtful connections built between the academic and enrichment activities, saying “In the afternoon of my visit, students took a field trip to a historical working farm where they saw farm animals and were able to collect chicken eggs. There was significant tie in with morning work that related to farm animals and writing about what they might see and then the afternoon trip to the farm.”

“It was clear from my visit that that the program was having a positive impact on the Stiles community,” said Nusken. “This was a very happy and engaging learning environment and that the staff were doing a great job encouraging the children.”

From our Stiles Elementary program to Day Camp across central Ohio, the Y wants to prevent summer learning loss for every child. To educate yourself and learn what’s available to you, read up on some summer learning loss stats, find out more about the YMCA’s Day Camp program, or learn about Summer Learning Day!

YMCA of Central Ohio to open New American Welcome Center

Giving newcomers from across the city access to a safe, supportive environment

In our current political climate, immigrant and refugee issues have become hot-button topics that spur heated debate on in congress, fiery commentary on late-night shows, and passionate Facebook comment threads. However, in the midst of our current tangled political moment, the YMCA has chosen to take a step back from all of the controversy and heed our mission: to be here for all.

With more than 42 million foreign-born individuals living in the United States, it is more important than ever to foster an environment that encourages immigrant integration and community cohesion. At the Y, our belief that we are here “for all” means loving and welcoming all people in our community as fellow human beings, regardless of where they come from, and doing everything we can to foster success as refugees and immigrants adapt to life in their new home.

To take a step closer to making these ideals a reality, the the YMCA of Central Ohio has been selected by the YMCA of the ­USA to open a New American Welcome Center. This space, where newcomers will have access to necessary resources and to people who care about their success, will be at the North YMCA, in the diverse and growing Northland neighborhood. On June 20th, the center will open to the community for the first time and invite visitors to learn why the Y has chosen to be a supportive place for our newest neighbors.

The YMCA’s New American Welcome Centers (NAWC) are designed to help immigrants—also referred to as newcomers or new Americans—fully integrate into our society, in addition to preparing their receiving communities to be welcoming and inclusive. NAWCs accomplish these goals through a combination of integration services, collaborations with community leaders and businesses, and strategies to connect and build cross-cultural understanding between immigrants and US-born residents.

Areas of service offered to newcomers will include language and education, economic integration and employment, health and well being, citizenship and civic engagement, and community development. This breadth of attention seeks to encourage social, physical, and economic well-being for newcomers, ultimately creating a social and cultural environment in which all groups are accepted as equal members of society with the opportunity—and responsibility— to engage and contribute to the common good.

“We are honored to be a part of the movement to help these New Americans reach their fullest potential,” said Malik Moore, Executive Director of Social Responsibility for the YMCA of Central Ohio. “This space will open with the hopes of giving immigrants and refugees access to supportive services that can kick-start their life in Columbus.”

June is National Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health: Taking Big and Small Steps Towards Wellness

The months have been quietly slipping by, and it may be hard to believe, but it’s already the end of June. As we approach the end of the month and the halfway point of the year, it’s a good time to stop and take stock of your wellness habits and healthy living throughout the beginning of 2017.

If you made any health-related resolutions in January, you can evaluate your progress-- have you slipped away from your goals, or are you still going strong? And if you didn’t make any resolutions, it might be even more important to look back on the first half of 2017 and think about whether you’ve found ways to take care of yourself, and potentially find places where you could make small improvements.

Reflecting on your habits and evaluating your health is important for everyone, but in June, it’s especially relevant for husbands, dads and sons, because it’s National Men’s Health Month.

When it comes to health, men and women tend to fare differently. Men’s life expectancy trails behind that of women, in part because men are less likely than women to seek medical care when they need it and nearly half as likely to take advantage of preventive health measures such as physicals and screening tests. Additionally, men are more likely to smoke and drink, factors that contribute to a variety of health problems.

That knowledge should be a catalyst. There’s a lot of ways to take your health into your own hands: you can add something to your daily routine, like exercising more, getting enough sleep, applying sunscreen, or even taking time to socialize-- or you can reduce harmful activities, such as smoking, alcohol, and tanning.

When it comes to taking steps to improve your general health, like being active, eating well, and surrounding yourself with a caring and uplifting community, the Y is always by your side to help you stay healthy and strong. We even offer personal training and programs like Diabetes Prevention to help you get your health on track.

However, there are also men’s health issues that go beyond day-to-day exercise and healthy habits. We want to draw attention to a specific health issue men face and challenge you to take an active step in looking out for your own health. Remember that statistic we mentioned earlier-- that men are nearly half as likely to take advantage of preventive health measures such as physicals and screening tests?

Well, to make it easier for men get the preventative care they need, Lisa C. Richardson, the director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, compiled a “cheat sheet” to illustrate what kinds of cancer screenings men should be focusing on, which we’ve included below.

She explains that “every year, more than 300,000 men in the United States lose their lives to cancer. The most common kinds of cancer among men in the U.S. are skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal (colon) cancer. There are screenings for each type of these cancers, but the CDC supports screening for colorectal and lung cancers as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).”
Early detection is one of the most important factors when it comes to surviving cancer and other severe illnesses. So, take a step beyond day-to-day wellness and learn what preventative actions you or your loved ones should be taking to take your health into your own hands.

Your Cheat Sheet to Cancer Screenings and Good Health

Walk with a Doc this Summer

Join us twice a month for Walk with a Doc at Woodward Park Recreation Center on Karl Road. Everyone is welcome to join, members and non-members alike!  On each walk, you'll be joined by Y Volunteers and a doctor from the Columbus area who will talk about his or her specialization and answer questions while you all enjoy a 1 mile walk.

This summer, the walks will be held on the first and third Saturday of each month:

June 3rd

June 17th

July 1st

July 15th 

August 5th

August 19th 

Reynoldsburg Community Center YMCA: Coming in 2019

We are proud to announce that the YMCA is coming to Reynoldsburg. The new location, expected to open in spring 2019, will be the YMCA‘s 14th branch in central Ohio. Construction is expected to begin in March 2018.

On May 2nd, a majority of voters approved a 1 percent income-tax increase to build the new facility. The levy will generate about $6.5 million annually, increasing Reynoldsburg’s income-tax revenue by about 54 percent each year.

Of the anticipated new yearly revenue, about $1.5 million will be used to repay a 30-year loan for the new YMCA community center and about $5 million will go towards city improvements.The new Y will be a two-story, 52,000-square-foot building built on 10 acres at the north end of Huber Park, on the site of the old Reynoldsburg Swim Center at 7215 E. Main St. The Reynoldsburg Community Center YMCA will most likely resemble the Delaware Community Center YMCA.

The Reynoldsburg community identified the need for a community recreation center over a year ago, and that dream has finally become a reality. The new branch will expand the Y’s reach in central Ohio, providing even more people with resources they need to grow and flourish.

Like other other central Ohio branches, this new location will provide the community with childcare, recreation facilities, tools for healthy living, and a broad variety of initiatives designed to lift up the community and improve quality of life.

“It was a long, long road to get here, and it feels pretty good,” said Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud. “This is what happens when people pull together.”

Reynoldsburg is currently the largest central Ohio suburb without a pool or community center. However, with this new location, the Y looks forwards to helping the neighborhood to come together, build new connections, and thrive as a community. The Reynoldsburg branch will be the 14th YMCA in the YMCA of Central Ohio associaiton.

“On behalf of the Y, I'd like to congratulate the Reynoldsburg community on taking a major step forward this evening and THANK you for your vote of trust and confidence in our partnership. Great things are ahead!” said Brian Kridler, Senior Vice President of Strategy & Innovation, YMCA of Central Ohio.

Why a Summer Day Camp experience is important


Sure, summer camp is about having fun, learning new skills and enjoying the warm weather outdoors. But what you may not know is how beneficial summer day camp can be to your child. The camp experience is recognized by child development professionals as valuable in helping children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and physically. Here’s the top 10 reasons why a YMCA Summer Day Camp is the best!

Time in the great outdoors. At a YMCA of Central Ohio day camp, 90% of the child’s time is spent outside. This allows children the opportunity to explore, play and be active outside of the YMCA’s four walls.

Meeting new people and making new friends. At a YMCA of Central Ohio Day Camp, counselors are encouraged to foster inclusiveness and a sense of community amongst their groups. Children can make new friends, learn from one another, and meet people that are (or aren’t!) like them.

FREE Swim lessons. Water safety is a critical part of summer at the YMCA. At day camp, children receive daily swim lessons that help them develop life-saving skills.

Character Development. The YMCA infuses the four core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility in daily activities with the campers. Learning and having an understanding of the four core values helps children develop into kind and caring adults.

A reduction in Summer Learning Loss. Studies show that during the summer, kids can show a decline in learning compared to what they experience during the school year. At day camp, kids enjoy activities that keep them learning and engaged all summer long, helping them to retain knowledge gained during the school year.

Gaining a role model. At Day Camp, caring and professional role models are committed to helping kids build confidence and character. The loyalty, dedication and professionalism of our highly trained staff is extraordinary and gives kids someone to look up to. All Day Camp staff are 18 years or older.

A chance to discover who they are. During day camp, kids are exposed to a variety of different hobbies and activities. Exploration of these will help kids discover who they are, and what they have a passion for.

Creating lifelong memories. Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will teach campers lessons, create special friendships and give them treasured memories they will take with them all through their lives. They will end the summer with a renewed sense of joy, responsibility, confidence and an abundance of amazing stories to share.

An active summer. At day camp, kids get what they need to develop physically. This includes fresh air, plenty of play time, and all the good food their bodies need. Day camp gets kids off of the couch and moving!

A sense of belonging. From group chants to team songs, team-building activities and more, children learn what it means to be a part of something.The sense of common purpose and attachment to the identity that a YMCA camp promotes go a long way to offering children a sense of being rooted.

Sign up for day camp now! http://daycamp.ymcacolumbus.org/

Tips for Water Safety

Water Safety Tips

Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14, with children from communities of color at greatest risk. With National Water Safety Month in May and summer around the corner, it’s a great time for parents to remember the importance of ensuring their children are equipped with essential water safety skills. The Y offers Y Swim Lessons, a program that helps reduce the risk of childhood drowning, develop a lifelong love swimming and provide children from underserved communities greater access to water safety programs.

Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.

1. Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.

2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach of you at all time.

3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.

4. Wear a Life Jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 

5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique children can help their friend without compromising their own safety. 

6. Enroll your children in water safety or swim lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before they cross the street, having them participate in formal water safety lessons teaches them an important life skill. The Y’s Swim Lessons teaches children fundamental water safety skills and what to do if they find themselves in water unexpectedly.

Learning how to swim also has multiple benefits beyond the ability to enjoy water safely. It helps children strive for physical achievement, promotes healthy living and builds their confidence. To find out how to enroll your child in the Y’s swim lessons, visit ymcacolumbus.org/swim-lessons

Add Learning How to Swim to Your Child’s List of Basic Life Skills

Add Learning How to Swim to Your Child’s List of Basic Life Skills

There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before you cross the street, washing your hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.

For too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to change.

Fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. Ohio ranks among the top 10 states for child drownings in 2016 and is the highest ranking northern state. The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. The disparity is partly due to the lack of swimming experience among these children.

According to a recent national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis, 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children.

The Y is committed to reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk. During National Water Safety Month this May, the Y offers swim lessons, a program designed to acclimate children to the water, and then teach them life-saving skills.

These classes are just one of the many swim programs that millions of people from toddlers to adults take advantage of at the Y’s more than 2,000 pools across the country. Here in Columbus, Ohio the Y teaches hundreds of children water safety and swimming each year. 

If children know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills by enrolling them in lessons. These classes can provide them a new, exciting way to keep active and meet new friends.

To learn more about the Y’s Swim Lessons, visit ymcacolumbus.org/swim-lessons

May is Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month

The YMCA of Central Ohio encourages older adults in and around Columbus to eat healthy, get active and social

[Columbus, OH May 2nd, 2017] – May is Older Americans Month and the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages all adults 50 years and older in and around Columbus to get motivated and develop behaviors that are crucial to healthy aging, including healthy eating, increasing physical activity and social interaction. 

Adults 50 years and older currently make up more than 30 percent of the U.S. population, and will soon represent 45 percent of all Americans.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults 50 and older have a 70 percent chance of developing at least one chronic disease. While these numbers seem daunting, the good news is that making small lifestyle changes that include increasing physical activity, eating healthier and staying active socially can help older adults live better.

Check out these tips on how older Americans can age healthily!

1. Have fun with your food. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Have fun with your fruits and vegetables by trying them fresh or frozen. Find a new recipe that uses a different source of protein or find a way to incorporate fish or beans into an old favorite. Remember as you age, it’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean meats to help your body get the necessary nutrients.

2. Fill up on fiber and potassium, hold the salt. As you age, your body needs more fiber rich foods to help it stay regular. Aim for a variety of colorful foods on your plate (i.e. fruits and veggies) to keep fiber rich foods a part of your diet. Additionally, increasing potassium along with reducing sodium or salt may lower your risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt are good sources of potassium.

3. Get Active. Physical activity is safe for almost everyone, and the health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do for their health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age (such as osteoporosis and arthritis) and reduce the risk for developing, or help manage, depression, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain kinds of cancers. For older adults who have chronic conditions that hinder their ability to be active on a regular basis, some physical activity is better than none, and older adults who participant in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. 

4. Tweak your routine. To get the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity, change your routine to 10-minute sessions throughout the day. For example, stand on one foot while brushing your teeth to increase balance, and do squats while washing dishes to increase strength. Make sure you can grab hold of something to maintain balance—safety first! To increase your cardio, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther from the entrance to work. When sitting in front of the TV, march during commercials or do some light stretching to break up sitting for long periods.

5. Get social. Socialization is an important part of aging. As we get older, it’s important to be active socially to stay healthy. Take a walk with a friend or a neighbor, join a book club or volunteer at your local pet shelter or local Y. Social interaction provides meaningful engagement, builds relationships, enhances a sense of belonging and provides opportunities for involvement—all resulting in greater bonds and a stronger sense of community. Being connected to the community keeps you healthy!

Volunteering: It’s good for your health!

National Volunteer Week is April 23rd-29th!

President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week with an executive order in 1974, as a way to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers. Since then, the the week has become a nationwide effort to urge people to get out and volunteer in their communities. Every April, charities, hospitals, and communities recognize volunteers and foster a culture of service.

Mental/Physical Health Benefit Statistics:

  • Essentially, having a sense of purpose affects your health. (Source)
  • Volunteers feel socially connected, which reduces depression and anxiety (Source)
  • When Canadian tenth-graders in a recent study began volunteering at an after-school program for children, the high schoolers lost weight and had improved cholesterol profiles compared to their non-volunteering peers.
  • In the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers concluded, “Adolescents who volunteer to help others also benefit themselves, suggesting a novel way to improve health.”
  • In another randomized controlled trial at Washington University in St. Louis, older adults who began tutoring children through a program called Experience Corps demonstrated improvements in stamina, memory, and flexibility, as well as levels of depression
  • New findings further a case for adding volunteering to the list of things that physicians recommend to all patients. (Study, January 2016 journal Social Science and Medicine)
  • Volunteering lowers mortality risk by 24 percent 
  • Those who volunteer regularly live longer
  • A two-year study that looked at 7,168 Americans over age 50 (only some of whom did volunteer work in their communities) found that after adjusting for a wide range of confounding variables, volunteers were more likely to get flu shots, mammograms, Pap smears, cholesterol tests, and prostate exams. Most importantly, volunteering was associated with 38 percent fewer nights spent in the hospital. Volunteers make decisions about their health that are different from non-volunteers. One way to think about this is that when we care for ourselves, in a fundamental way, it allows us to care for others.” (Source)


Find the Y's volunteer opportunities here!

A Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes of Your “Swim and Gym”

If you’ve spent any time at the Y, you know we have weights, yoga, and awesome swimming pools. We hope that you also know we have a tight-knit, supportive, and uplifting community in all of our branches. But you may not be aware of all the work that the Y does to make central Ohio helping underserved parts of our communities. So, if you’ve ever wondered what it is that the Y actually does to create lasting change, we’re here to answer those questions!

One of the easiest ways to look at what we do in and around Columbus is our 5 Pillars. The pillars are subsets of our three focus areas:

Each of our pillars focuses on a different aspect of the work that we do to create better quality of life in our community:

So, what is it that we do? And might it affect you or the people you love? Read on to find out.


Childhood Development and Educational Achievement

The first pillar focuses on the younger members of our community--that is, those in fifth grade and below. We focus on the physical, cognitive and social/emotional growth and progression of children so that they will have more opportunities and brighter futures as they grow older.

In our programs, we seek to provide safe and supportive spaces while fulfilling specific learning goals (such as meeting  “ready to learn” benchmarks and reading at grade level by grade 3) and reducing summer learning loss. Outside of academic-oriented work, we also instill healthy habits, values, and the skills to develop positive relationships and a sense of belonging.

What does this look like?

We prepare children to take on the world with programs like:

Some of these are designed for specific groups, such as children with disabilities or low-income families. However, all of our programs nurture and encourage children to become their best selves.

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Youth and Teen Development

Our support doesn’t stop once your child hits a certain age. We give older youth and teens challenges, experiences, and support that help give them tools to fulfill their potential. We work to further instill the skills, values and behaviors that lead to healthy habits and increased confidence and self-esteem.

Our youth and teen development programs build on our child care and early childhood education to provide social and recreational programs that offer opportunities to explore the world and learn more about art, science, culture, nature and citizenship. We cultivate a desire to be of service to others in the community, a sense of direction, and feelings of hope about the future.

What does this look like?

We work to to prepare youth to be capable, well-adjusted adults through a wide variety of programs:

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Healthy Communities

You may think that this pillar is only tied to fitness and working out, but the truth is that the Y’s resources build not just physical, but also mental, social, and emotional health. We help our community to invest in their future help by reducing the likelihood of chronic disease and developing healthy habits.

We connect individuals and families, creating supportive small communities where people have access to lifelong learning and growth opportunities. This community fosters the development of peer friendships and supportive staff relationships, provides opportunities to help those in need, and exposes individuals and families to the great value of our community’s diversity.

What does that look like?

We offer evidence-based signature chronic disease prevention and maintaince programs like:

We also support healthy activities like swimming, family camp, adult sports, group wellness, wellness behavior tracking and more.

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Housing to Eliminate Homelessness

Preventing and reducing homelessness in central Ohio is a priority for us because we believe that all people deserve to have their their physical, mental, and emotional needs met. We use a “housing first” intervention model to ensure that we connect individuals
with the services that they need in order to end their housing crisis and foster stability.

Our responsibility to our residents, however, goes beyond housing. We give them ongoing support with education, benefits and employment to provide opportunities to overcome barriers. This allows residents to develop the skills and competencies needed to live independently.

We encourage peer friendships and supportive staff relationships, and we nurture feelings of emotional and physical safety by being sensitive to the need for trauma informed care and crisis intervention.

What does that look like?

We serve people suffering from homelessness through:

  • Van BurenCenter
  • Franklin Station
  • Downtown YMCA residential locations
  • strategic partnerships with other community providers
  • programs like Rebuilding Lives, Columbus Sole, and Return Home Ohio

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Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Our final pillar points us continually towards the future. We are always working to ensure that we are growing to better meet the needs of our community. Through continued innovation and training, we seek out creative opportunities to unleash the power of business for social good in our community and within the YMCA. To accomplish our goals, we are continually working to improve our performance in areas such as volunteer engagement, employee skills, technology, and more.

We provide impactful business solutions to identified community and organizational needs, develop stronger leaders within our organization, and accelerate the growth of our Y so that we can serve a broader range of people.

What does that look like?

Along with initiatives to provide shared services to Ys and to develop innovation competencies in our staff and volunteers, we use prototypes to continually push boundaries in efficiency and innovation like:

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That’s a lot, huh?

The incredible breadth and depth of programs is part of what makes the YMCA such an amazing organization. We are so proud to be able to serve the people of central Ohio in so many different ways.

But, the thing is... we can’t do it all on our own. Donations from our community are what makes it possible for us to influence so many people. If you’re interested in giving back and want to support the work that the Y does, we welcome your donation.


  Help us make a better us

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5 days of Action against Child Sexual Abuse

At the YMCA of Central Ohio, we understand that a parent’s worst fear is something happening to their child, and we know how much trust it takes to place your child into someone else’s care.

That’s why, as the largest provider of child care in central Ohio, we do not take your confidence lightly. Every time we welcome a child into our care, it becomes our responsibility to provide a nurturing, safe, and protected environment where he or she can learn, grow and thrive.

Because the YMCA of Central Ohio is committed to the safety of all children, we take steps every day to prevent child abuse. These steps include reference and criminal background checks for all staff and volunteers, requiring all staff to participate in annual child abuse prevention training, and staying vigilant for events out of the ordinary by conducting interviews and evaluations with children and parents. Finally, we take allegations or suspicions of child abuse seriously by reporting to police and state agencies for investigation.

On the week of April 24, the nation will come together to prevent child abuse through KNOW, SEE, RESPOND. During this national prevention week, the YMCA of Central Ohio will join other Ys across the country by conducting additional educational sessions for staff and distributing informational materials to the members, families and communities we serve. We will also be be raising awareness at our Healthy Kid’s Day celebrations on April 29.

We’re highlighting a three-step approach to help adults, parents and staff stay watchful:

Know: Learn how to recognize inappropriate behavior in adults, identify indications of abuse in children, and teach children how they can stay safe.

See: Pay close attention to your children and the people in their lives, staying vigilant for signs of abuse and knowing how to communicate with your child about their experiences.

Respond: If you see a child displaying behavior that matches common warning signs of abuse, notice suspicious actions from an adult, or you hear about something that sounds like abuse, report it immediately.

If you have children or interact with children on a regular basis, we encourage you to learn more about signs of abuse.

You’ll find lots of educational information on social media as the week progresses, so please keep an eye out and share with the people around you. The more people we can reach with this vital information, the better we can protect children throughout central Ohio and communities across the nation.


#ForABetterUs Membership Photo Sweepstakes

Win a year membership to the Y!

How? It’s simple! Participate in our #ForABetterUs photo challenge below for your chance to win!

One winner will be selected from your branch. Winners must have current email address and phone number on file. No purchase necessary to enter or win.


ELIGIBILITY:  To be eligible to participate in the Promotion, you must be (i) a resident of central Ohio or (ii) at least 18 years of age, and (iii) a legal U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident at the time of entry.  Membership to the YMCA of Central Ohio is not required to enter. YMCA of Central Ohio reserves the right to verify your eligibility if you are named as a winner in the Promotion. Employees of the YMCA of Central Ohio, their immediate families (spouse, parents, children, siblings and their respective spouses), and individuals living in the same household as such employees are not eligible to enter this Promotion.

HOW TO ENTER:  No purchase is necessary.  The Promotion begins on April 4, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. EST and ends on May 31, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. EST.  You may enter the Promotion by participating in the #ForABetterUs photo challenge and posting your answer on social media. Everyone has an equal chance of winning.  All entries must be complete.  Incomplete, inaccurate, or forged entries are void.  Limit one entry per person. By entering, you are giving the YMCA of Central Ohio permission to share and use your posts for future use.

PRIZE:  There will be one (1) prize per YMCA of Central Ohio branch, plus an online winner, a total of 14 winners of the sweepstakes. The prize is a free one-year citywide membership to the YMCA of Central Ohio (retail value of up to $800).  The membership prize must be activated by June 30, 2017, and will be valid for 12 months from the date of activation. The odds of winning the prize depend on the number of eligible entries received.  Prize is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent allowed.

DRAWING AND NOTIFICATION: A random drawing will be held at the YMCA of Central Ohio Metropolitan Offices on or about June 1 from all eligible entries received by the Y.  The winner will be notified by email or via their social media account(s) no later than June 3, 2017.  In the event of undeliverable prize notification or the winner’s noncompliance with the rules herein, the prize may be forfeited and awarded to an alternative winner. Except where legally prohibited, entry constitutes permission to use winner’s name for publicity purposes without further compensation.

GENERAL CONDITIONS:  By participating in the Promotion, you agree to release and hold harmless the YMCA of Central Ohio and its affiliates and their respective employees, officers, directors, successors and assigns from any and all liability for any injuries, losses or damage of any kind which may arise in connection with this Promotion or the acceptance and/or use of any prize.  Taxes, and all other expenses not specified herein, if any, are the responsibility of the winner. YMCA of Central Ohio reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who does not comply with any of the rules stated herein.  Void where prohibited by law. The Promotion is subject to all applicable federal, state, municipal, and local laws and regulations.

Healthy Kids Day 2017

Nothing charges up kids like summer—and Healthy Kids Day® is the Y's official start to the best summer ever!  So make sure your kids get the most they can out of this summer...in spirit, mind and body.  Everyone is welcome to enjoy the fun!

On Saturday, April 29, the YMCA of Central Ohio is celebrating the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families. This free event  will include fun active play and educational activities to keep kids moving and learning, in order to maintain healthy habits and academic skills to achieve goals and reach their full potential. Millions of children and their families are expected to participate in Healthy Kids at nearly 1,600 events across the country.

Join us at your local branch on April 29, 2017 for fun activities for the kids and family. Find information about the events at each branch below. Keep an eye on this page--we will continue to add branches and update the information as time goes on! 

Delaware (8:30-11:30am)

  • 5k/1 mile run/walk
  • Kickball Tournament
  • Touch-A-Truck
  • Bounce House 
  • And much, much more to come!

Grove City (9:00am-12:00pm)

  • Games, crafts, activities and more

North (10am-2pm)

  • PNC Mobile learning unit 
  • Activies
  • Games

Hilliard (10:00am-2:00pm)

  • More information soon

Hilltop (10:00am-2:00pm)

  • Field Games
  • Activities
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Vendors
  • And much, much more to come!

Jerry L. Garver (1:00-4:00pm)

  • Field Games
  • Activities
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Vendors
  • Cook-out from 4:00-5:00pm
  • And much, much more to come!

Pickaway (10:00am-1:00pm)

  • Community fair
  • STEM
  • Creative Arts
  • Gymnastics, Dance and Martial Arts Demos
  • Hockey
  • And much, much more to come!

Liberty (10am-1pm)

  • Games
  • Activites
  • Crafts
  • Cooking demo
  • Vendors
  • Community cycling ride

Eldon and Elsie Ward Family YMCA (12:00pm-3:00pm)

  • More information soon!

Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA (12-3pm)

  • Games, crafts, activities and more!

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA (11am-2pm)

  • Food trucks, critters, bounce houses, face painting, games and more!

Hilliker YMCA (9am-11:30am)

  • Games, activities, crafts, vendors


American Heart Month Tips

American Heart Month Tips

February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Ohio offers the following tips to help families in Columbus, Ohio be heart healthy.

1. Get Physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.

2. Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.

3. Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.

4. Feeling the Pressure: Per the American Heart Association lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 80 million people) has high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with you doctor if needed.

5. Play Together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park. 

For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, visit ymcacolumbus.org

February is American Heart Month

Make a Vow to Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce Sodium Intake during American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month and as a leading community-based organization committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Ohio urges everyone in Columbus to help prevent heart disease by lowering your blood pressure. Two ways to keep the pressure off your heart are by monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the nation’s number one killer, responsible for 1 in 3 deaths each year in the United States. Additionally, 32.6 percent—about 80 million adults—have high blood pressure with less than half having it under control. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities, and is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

To address the prevalence of heart disease, the Y has made a national commitment to the Million Hearts campaign, an initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes. 

Besides monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Per the American Heart Association (AHA), too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

The Y offers the following tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help reduce sodium in your diet. 

1. Think fresh: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
2. Enjoy home-prepared foods: Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.
3. Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium: Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
4. Adjust your taste buds:  Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.
5. Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk.

The YMCA of Central Ohio offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals. Learn more by visiting ymcacolumbus.org or stopping into your local Y.

New Membership Policy

The Y strives to understand why a member is choosing to leave us and to the best of our ability seeks to resolve any issues or dissatisfaction a member may have. Losing valuable members of our family is something we take very serious. We often find that members prefer to stay with the Y and any issues can be resolved. However, we also understand that circumstances may arise that cannot be avoided and the difficult decision to leave the Y is necessary.

Effective January 1, 2017 the YMCA of Central Ohio will require 30 days written notice of membership cancellation. Our current policy allows a member to cancel in writing, 5 days (not business days) prior to their bank draft date. This practice has proven to cause issues of unanticipated bank drafts, lengthy processes for refunds, difficulty in timely communication with banking institutions and more.

As you know, joining the YMCA of Central Ohio is not a contract-based membership and we do not charge a cancellation fee which is very common in the industry. Therefore, this is a policy that is more closely aligned with most standard business policies.

Thank you for being a valued YMCA member.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is changing?

The YMCA of Central Ohio is updating its Membership Cancellation Policy, effective January 1, 2017.
Our current policy allows a member to cancel in writing 5 days (not business days) prior to their bank draft date. The new policy will require 30 days notice of cancellation in writing.

How will this affect my membership if I need to cancel?

If a member cancels without providing the required 30 days written notice, the member will experience an additional bank draft before their membership is officially canceled. Regardless, a notice of written cancellation is still required.

Why is the cancellation policy changing?

Our current policy’s time frame does not provide the Y enough time to submit updated information to banking institutions. This practice has proven to cause issues of unanticipated drafts, overdrafts, lengthy processes for refunds, difficulty in timely communication with banking institutions and more.

Additionally, the Y strives to understand why a member is choosing to leave us and, to the best of our ability, seeks to resolve any issues or dissatisfaction a member may have.With such a short time frame currently offered for cancellation, we lose valuable members of our family. We often find members prefer to stay with the Y and any issues can be resolved quickly.

Since YMCA memberships are not contract-based and no cancellation fee is charged, which is very common in the industry, this is a policy that falls in line with most standard business practices.

How does this change benefit members?

When a member makes the difficult decision to leave the Y and provides the required 30 days written notice, they can feel comfortable knowing they will not be drafted unexpectedly after 30 days or worry about having sufficient funds to cover an unexpected draft. Additionally, this will prevent members from having to wait for a refund which is a common occurrence with the current five day policy.

Members who have provided the required 30 days notice will still have access to the Y to utilize the remaining days of their membership, guest passes and accessibility to classes and programs at the member rate.

Finally, if a member has had an unsatisfactory experience, we want to make every effort to correct an issue to the member’s satisfaction.

Does this policy apply when if I place my account on hold or downgrade my/our membership to another category?

Yes, the 30 days of written notice for changes that affect the member’s bank draft amount will be affected by this policy.

The Y Organizes Child Care Initiative, Zoe’s Kids Day Out, on Election Day to Support Busy Parents

The Y’s Zoe for President Campaign Aims to Get Parents to the Polls
The Y Organizes Nationwide Child Care Initiative, Zoe’s Kids Day Out, on Election Day to Support Busy Parents

Columbus, OH (October 31, 2016)— Today the YMCA of Central Ohio announced Zoe’s Kids Day Out; an initiative to host child care services on Election Day, providing busy parents and caregivers the opportunity to make it easier to get to the polls on November 8. Acknowledging taking kids to the polls may add stress for busy parents and caregivers, the Y is committed to doing its part to make sure all Americans can vote.

The YMCA of Central Ohio will offer varieties of child care/child watch on November 8. Some YMCA branches are polling locations. Please check your local YMCA for more information.

Zoe’s Kids Day Out is a component of Zoe for President, the Y’s effort to elect a one-year-old girl as our nation’s Commander in Chief…in 2064. It highlights the potential the Y sees in all kids to grow up and change the world if they’re nurtured properly and supported along the way. Through Y initiatives like child care, academic enrichment, mentorship, college prep, job training, and more, kids have the opportunities to succeed, grow, and one day, maybe even become president. The Y aims to impart the values of what it means to achieve—how hard work, determination, perseverance and character can drive someone to success beyond what they thought possible.

“Our hope is that Zoe’s Kids Day Out helps parents and caregivers make sure their voices are heard, and the very children we care for are given every opportunity to reach their future potential,” said Tina Badurina, Vice President of Marketing and Communication, YMCA of Central Ohio. “As the largest provider of child care in the country, the Y sees the potential in all kids and understands if given the opportunity to succeed, children can grow up to be anything they want—including president.”

Zoe’s Kids Day Out initiative is part of Zoe’s larger campaign to “Rattle the Vote,” and encourage voter participation. Another component of “Rattle the Vote” is a customizable social media video generator available November 1. The video generator will give users an opportunity to create “Get Out The Vote” video messages from Zoe on ZoeForPresident.net that they can share with their friends and family on social media channels.

This initiative marks the second phase of the Y’s For a better us™ campaign, a multi-year, multi-faceted effort to engage more people with the Y and its mission as a nonprofit.  Earlier this year, the Y launched two powerful television commercials, Places, and Idle Hands, each spotlighting a different problem that communities in America face today.  Both spots showcased the Y’s nonprofit work on the ground, engaging and enriching kids and families through safe spaces, mentorship, education, meal programs and more.

Healthy Weight and Your Child

Healthy Weight and Your Child is back this fall! Reclaim your family’s health through healthier eating habits and an active lifestyle through Healthy Weight and Your Child. The YMCA of Central Ohio is participating nationally in a pilot program to address childhood obesity in youth ages 7-13, with a body mass index of 95th percentiles or higher. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. The program is for the children and their families and will be offered at the following YMCA of Central Ohio locations:

Delaware Community Center YMCA
Start date - September 12, 2016
Class held on Monday and Wednesday from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Contact Amy Mosser: amosser@ymcacolumbus.org

Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA
Start date - September 15, 2016
Class held on Thursday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and Sunday 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Contact Michael Weber: michael.weber@ymcacolumbus.org

Eldon and Elsie Ward Family YMCA
Start date - September 13, 2016
Class held on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 pm to 8 pm
Contact Kelci Dillard: kelci.dillard@ymcacolumbus.org

All branch contact: Kelci Dillard: kelci.dillard@ymcacolumbus.org



YMCA of Central Ohio wins United Way 2016 Champion of Children Award

YMCA of Central Ohio wins United Way 2016 Champion of Children Award

The YMCA of Central Ohio was named as the non-profit organization, 2016 Champion of Children Winner by the United Way of Central Ohio. Today’s announcement was made at the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s weekly meeting. Honored as the individual winner was Columbus City Schools Superintendent, Dan Good.

“We are extremely honored to have received such a prestigious award,” stated Steve Ives, President and CEO for the YMCA of Central Ohio. “We are committed to the development, care and nurturing of all children and thank the United Way of Central Ohio for this extraordinary recognition.”

Each year, the United Way of Central Ohio names one local individual and organization for demonstrating exceptional commitment to local education efforts. The YMCA of Central Ohio was nominated by PNC Bank for the 2016 honor.

“It is truly fitting that Dan Good was recognized for his work with Columbus City Schools,” said Ives. “Columbus City Schools is an exceptional community partner to the Y shares our vision for the potential of all central Ohio youth. Our congratulations go to Dan and his leadership of Columbus City Schools.”

Celebrating National Welcoming Week at the New American Festival

By Malik Moore, Global Initiatives and Executive Director, North YMCA, Columbus, Ohio.

Every September for the last four years, the YMCA of Central Ohio has partnered with our neighbors at Ethiopian Tawahedo Social Services (ETSS) to celebrate Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year, and also welcome our neighbors from across the globe during National Welcoming Week. The festival has grown in number as well as cultural diversity, with over 1,000 attendees from African, Asian, Latin American, and resident communities. The languages, cultures, and traditions of these groups vary, but all have come together for a common cause: to become self-sufficient and establish roots in a new country.

In the spirit of this transition, the strength and cultures of each of Central Ohio’s new communities come together for the New American Festival in Columbus, Ohio, which takes place in conjunction with Enkutatash. Columbus is a community that celebrates many holidays and festivals - Asian Festival, PRIDE, the Puerto Rican Festival, and Greek Festival to name some. Sadly, many of our newest communities are not large enough to have their very own celebration. Thanks to Dr. Seleshi Asfaw, Executive Director of ETSS, and Laura Berger, Director of Development, the New American Festival is a celebration for all. People of all walks of life come together to celebrate - Ethiopian, Cambodian, Burmese, Somali, Nigerian - and so many more. The New American Festival is a great way to bring the Columbus community together and is now a regular part of National Welcoming Week. "When you come to the New American Festival, you see faces of all colors" said Dr. Asfaw.

"When you come to the New American Festival, you see faces of all colors"

The face of Central Ohio is rapidly changing, with over 110,000 New Americans living in Franklin County. Resettlement agencies represent and serve New Americans from over 40 different countries. In 2016, we anticipate the largest New American Festival crowd ever - more than 2,000 people – including newcomers from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and individuals from Central Ohio communities who have an interest in learning more about their new neighbors, co-workers and classmates. There will be street art, food vendors, World Cup-styled soccer tournaments, and stage performances from people representing a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. There will also be a fleet of community service agencies present to engage and connect with some of our communities’ newest and most amazing residents.

National Welcoming Week 2016 will take place September 16-25. 

Thank you National Swimming Pool Foundation




Thank you to the National Swimming Pool Foundation for their $10,000 grant to kick-start the Safety Around Water Program.  This grant will be very helpful in the development of the program and could generate more support for next year.

The YMCA’s Safety Around Water program helps to make sure youth learn essential water safety skills, which can open up a world of possibilities for them to satisfy their curiosity safely.  Through learning how to perform a sequenced set of skills over eight lessons of 40 minutes each, the risk of drowning is reduced, giving your child confidence in and around water.

A typical session includes exercises to help kids adjust to being in water, specific safety topics like what to do if you see someone in the water who needs help, and fun activities that reinforce skills.  Swimming lessons are associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in ages 1-4.

Sign up for your child for lessons now. Visit http://www.ymcacolumbus.org/swim-lessons for more information.

YMCA Summer Food Program

1 in 4 central Ohio children don’t know where their next meal will come from. Last summer, the YMCA of Central Ohio provided 25,782 breakfasts, 75,373 lunches and 6,483 snacks through 16 sites in impoverished communities where children struggle to find food while away from school.

Now in it’s fourth year, the YMCA will expand it’s reach, adding a mobile van traveling to two new sites at a Metro Park just outside the Grove City area and a near West Side apartment complex. Funding for the food is sponsored by Columbus Recreation and Parks. Funding for recreational activities and staff is funded through the Walmart Foundation. 

Open feeding sites attract in excess of 250 children per day who are hungry, but also benefit from the one hour of physical activity provided.

Thank You Justice Clothing Store


On Friday, May 20, Justice Clothing Store generously donated boxes of children's clothing and accessories.  The donations were distributed to needy kids and families at the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA.  Thank you for your kind donation, Justice Clothing Store!

YMCA of Central Ohio is a Kiwanis Club Centennial Grant Recipient

Kiwanis Club of Columbus Celebrates Centennial with YMCA of Central Ohio

Celebrating their historic centennial milestone at the Ohio Statehouse, the Kiwanis Club of Columbus applauded the work of four local non-profits, all of which are committed to serving central Ohio youth.  With an unprecedented investment of $100,000 beyond their annual contributions to our community, the YMCA of Central Ohio, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Boys & Girls Clubs and the Columbus Children’s Choir each received grants to fulfill critical projects at their respective agencies.  Representing the YMCA of Central Ohio at the event, president and CEO Stephen Ives stated, “We are extremely privileged to be recognized by an organization like Kiwanis that intentionally focuses on youth serving organizations. We look forward to the opportunities we have in partnering with the agencies honored this evening and continuing to expand our collective impact on central Ohio youth.”

The YMCA of Central Ohio received a $30,000 grant from Kiwanis for critical updates at Hoover YMCA Park, one of the Association’s premier Day Camp locations.  This grant will allow the Y to have a greater impact on youth through expansion of its performance space for teens and renovation of the Park’s Adventure Area and Challenge Courses. An estimated 2,000 children will visit Hoover YMCA Park this summer. Through this investment, youth and teens will have unique opportunities to grow in teambuilding, trust and self-confidence.

On behalf of the YMCA of Central Ohio and all those who will enjoy their summer at Hoover YMCA Park, we are extremely grateful to the Kiwanis Club of Columbus for their generous support.  The newly renovated Adventure Areas will be named in Kiwanis’ honor.

Pictured from left to right:

Mark Swepston, President, Columbus Kiwanis Foundation, Stephen Ives, President & CEO, YMCA of Central Ohio, Pamela Biesecker, Sr. Vice President, Nationwide Insurance and Second Vice Chair YMCA of Central Ohio Metropolitan General Board, Jeff Rayis, President, Kiwanis Club of Columbus

The Y Celebrates 172 Years of Making A Difference

Five Historical Reasons the Y Makes For a Better Us™

On June 6 the YMCA marks more than 170 years, as more than a place, it is a movement that offers programs and services designed to foster youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Here are five past notable events and achievements that demonstrate the Y’s commitment to the communities it serves:

1. American Institutions: Celebrations such as Father’s Day, and organizations like the Peace Corps, all have their roots at the YMCA.

2. Camping Under the Stars: The oldest known summer camp, Camp Dudley, first opened in 1855 and countless numbers of boys and girls have since learned the skills and wonders of camping through the Y, developing critical skills and making memories along the way.

3. Inventing New Ways to Play: From James Naismith's invention of basketball to instructors creating racquetball and what would eventually become volleyball, the Y has a rich tradition in activities that are played by millions of people around the globe. One Y staffer, Robert J. Roberts, is even credited with inventing the term “body building.”

4. Nobel Laureate: YMCA leader John R. Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for the Y's groundbreaking role in raising global awareness and support and for the organization’s humanitarian efforts.

5. Furthering Education: The Y is credited with spearheading the first public libraries, night school for adult education and English as a second language courses.

How the Y is relevant in 2016

Today, the Y serves more than 22 million people annually and offers resources at over 2,700 locations across all 50 states. Here are three ways “community” continues as the Y’s number one cause:

1. Nurturing the Potential of Our Kids: When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Nationwide, the Y helps over nine million youth to close gaps in hunger, health, learning, water safety and safe spaces while providing a place to stay healthy, build friendships, and achieve more – all while having fun! Each program demonstrates the Y’s unwavering commitment to ensuring children are on track for a successful education, especially those in underserved communities.

2. Improving the Nation’s Health: More than a place to work out, the Y offers programs that help individuals and families improve their health and enact changes that strengthen community and society as a whole. From working with people who are trying to find ways to improve health, but don’t know how, to preventing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and helping people recover from serious illnesses like cancer, the Y is one of the few organizations in the country with the size and influence that can effectively reach millions of people. Ys are also active in the community, creating communal gardens, increasing access to farmers markets and ensuring children have a safe route to school.

3. Support For All Our Neighbors: As one of the nation’s leading nonprofits, the Y's social services and volunteer programs help more than 10,000 communities nationwide. From organizing volunteers when disaster strikes to member-led community service projects through the Togetherhood program, every effort helps to make a difference.

For more information on Y programs please visit: ymca.net/forabetterus 

YMCA of Central Ohio named “Best Gym” By 614 Magazine

The 2016 Best of Columbus awards were annouced by 614 Magazine and the YMCA of Central Ohio was once again named as Best Gym in the Columbus area with almost 2,000 votes!


Thank you to everyone who voted! We are proud to serve the Columbus area. We hope you will celebrate with us at the ColumBEST party on May 25.


More information here: http://614columbus.com/2016/05/best-fitness-centergym/

YMCA of Central Ohio wins United Way Agency Award of Excellence

On Thursday, May 9, 2016, the YMCA of Central Ohio was recognized with the United Way of Central Ohio Agency Award of Excellence at the annual Celebration of Excellence awards, held at the Ohio Union at The Ohio State University.

This award, given to one non-profit each year, is the most distinguished agency award, recognizing overall campaign achievement. The YMCA of Central Ohio's fundraising campaign for United Way was up 40% in employee participation over last year, with an additional 23% increase in giving. 

To read more, click here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/05/05/United-Way-shifting-focus.html

New Program brings Medical Care to those in shelters

More than 6,000 people served in local hospital ERs in a year were homeless. A new pilot program has brought medical respite beds to Van Buren Center. People who are homeless and suffering from serious illness can receive medical care while in shelter. This is a partnership between PrimaryOne Health, YMCA of Central Ohio and Community Shelter Board.




Kiwanis Club of Columbus announces YMCA of Central Ohio as grant recipient

Kiwanis Club of Columbus Celebrates Centennial

with $100,000 Community Investment

Columbus, OH - -Four local agencies will benefit from the investment of a local service organization this year. The Kiwanis Club of Columbus has chosen four organizations, Boys & Girls Club of Columbus, Columbus Children’s Choir, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, and the YMCA of Central Ohio, to receive grants totaling $100,000.  The group marks its 100th Anniversary in 2016 and chose to celebrate by investing in the community’s future.

“Kiwanis Club of Columbus is all about giving back and working to change our community for the better,” said Centennial Celebration chairperson and club Past-President Kathleen Roberts.  “Every year our club invests over $80,000 in the community but this year we wanted to make an even bigger impact by sharing an additional $100,000.  We couldn’t be more thrilled about the projects we are supporting.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus was the recipient of a $30,000 grant. BGCC’s mission is to empower the youth who need its services and programs most to fulfill their potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.  The grant supports the Growth for Great Futures Initiative, a strategy that will put the Clubs on track to serve 10,000 of Columbus’ most at-risk youth by 2020.  Funding from the Kiwanis Clubs of Columbus’ Centennial Grant will be used to underwrite costs associated with relocation of the Westside Club to the Hilltop neighborhood.  A library in the new center will be named in Kiwanis’ honor.
The Columbus Children’s Choir received a $20,000 grant to establish the CCC Summer Singers sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Columbus. Columbus Children’s Choir serves central Ohio with educational offerings including workshops, festivals, community engagement programs, and its longstanding programs for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade—all with the mission of fostering the personal growth of children through meaningful experiences in music education and vocal performance. With the support of Kiwanis Club of Columbus’ Centennial Award, Columbus Children’s Choir will offer summer music classes for the first time.
Kaleidoscope Youth Center will use its $20,000 Centennial grant to support new programming in their new location. Kaleidoscope Youth Center has been serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Ally youth in Central Ohio since 1994.  Young people ages 12-20 are able to access peer support, mentorship, hot meals, recreation, leadership opportunities, health and wellness education, life-skills development and arts programming five days per week in a space that is fun, safe and affirming of their identities.   The grant supports the Operation: Home Is Where the Heart Is campaign to help underwrite Kaleidoscope’s first move in over ten years. The new space at 603 East Town Street will accommodate current programming with room for growth, and is twice the square footage as before.  A community conference room in the new center will bear the Kiwanis Club of Columbus name.
The YMCA of Central Ohio is the largest provider of day camp in the Columbus area and will use its $30,000 Centennial grant to upgrade its lodge and renovate its high and low ropes courses. Located at the Hoover YMCA Park, the lodge is a 2,500-square-foot building which is only able to be used for six months of the year because of the lack of heating and air conditioning.  This grant will add heating and cooling equipment to this structure to allow the Y to have a greater impact on the youth in the community by extending the use of this performance space for teen bands and youth theatre. In addition, on rainy days at camp, the children will have a safe haven from the elements. The Adventure Area will be renovated in order to continue to draw people to the Park for team-building and teen camp. This grant will be used for capital improvements that will serve more than 2,000 children each year at Hoover. The Y will recognize the adventure area as the Hoover Y - Kiwanis Club of Columbus Adventure Area.

Kiwanis Club of Columbus is a 150-member service organization dedicated to changing the world, one community and one child at a time.  Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 and Kiwanis Club of Columbus, the fifth oldest club in the world, was founded in 1916.  The club and its foundation, Columbus Kiwanis Foundation, have been supporting worthy causes focusing on youth in the Columbus community throughout its history.  In fact, Kiwanis Club of Columbus is credited with helping to found two well-known organizations in its early years: the Ohio Highway Patrol and the American BoyChoir (which began in Columbus and moved to Princeton, NJ). 

Currently, through its foundation, Kiwanis Club of Columbus awards approximately $80,000 a year, including $20,000 in scholarships to deserving Columbus City Schools students, provides significant sponsorship funding for the Columbus Metropolitan Library Summer Reading Program, and supports many other organizations with volunteer and grant support.


May is Water Safety Month



May is Water Safety Month and as the nation’s largest operator of swimming pools, the Y gives more than 1 million children a year the skills they need to be safe in and around water.

Drowning is a serious threat to the health and well-being of people across the U.S., particularly children and minorities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 4 to 14, and the rate of drowning for African-American children is nearly three times the rate for white children.

Teaching a child how to swim and be safe around water is one of the most important life skills children can learn.  Swim Lessons at the Y are designed to teach personal water safety, stroke development, water sports and games, rescue and personal growth skills to children. 

Now is the time to make sure children are prepared to be safe around the water. Speak with our staff about helping children develop this important life skill. In addition, caregivers can ensure everyone stays safe around the water with these tips:
Never leave children unattended, and stay vigilant when around any body of water.
Designate a “Water Watcher” to supervise children around water. This person should not read, use a cellphone or be otherwise distracted.
Inexperienced and non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket around water.
Children should stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.

Kroger Community Rewards

It’s time to re-enroll for the new year of Kroger Community Rewards. Participants need to re-enroll in the month of April in order to continue contributing to the organization through the May 1st 2016 to April 30th 2017 year.

For a participant to re-enroll their card they simply go to www.krogercommunityrewards.com
·         Click “sign-in”
·         Put in your email address and password that you used to enroll their card.
·         Click on your name at the top right, scroll to the bottom for Community Rewards.
·         Put in the group number or part of the name of the organization.
·         Choose the correct organization.
·         Click Enroll.
You are now enrolled for the May 1st 2016 to April 30th 2017 year of Kroger Community Rewards.

If you are having an issue with your password and or email address please 1-800-KROGERS, press 5 for customer service, press 5 to speak to a customer service representative.

If it’s the first time you are registering, you will need to set up your account first.
·         For a member to enroll their card the simply go to http://www.krogercommunityrewards.com
·         Click “create an account”
·         Put in your email address and password.  Confirm your password
·         Enter plus card OR alt ID number
·         Go to Community Rewards (near bottom)
·         Follow through the steps. (Name, address, etc.)
·         Put in the group number or part of the name of the organization.
·         Choose the correct organization.
·         Click Enroll.
You are now enrolled for the May 1st 2016 to April 30th 2017 year of Kroger Community Reward

Board Member Hal Keller To Receive Homeport ‘Voice and Vision’ Award

Hal Keller To Receive Homeport ‘Voice & Vision’ Award


Columbus, OH -- Citing his 35-year commitment to the practical needs of families and seniors, Homeport will be honoring Hall of Fame affordable housing advocate and non-profit financier Hal Keller at its second annual “Voice & Vision” program on Oct. 13.

“The Homeport ‘Voice & Vision’ Award that Hal will be receiving honors individuals who have provided extraordinary commitment and dedication to the cause of affordable housing,” said Homeport Board of Directors Chair Chris Hune.

“Hal has made it his focus for more than 30 years to support not only Homeport’s mission, but other housing organizations and we are proud to recognize the impact he has made in Central Ohio as well as around the region,” Hune added.

Keller has been president of Columbus-based Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing since 1993.


An independent non-profit organization, OCCH has raised more than $3.5 billion for Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects involving more than 725 transactions and 40,000 homes in Ohio and Kentucky.


Keller has been with OCCH since its inception in 1989, serving first as Director of Development.


Under Keller’s leadership, OCCH has also developed affiliated property management and supportive services organizations, Community Properties of Ohio Management Services (CPO), a lending subsidiary, Ohio Capital Finance Corporation, a certified Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), and philanthropic arm, Ohio Capital Impact Corporation (OCIC).


In 2014, Keller was inducted into the national Affordable Housing Finance’s Housing Hall of Fame.


Bruce Luecke, Homeport’s Interim President & CEO, called Keller “unmatched” in raising awareness to the needs of low to moderate income people -- and in effectively tackling the financial side of making a difference.

“We look forward to recognizing and celebrating Hal’s achievements,” Luecke said.


Keller said he treasures the honor and the work Homeport has been able to accomplish in its 29-year existence.

“I am humbled that Homeport has chosen me to receive this year’s Voice & Vision Award. Homeport is a critical organization with a long history of community impact and service,” Keller said. “I am truly honored.”


Keller serves on the boards of a variety of organizations including the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, YMCA of Central Ohio, Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio Housing Council, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio and PACT (Partners Achieving Community Transformation). He also serves on the boards of several national affordable housing trade associations.

He holds Master of Arts degrees in both Public Administration and Social Work from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Social Science from Case Western Reserve University.

Keller will receive Homeport’s Voice & Vision award at the fall program to be held at St. Charles Preparatory School’s Walter Commons, 2010 E. Broad Street in Columbus.

Sponsorship opportunities for the Voice & Vision Award Celebration are available by contacting Homeport’s Director of Philanthropy, Julie Naporano, at Julie.Naporano@homeportohio.org or visiting homeportohio.org/sponsor.

Doing Good With Technology: HMB and ECRN+

HMB recently had the opportunity to partner with the YMCA's Early Childhood Resource Network (ECRN+) by donating a fleet of laptops to their organization.

"The team at ECRN+ is extremely grateful for the generous laptop donation from HMB," says Samantha Stewart, Executive Director for ECRN+. "This donation will enable our staff to continue to provide exemplary services to children with disabilities and their families. For over 30 years, ECRN+ has provided services to children who have disabilities or those who are at risk of disabilities and their families."

"Staff members from three different programs will be utilizing the computers; our Community Support Site program (a speech therapy program for children 18 months to three years of age), our Family Support Program (provides family support to children, teens, and young adults with disabilities and their families), and our Help Me Grow program (a birth to three home visitation program for children with delays, disabilities, and special health care needs)." 

ECRN+ provides Service Coordination for Help Me Grow of Franklin County, Columbus Kids Outreach, SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) as well as Family Support for families and children of all ages who have disabilities and a speech therapy program for children.

"ECRN+ was founded in 1983 as a coalition of thirty agencies/organizations and parent representatives who were involved in providing services for young children, birth through five, who had developmental delays, disabilities, or who were at risk for such," continues Stewart. "Now, 30 years later, the primary goal is the same; we empower and connect families. Thank you HMB for helping us empower and connect our families!"

Healthy Kids Day April 30th

On Saturday, April 30, the YMCA of Central Ohio is celebrating YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families. Healthy Kids Day will include fun active play and educational activities to keep kids moving and learning, in order to maintain healthy habits and academic skills to achieve goals and reach their full potential. Millions of children and their families are expected to participate in Healthy Kids at nearly 1,600 events across the country.

Join us April 30 at your local branch for fun activities for the kids and family!

PLUS Pay $0 Join Fee if you join in-branch... this weekend only!

Click to jump to your branch's activities:

Delaware Community Center YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 8:30a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Activities: 8:30-11:30 a.m.

  • Martial Arts Demonstration
  • Family Zumba
  • Bounce House
  • Bike Rodeo
  • Swim Evaluations
  • Touch a Truck
  • Blood Drive
  • Free bike helmets
  • Fitness Checks
  • 5k/Mile Run/Walk
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    -Fire Department
    -Police Department
    -DATA Bus
    -Delaware County of Developmental Disabilities
    -Ohio Healthy
    -Advanced Eye Care
    -Ruffing Martial Arts
    -Dr. Batterton Dentistry
    -Preservation Parks
    -Ohio Corps of Engineers

Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Dental Wellness Checks
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Face Painting
  • Flower Planting
  • Swim Evaluations

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Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Mascots
  • Lego Table
  • Obstacle Course
  • Bounce House
  • Camp Willson: Live animals
  • Family Zumba
  • Kid’s Run
  • Gaga Pit
  • Face Painting
  • Rock Climbing
  • Urban Grow for Kids Project
  • Clark Hall: Prenatal Mommy and Me Yoga
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Gahanna Fire and Police Department
    - Smoothie King
    - 104.9 the River Radio
    - Nothing Bundt Cakes
    - Lynd’s Fruit Farm
    - DoTerra Essential Oils
    - Discovery Toys
    -Young Chef Academy
    -Cookie Cutters

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Grove City YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Activities: 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Obstacle Course
  • Camp Willson Horses
  • Climbing Wall
  • Swim Evaluations
  • Grove City Library
  • Vendors
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    -Grove City Library
    -Dental Place
    -Columbus Blue Jackets

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Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Activities: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Hilliard Bradley Boys Soccer Team
  • Family Gym Fun
  • Boat Safety
  • Track and Field
  • Fitness Obstacles
  • Sensory Table
  • Healthy Eating Booth
  • Face Paint
  • Games

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Hilltop YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bike Safety
  • Bike helmet giveaway
  • Vendors
    -OSU Extension

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Jerry L. Garver YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Activities: 2:00-5:00 p.m.

  • Book WALK! (like a cake walk)
  • Challenge Stations
  • Hula Hoop Shake Off
  • Swim Evaluations
  • Egg Race
  • STEM Spaghetti Towers
  • Egg Drop
  • Y Kids are Fit Obstacle Course
  • Face Painting / Clown
  • Inflatables:
    -Small Bounce House
    -BIG Basketball
    -Big Bowling
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt
  • Sensory Friendly Nature Hunt
  • Animal Tracking
  • Community Cook Out Sponsored by Cameron Mitchell's The Barn & Krogers
  • Bob's Bike Safety
  • Flower Planting
  • Music Makers: Making maracas & drums
  • Reptile: Touch & learn
  • Painting with Veggies!
  • Box Arcade!
  • Raffle Baskets & Kid Swag give a ways
  • Local Businesses and vendors:
    -Cameron Mitchell's The Barn
    -Kroger's Corp. & Canal Winchester
    -Local Matters
    -Wayne Webb Bowling
    -Franklin County Children Services
    -Columbus Fire Department
    -Once Upon A Child
    -Columbus Health Department
    -Bari Foundation
    -Diley Ridge Medical Center
    -Tyler's Light
    -Pickerington Library
    -Small Smiles Dental
    -Tropical Fruit & Nut
    -Dill's GreenHouse
    -The Wave
    -Zion Assembly
    -Colony Cats
    -Lion's Club Eye Screening
    -Captive Born Reptiles

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Liberty Twp./Powell YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Camp Willson (pony rides)
  • Preservation Parks of Delaware County bring live animals (reptiles and amphibians)
  • Blue Jackets Street Hockey
  • Zumba, PLYOGA, Circuit Training, Yoga
  • Olentangy Liberty Cheerleading Team
  • Facepaint
  • Treehive Cafe
  • Kiwanis Club of Powell (seat safety checks)
  • OPAL Art Sigmound
  • Lightsaber Relay Races
  • Lakeshore (craft table)
  • Fun Games

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North YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bounce house
  • Health screenings
  • Field games
  • Touch a truck
  • YMCA Camp Willson
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - All Nations Seventh Day Adventist Church
    - REI
    - Fresh n' Fit Foodlab

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Pickaway County Family YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Flower Planting
  • Face Painting
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Circleville City Police
    - Ohio State Highway Patrol
    - Pickaway Co. Sheriff's office
    - Circleville Fire Dept.
    - Columbus Blue Jackets

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Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Activities: 12:00-4:00 p.m.

  • Bounce House
  • Crafts
  • Snacks
  • Swim Evaluations
  • Willson Horses
  • Fire & Police Vehicles/Visits
  • Kids' Zumba
  • Kids' Martial Art
  • Community Vendors
  • Games

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Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 1:00-2:20 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Family Fitness Feud
  • 3 on 3 Basketball
  • Bouncy House
  • T-Ball
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Face Paint
  • Fitness Demos
  • Dodgeball
  • Obstacles
  • Snacks
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Fire Department
    - Local Maters
    - Columbus Library MLK Branch
    - Natural Care Youth Center
    - Paramount Health Care
    - OSU Med Students
    - Local Matters
    - Central Community House

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New Medicare Proposal Announced To Aid The Fight Against Diabetes

The Obama administration announced today in a special press conference in Washington, D.C., a plan to expand Medicare to cover programs that prevent diabetes among people at high risk for developing the disease, which includes the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. 

The Diabetes Prevention Program provides a supportive environment where participants can work with others in a small group setting to learn how to adopt healthy habits to reduce their chances of developing the disease. In this evidence based, 12 week program, participants learn about healthy eating and increasing their physical activity, with the goal of reducing their body weight by 7% and increasing their physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

“It will truly change your life,” said Tim Gusler, a YMCA of Central Ohio Diabetes Prevention Program participant. “I lost about 75 pounds. It will make you healthier. I feel better; I have energy!”

Watch more of Tim's story here.

Under the proposed plan, Medicare would cover a participant's fee for participating in the program.  The Diabetes Prevention Program is offered at all YMCA of Central Ohio Branches and begins with 16 weekly sessions followed by monthly sessions led by a trained Lifestyle Coach.

The proposal will go through a public commitment period, but it will most likely be in effect before the end of President Obama’s term. This proposal is an extension of the Affordable Care Act. Details of how the diabetes prevention services will be paid for have not yet been released, however it could come through reimbursements to providers, or as a part of a package, including the services of doctors who diagnose and monitor diabetes patients. The exact details will be released by Medicare officials.

To learn more about the proposal, visit http://nyti.ms/21HkVF2

To learn more about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, visit http://www.ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes


Diabetes Alert Day

Reduce Risk of Diabetes on Diabetes Alert Day

Tuesday, March 22, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, and the YMCA of Central Ohio wants residents of Columbus to know their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventive steps they can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

The Y knows that the best way to reduce new cases of type 2 diabetes is to prevent them and awareness is the first step to prevention. With only 10 percent of the 86 million Americans aware of their condition, the YMCA of Central Ohio understands that it will take everyone working together to increase this number.

In the United States alone, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people. Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 9 million are aware of it. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care and overall well-being of our communities makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before.

The YMCA of Central Ohio’s Diabetes Prevention Program is helping people make healthier choices that can help reduce the risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The program provides a supportive environment where participants work with each other in a small group setting to learn how to adopt healthy habits to reduce chances of developing diabetes. Participants learn about healthy eating and increasing their physical activity, with the goal of reducing their body weight by 7% and increasing their physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

• Reduce portion sizes of the foods you eat that may be high in fat or calories.
• Keep a food diary to increase awareness of eating patterns and behaviors.
• Be active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
• Incorporate more activity into your daily routine; take the stairs or park farther away
• Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
To learn more about the YMCA of Central Ohio’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please visithttp://www.ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes.

OhioHealth Delay the Disease Parkinson’s Exercise Program

Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year and as many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

As a leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Ohio has partnered with OhioHealth to bring OhioHealth Delay the Disease, the number one Parkinson’s exercise program, to three branch locations.

This evidence-based fitness program, led by a certified OhioHealth Delay the Disease instructor, is designed to empower people with Parkinson’s disease.  The class optimizes physical function while utilizing humor, optimism, enthusiasm and hope to help motivate participants.

After participating in the program, participants will have increased self-confidence, decreased risk of falls and minimized fatigue.  The goal of the program is to give participants a happier lifestyle with reduced rigidity and improved mobility.

Beginning Monday, March 14, the program will be offered at The Y at Clark Hall, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. and the Delaware Community Center YMCA, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 1:00-2:00 p.m.  Beginning Monday, May 31, the program will also be offered at the Grove City YMCA, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

The program will be offered as a nine week session with a cost of $90 for members and $135 for non-members.  For more information, contact the branch representative at your preferred location. 

For The Y at Clark Hall contact Valerie Baumann at 614-416-9622 or vbaumann@ymcacolumbus.org

For the Delaware Community Center YMCA, contact Amy Mosser at 740-203-3051 or amosser@ymcacolumbus.org.

For the Grove City YMCA, contact Angie Jordan at 614-871-9622 or ajordan@ymcacolumbus.org.

Free Guests for Members in March

Members-only: FREE Guests ANY Weekend in March!
YMCA members may use one guest pass for FREE any Saturday or Sunday in March.

All guests must comply with YMCA of Central Ohio Guest Conditions.

Eligible Memberships
» Two Adults + Kids
» One Adult + Kids
» Two Adults
» Adult
» Young Adult

1 Free Guest Pass per visit
Family: up to 5 people, 2 adults max
Senior: age 62+
Adult: ages 18-61
Youth: age 17 and younger


$25 in Y Bucks when your guest joins (for your guest, too!)

Y Bucks* will be added to both the new and current member's account electronically and may be used toward:
» Personal Training
» Water Exercise Class
» Swim Lessons
» Special Events
» Art and Dance Classes
» Skill Builders Class
» Youth Sports League
» Join Fee

March is National Nutrition Month

Focus on Healthy Eating During National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition month and as a leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Ohio urges everyone in Columbus to dedicate to a healthy lifestyle by being health conscious this month and every month.

According to the National Academy of Nutrition and Diuretics, National Nutrition Month is a nutrition and education plan focused on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.  Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents the past 30 years.  The need to become educated about healthy food choices is at an all-time high.

To address the prevalence of childhood obesity, the Y has made a commitment to helping children and their parents develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle through different programs like Strong-Well-Fit and Healthy Weight and Your Child.  Because healthy lifestyles are achieved through nurturing mind, body and spirit, fitness at the YMCA includes more than just working out.

Strong-Well-Fit is a free, twelve week program that helps youth and teens and their parents make lifestyle changes to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.  Families will learn about nutrition and healthy food choices, exercise and play active games, and achieve goals of a healthier lifestyle.  Each class will include forty-five minutes of physical activity for both children and parents, and forty five minutes working on healthy nutrition and activities.

Healthy Weight and Your Child addresses childhood obesity in youth ages 7-13 with a body mass index of 95th percentiles or higher.  This 12 month evidence based program is for children with obesity and their parents to empower families to live healthier.  Family members are engaged in education, healthy eating and physical activity to elicit change positive change and help families learn skills to live a healthier lifestyle long-term.

The YMCA of Central Ohio offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals.  Learn more by visiting http://www.ymcacolumbus.org/ or stopping into your local Y. 

February is American Heart Month

Lower the (Blood) Pressure during American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month and as a leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Ohio urges everyone in Columbus to help prevent heart disease by lowering your blood pressure. Two ways to keep the pressure off your heart are by monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the nation’s number one killer, responsible for 1 in 4 deaths each year in the United States. Additionally, 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure with less than half having it under control. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities, and is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

To address the prevalence of heart disease, the Y has made a national commitment to the Million Hearts campaign, an initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes.  As part of this commitment, the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages heart health through the Diabetes Prevention Program. 

The YMCA of Central Ohio is increasing the availability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program.  The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke as those who do not have it.

The program provides a supportive environment where participants work together in a small group to learn about eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and making other behavior changes with the goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent in order to reduce their risk for developing diabetes. A trained lifestyle coach leads the program over a 12-month period beginning with 16 weekly sessions followed by monthly maintenance sessions.  Increased physical activity and moderate weight loss not only reduce diabetes risk, but also have an impact on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Besides monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association, too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“Having a handle on your blood pressure is an effective tool in the prevention of heart disease,” said Caroline Rankin, director of chronic disease and prevention programs. “Whether you have high blood pressure or are at risk for heart disease, the Y has many options available that can help.”

The YMCA of Central Ohio offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals.   

Gahanna Welcomes New Multi-Purpose Boutique Studio


Gahanna Welcomes New Multi-Purpose Boutique Studio

The YMCA of Central Ohio, in partnership with Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools and Franklin University opens new, innovative facility for the community.

WHO: Representatives from the Gahanna Jefferson School District, the Gahanna Chamber of Commerce, Franklin University’s President, David Decker and Mayor Thomas Kneeland, YMCA of Central Ohio’s President and CEO, Stephen Ives

WHAT: The YMCA of Central Ohio is pleased to announce the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of its first boutique-style studio - the Y at Clark Hall. The new facility will provide unique experiences for the Gahanna community including:

  • Small group fitness
  • Educational-based wellness programming for youth, teens and adults
  • Youth and teen STEM and technology programs
  • Adult education courses provided by Franklin University
  • Franklin University reunites with the YMCA who helped launch the
  • University in 1902

WHEN: Saturday, January 9, 2016

9:30 a.m.- Ribbon Cutting followed by a community open house from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Y at Clark Hall

380 Granville Street, Suite B

Gahanna, OH 43230

WHY: Through a unique collaboration, innovative offerings and unparalleled services, the Y at Clark Hall will provide an array of opportunities for all ages, all under the same roof.

CONTACT: Valerie Baumann: (cell) 614-532-0998 or vbaumann@ymcacolumbus.org

More Information (PDF)

Media Alert

Construction Underway on Unique Early Childhood Education Center

Construction Underway on Unique Early Childhood Education Center

Community partners, KIPP and YMCA of Central Ohio unite to open new Early Learning Center at Agler Road campus

[COLUMBUS, JANUARY 6, 2016] KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Columbus and the YMCA of Central Ohio announces the opening of the KIPP/YMCA Early Learning Center. The new center for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years will open by September, 2016 on the KIPP campus in Northeast Columbus.

KIPP is a national network of free, open enrollment college preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and life. KIPP Columbus debuted its new campus in 2014 with a facility, currently serving 800 students. This will increase that to 2000 by the end of the decade with the addition of several new buildings, including a high school and the Early Learning Center.

“We are committed to helping our students climb the mountain to and through college,” said KIPP Columbus Executive Director Hannah Powell. “Research has shown that the early childhood years are absolutely critical in laying the foundation for success, and we believe that we are in a unique position to provide an enriching environment and high-quality preK opportunities for our community. To be able to partner with an organization like the YMCA which shares similar missions and goals, will be incredibly transformational.”

The YMCA is the area’s largest provider of child care and early learning programs, serving over 4,500 chidren annually at 70 centers in central Ohio. “One of five major pillars of Y work, childhood development and educational achievement is a critical program and a growing program at the YMCA, says President/CEO Stephen Ives. At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors.”

The new school will offer numerous advantages to its students, including spacious classrooms with natural light, access to innovative technology, natural play spaces, and robust programming with best-inclass educators. The center will be open to KIPP families and the public, with a lottery for admission scheduled for February 2016. When fully enrolled at 140 children, the KIPP/YMCA Early Learning Center will be the YMCA’s largest early learning program.

For more information on enrolling in the school, please visit the KIPP website at http://kippcolumbus.org/ or call the administrative offive at 614-263-6137.

More Information (PDF)

Press Release

Request for Proposals To Provide Monitoring Services

The YMCA is soliciting proposals to provide monitoring of service providers that used federal grant funds including Head Start Act funds. The objective of the monitoring is to assess the degree that subcontracted programs comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies and administrative requirements of the funding source. The goal is to ensure the lawful use of public funds and the integrity of the programs of YMCA.

This solicitation is to result in a contract for the monitoring services with YMCA options for two separate one year renewals.


More Information (PDF)

Request for Proposals To Provide Monitoring Services

Prepare for Back-to-School Season: Power Up with Restful Sleep

The back-to-school season can be a busy time of year as we adjust to new routines and make time for homework, afterschool activities and new friends. As you and your family rearrange your schedules to squeeze it all in, don’t forget to make time for a basic but critical component of good health — sleep!

Restful sleep is proven to have important short- and long-term health benefits for children and adults. It plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy metabolism and immune system, improving memory and the ability to learn, and more. Getting enough restful sleep can enrich your family’s quality of life and overall well-being. With these helpful tips for kids and adults, your family will be getting plenty of rest in no time.

Bedtime Means Lights Out: Stick to a consistent bedtime and avoid allowing kids to watch TV or read until they fall asleep.
Establish a Routine: Adopt a relaxing routine to help children wind down before bed. It might include getting a drink of water, putting on pajamas, brushing their teeth and reading a story with a parent.
Mind the Over-Scheduling: Remember that if kids don’t get the rest they need one night because of a busy schedule, they can “catch up” by getting extra rest later on.

Watch When You Eat: Prepare your body and mind for better sleep by eating dinner at least two hours before bedtime and avoiding overeating.
Don’t Clock-Watch: Avoid watching the clock if you’re unable to fall asleep. Instead, get out of bed and divert your attention until you feel drowsy. Try reading a book or listening to music.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, cool and comfortable, and limit the times that you allow kids or pets to sleep with you.

Incoming President and CEO Stephen Ives Speaks During Community Impact Breakfast

On Wednesday, June 24, the YMCA of Central Ohio celebrated our community partnerships during the Community Impact Breakfast at the Columbus Foundation. About 80 individuals, including YMCA of Central Ohio board members, representatives from partner organizations, YMCA donors, staff and supporters, gathered to share stories of members impacted by the Y movement.

Incoming YMCA of Central Ohio President and CEO Stephen Ives attended and provided remarks at the event. A native of Maine, Stephen comes to Central Ohio with 27 years of service to the YMCA movement, including 20 years as a CEO. He most recently served as President and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MA. At the event, Ives spoke about his personal experiences with the YMCA and shared his love for working with children and teens.

Ives started his career in aquatics and youth programming at the Portland, Maine YMCA. He developed programs for teen fathers and at risk youth in the inner city while leading camping and youth recreation initiatives before relocating to the Northern York County Family YMCA in Biddeford, Maine.

"I am both impressed and inspired by the depth of social impact work being done by the YMCA of Central Ohio in the form of subsidized housing, early childhood education, truancy initiatives and support for children with special needs," stated Ives. "It is a sincere honor to have the opportunity to build upon that rich history of service to the community and in partnership with the Board of Directors, making sure that the YMCA is so much more for the citizens of Central Ohio.”

Ives will officially assume his role with the YMCA of Central July 6, 2015. Click here to view photographs from the Community Impact Breakfast.

New Program: Healthy Weight and Your Child

Reclaim your family’s health through healthier eating habits and an active lifestyle through Healthy Weight and Your Child. The YMCA of Central Ohio is one of five Ys participating nationally in a pilot program to address childhood obesity in youth ages 7-13, with a body mass index of 95th percentiles or higher. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. The program is for the children and their families and will be offered at the following YMCA of Central Ohio locations: 

  • Delaware Community Center YMCA
  • Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA
  • Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA
  • Grove City YMCA
  • Liberty Township/Powell YMCA

Important Program Details and Qualifications:

  • A 12 month evidenced-based program for children with obesity and their parent/caregiver.
  • 16 weekly sessions, 4 bi-weekly sessions and 5 monthly sessions.
  • 2 hour sessions one time per week focusing on nutrition education and physical activity to encourage healthier eating habits and an active lifestyle.
  • Children must be 7 - 13 years old and have a body mass index of the 95th percentile or higher.
  • Children must qualify for the program and receive medical clearance from their healthcare provider.
  • The parent/caregiver must attend all sessions.
  • No cost for participation in the one year pilot program.
  • Classes starting in September 2015.

For more information about the program and contact/location details, please review the attached brochure. 

More Information (PDF)

Healthy Weight and Your Child Brochure

60 minutes of exercise a day = Active, Healthy Family

More than 80 percent of children in the U.S. do not get the recommended amount of physical activity for good health—60 minutes a day, six days a week. It is important for children and families to make good use of extra free time during the summer by increasing the frequency and duration of physical activity and limiting screen time. 

At the Y, we support the health and well-being of people of all ages and backgrounds with programs and services that help them develop healthy lifestyles. Speak with your YMCA staff about how the Y can help you
and your family stay physically active all summer long. Also, consider other ways you can get up and get moving together. Here are a few ideas:

Have a Ball:
Tossing a football or hitting the tennis courts is a great way to engage kids in physical activity while squeezing in some family time. Or try going out to the backyard or a park with your kids and keeping a beach ball up in the air for as long as possible. Even throwing a baseball back and forth will send you jogging to recover the ball from time to time.

Add Some Wheels:
Most activities that incorporate the use of wheels—like riding scooters or skateboarding—offer a mix of vigorous activity and periods of rest. Get your helmets on and take a bike ride as a family. Plot your course so you have to tackle small hills or ride into the wind part of the way.

Walk, Jog or Run:
Find a community event such as a fundraising walk or fun run that the entire family can enjoy. Setting a family goal tied to such an event can provide the motivation you need to stay active. Also, July is Parks and Recreation Month, so it is a perfect time to visit a nearby park and take advantage of walking or biking trails.

Summer Food Program Helps Kids Hop the Gap

At the Y, we believe all children and teens deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. Yet for some youth, hunger is a barrier to success. Today in the U.S., nearly one in five households with children does not have enough food. During the summer, access to healthy meals can be an even greater challenge for kids who receive free or reduced-price lunch during the school year. As a leading nonprofit for strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y provides kids with the fuel to reach their full potential.

Through the Summer Food Program—incorporated into other programs like camp—the Y delivers healthy meals and snacks to nourish the minds and bodies of kids in need.

Since 2011, the Walmart Foundation has partnered with the Y in the fight to end child hunger. The foundation’s generous support during the past four years has helped the Y serve more than 34 million meals to youth in afterschool and summer programs. The reach of this work grows each year, and this summer alone the Y aims to provide 4.25 million meals to 180,000 kids at 1,100 sites. Locally in Central Ohio, we continue to expand our reach and provide meals and snacks to children:

Summer 2014
Sites - 8 
Kids Served – 1,608
Meals - 31,050 (Breakfast and Lunch)
Snacks – 6,892

School Year 2015
Sites - 26
Kids Served - 756
Meals - 64,026 (Supper)
Snacks - 22,747

The Y provides support and programs that help youth overcome challenges related to hunger, health, learning, water safety and access to safe spaces. To learn how children and teens overcome barriers—or hop the gap—to achieve more with the Y, visit hopthegap.org. Click here to view our Summer Food Program sites throughout Central Ohio. 

Bottled Water Needed

The YMCA of Central is working in collaboration with the Community Shelter Board and Volunteers of America to manage a family overflow program at the new Van Buren Center. The family shelter is being opened in response to a 79% increase over the course of the past three years, in the number of families seeking shelter.

Last night, the Van Buren Center provided a safe place to sleep for 34 families. These families were comprised of 110 individuals, including 67 children and 164 single adult women, 6 of whom are pregnant. Given the current water alert, the YMCA is in need of bottled water for families with infants less than 6 months of age and pregnant or nursing mothers. In addition, the bottled water is being used to prepare meals at the shelter to minimize any risk.

The community has been very caring with donations of items since the Center opened and we appreciate their continued support during this time. If able to donate, please bring bottled water to the Downtown YMCA, located at 40 W. Long Street. Thank you!

Meet our New President and CEO Stephen Ives


On behalf of the YMCA of Central Ohio Metropolitan Board of Directors and the Executive Search Committee, we are pleased to announce that Stephen Ives has accepted the position of President and CEO for the Association. His first official day with the YMCA of Central Ohio was July 6, 2015.

A native of Maine, Stephen comes to Central Ohio with 27 years of service to the YMCA movement, including 20 years as a CEO. He is currently serving as President and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MA.
Ives started his career in aquatics and youth programming at the Portland, Maine YMCA. He developed programs for teen fathers and at risk youth in the inner city while leading camping and youth recreation initiatives before relocating to the Northern York County Family YMCA in Biddeford, Maine

In 2005, Stephen was recruited to become President and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA. The Merrimack Valley Association has long been recognized as a national leader in innovation and entrepreneurship as well as academic initiatives, partnerships and global initiatives for diversity and inclusion.

"I am both impressed and inspired by the depth of social impact work being done by the YMCA of Central Ohio in the form of subsidized housing, early childhood education, truancy initiatives and support for children with special needs," stated Ives. "It is a sincere honor to have the opportunity to build upon that rich history of service to the community and in partnership with the Board of Directors, making sure that the YMCA is so much more for the citizens of Central Ohio.”

YMCA raised more than $70,000 during The Big Give

The results are in! Thanks to your generosity, the YMCA of Central Ohio was able to raise $72,133 in 24 hours during The Columbus Foundation's The Big Give. This generosity will truly help us do so much more for the central Ohio community!

The Big Give took place May 12-May 13 and raised more than $15 million dollars for Columbus nonprofits.

Thank you to all who participated and designated the YMCA of Central Ohio as your charity of choice.

Discovering Potential: Youth & Government

More than 140 YMCA young leaders took place in Youth & Government April 16-18, a three-day learning conference in which students participate directly in a simulation of the democratic process.

YIG offers students the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of issues, develop critical thinking skills, and articulate their beliefs while engaging constructively with those who hold like and opposing views.

Thank you to those who supported this program and helped to create brighter futures!

Staff Spotlight: Stephanie Riffle

Stephanie and teen campers at Liberty Twp/Powell YMCA last summer.

Stephanie Riffle, a long-time YMCA site director in the Olentangy School District, challenged her parents and kids in her before and after care site to help send kids to camp. Using a peer to peer fundraising page and making it easy for parents to give online, she raised more than $1,000.00 in support of sending kids to camp who otherwise may not have the opportunity to do so. Way to go Stephanie, and thank you for your dedication to the Y!

Summer Food Program

For ages 1-18, Monday-Friday

Join the Y for food and fun to keep active and energized all summer long!

  • No enrollment necessary
  • Free of charge
  • Includes 1 hour of physical activity

Click here for printable information.

Available at these sites


130 Woodland Ave., Columbus, OH  43203

  • 8:30 - 9:00AM (breakfast)
  • 12:00 - 12:30PM (lunch)


2879 Valleyview Dr., Columbus, OH  43204

  • 12:15 - 1:00PM (lunch)
  • 3:30 - 4:00PM (snack)

2345 W. Mound St., Columbus, OH  43204

  • 12:00 - 12:45PM (lunch)
  • 3:00 - 3:30PM (snack)

4711 Bay Run Dr., Columbus, OH  43228

Starts June 15

  • 8:30 - 9:00AM (breakfast)
  • 12:00 - 12:45PM (lunch)


1640 Sandalwood Pl., Columbus, OH  43229

  • 8:30 - 9:30AM (breakfast)
  • 11:30AM - 12:30PM (lunch)


3500 1st. Ave., Urbancrest, OH  43123

  • 9:15 - 9:45AM (breakfast)
  • 12:15 - 1:15PM (lunch)


440 Nicholas Dr., Circleville, OH  43113

  • 11:30AM - 12:30PM (lunch)


145 E. Corwin St., Circleville, OH  43113

  • 11:30AM - 12:30PM (lunch)


455 Beechwood Rd., Whitehall, OH  43213

  • 8:00 - 8:30AM (breakfast)
  • 11:30AM - 12:00PM (lunch)

4800 Langley Ave., Whitehall, OH  43123

  • 8:00 - 8:30AM (breakfast)
  • 11:30AM - 12:00PM (lunch)

675 S. Yearling Rd., Whitehall, OH  43123

  • 7:30 - 9:00AM (breakfast)
  • 11:30AM - 12:30PM (lunch)


Nutritious meals and snacks provided as part of the USDA Summer Food Service program.

This program is generously supported by the Walmart Foundation and food is generously provided by Columbus Recreation and Parks at all sites except Pickaway County Family YMCA and Pickaway Head Start.

Pickaway County Family YMCA and Pickaway County Head Start's program is generously supported by Pickaway County Community Action (PICCA) and these programs' food is generously provided by Connie's Country Cafe in Williamsport, Ohio. 

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Stephanie Cedeno

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

614-224-1137 ext. 187

More Information (PDF)

Printable information

Celebrating Fathers and Their Health

On the third Sunday of every June, we take time to honor and thank the fathers, grandfathers and male role models who brighten our lives and provide care and guidance that support strong families and strong communities. As you prepare to celebrate Father’s Day on June 21, show the important men in your life how much they mean to you by helping them adopt habits that promote long, healthy lives. 

At the Y, we help people improve their health and well-being and reduce their risk of chronic disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death among men in the U.S., but early detection and healthy habits that reduce risk factors can go a long way towards defying the odds. Take time during Men’s Health Week, June 15 – 21, to help men strengthen their health and well-being with these tips from the CDC:

Visit Your Doctor. Regular checkups can help diagnose health conditions before they become a problem. If men experience anything out of the ordinary like chest pain, shortness of breath or excessive thirst, they should see a doctor right away.
Quit Smoking. Quitting smoking has immediate and longterm health benefits that include lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer and lung disease.
Stay Active. For good health, adults need at least 2½ hours of aerobic activity a week and muscle strengthening activities that engage all major muscle groups at least twice a week.
Eat Healthy. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and limiting foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol can help prevent chronic disease.
Reduce Stress. Severe stress that feels overwhelming can have negative effects on health. Lean on others for support.
Get Enough Sleep. A lack of sleep is associated with chronic diseases including heart disease. In general, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a day.

May is National Water Safety Month

As the nation’s largest operator of swimming pools, the Y gives more than 1 million children a year the skills they need to be safe around water.

Drowning is a serious threat to the health and well-being of people across the U.S., particularly children and minorities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the secondleading cause of death for children ages 4 to 14, and the rate of drowning for African-American children is nearly three times the rate for white children.

The Y is here to help. Through the recently launched Safety Around Water program, the Y aims to give children of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to develop the invaluable water safety skills that can keep them safe in and around water. These skills not only save lives, but they also help children build confidence in their abilities.

May is Water Safety Month and a good time to make sure children are prepared to be safe around the water. Speak with our staff about helping children develop this important life skill. In addition, caregivers can ensure everyone stays safe around the water with these tips:

Never leave children unattended, and stay vigilant when around any body of water.
Designate a “Water Watcher” to supervise children around water. This person should not read, use a cellphone or be otherwise distracted.
Inexperienced and non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket around water.
Children should stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.

Guest Policy Upgrades

We've upgraded our Guest Policy to now include FREE passes and reduce Guest Pass rates for some categories. Details at: ymcacolumbus.org/guests.

Link to Article


Healthy Kids Day

On Saturday, April 25, the YMCA of Central Ohio is celebrating YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families. Healthy Kids Day will include fun active play and educational activities to keep kids moving and learning, in order to maintain healthy habits and academic skills to achieve goals and reach their full potential. Millions of children and their families are expected to participate in Healthy Kids at nearly 1,600 events across the country.

Join us April 25 at your local branch for fun activities for the kids and family. See what's going on at your branch below:

April 25, 2015

Delaware Community Center YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:00 a.m.-noon
Activities: 8:00-11:30 a.m.

  • Delaware City Schools 5K Run and Walk: 8:00 a.m.
  • Martial Arts Demonstration
  • Bounce House
  • Kid Fit Test
  • Family Zumba
  • YMCA Art projects
  • 9 Square in the Air game
  • Rock Wall will be open
  • Sports Personal Training
  • Learn about Mingo Day Camp
  • Face painting
  • Balloon Animals
  • Healthy Snacks
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    -Fire Department
    -Police Department
    -Delaware County Library
    -American Red Cross Blood Mobile
    -Delaware County Health District
    -Delaware County JFS
    -Preservation Parks
    -Delaware Chiropractic
    -YMCA Camp Willson
    -Delaware Parent's Club
    -Teen Leaders Club

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: noon-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Open Gymnastics
  • Open Climbing wall
  • Ballet Demo
  • Zumba Demo
  • Gahanna Library
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - First Watch
    - Dr. Pam Gant
    - Pamer Chiropractic
    - Polaris Mortgage
    - Red Cross
    - Smoothie King
    - Southern-Western Mortgage

Grove City YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Activities: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Open Climbing Wall
  • Open Gym
  • Open Swim
  • Class Demonstrations (Tae Kwon Do, sports, etc.)
  • Visit from YMCA Camp Willson and their furry friends
  • Obstacle Course
  • Local Organizations and Businesses

Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

11:30 a.m. Walk, Wheel, Run with 10TV's Jeff Hogan  

Participants should gather at the gazebo by 11:20. Bring the entire family! Strollers, wheelchairs, bicycles, runners and walkers are all welcome! 

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Hop Skip and Jump game
  • Downward Dog game
  • Visit from YMCA Camp Willson and their furry friends
  • Dance It Off game
  • Go Around in Circles Hoola Hoop contest
  • Everybody Plays game
  • Healthy Taste Test Cooking Demonstrations
  • Obstacle Course
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Community Mural
  • Inspire the Mad Scientist
  • Paper Airplane contest
  • Budding Bookworms
  • Way to grow seed bombs
  • Make Some Music
  • Visit from Red Cross

Hilltop YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bounce House
  • Face Painting
  • Open Volleyball
  • Field Games
  • Dog Safety Workshop
  • Trike-a-thon
  • 5-on-5
  • Fire Truck
  • Vendors
  • SWAT
  • Combine Competition
  • PM Family Kickball
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Open Gymnastics
  • Open Climbing Wall

Jerry L. Garver YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Activities: noon-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Painting
  • Obstacle course
  • Hands on Literacy
  • Math Minutes
  • Punt, Pass, Kick game
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt
  • Face paiting
  • STEM activities
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - American Lung Association
    - American Red Cross
    - The Andersons
    - The Barn
    - Bicycle One: Bike Safety
    - Boys & Girls Club
    - Cameron Mitchell
    - City BBQ
    - Columbus Ultimate Disc: Family Frisbie Game
    - COSI
    - Dentist Dr. Larry Devese
    - Fire Department
    - Fuel Up to play 60
    - Go Go Squeeze
    - Jackson Lake Campground
    - Kristal and Forche Orthodontics
    - Krogers Foods
    - Oriental Trading Company
    - OSU Human Nutrition Department
    - Pickerington Library
    - Police Department: Child Id’s & Cars
    - Rolling Arcade: Dance Dance Party
    - Small Smiles
    - Wayne Webb Bowling Center
    - We Joy Sing: Music Table
    - WIC
    - Youth Advocate Services

Liberty Twp./Powell YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:00 a.m.-noon
Activities: 9:00 a.m.-noon

Fitness Related Groups/Clinics/Demos

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Jiu Jitsu skills clinics and demos with Gracie Studios
  • Cheerleading skills clinics and demos with Olentangy Liberty High School Cheerleaders
  • Family Yoga class
  • Kids Zumba class
  • Fencing skills clinics and demos with ProFencing

Local Organizations and Businesses

  • Red Cross- Hand washing station
  • Powell Police Dept.
  • US Army Recruiters
  • Delaware Police Dept.
  • YMCA Camp Wilson- Pony rides 
  • Columbus Zoo- Mobile zoo and mascot
  • Children's Hospital mobile unit

Entertainment and Games

  • Local Powell Band- Liberty Deep Down Band
  • Healthy Food Game
  • Short Running Race 
  • Ohio Machine
  • Blue Jackets
  • Life Size Chess
  • Healthy snack and crafts

North YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Flick & Float Family Movie in our Pool: 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Pickaway County Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: noon-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Rowdy Rascals- 4H
  • Fitness obstacle course
  • Tang Soo Do  demonstration
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Circleville City Police
    - Ohio State Highway Patrol
    - Pickaway Co Sheriffs office
    - Circleville Fire Dept.
    - Boy Scout Troop 55
    - Dental Wellness checks by Dr. Sean Byers, DDS

Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Face Painting
  • Bounce House
  • Venders
  • Fire Department
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Healthy snacks

Eldon & Elise Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 1:00-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bouncy House
  • Fire Department's Fire House
  • Massages and Spinal Screenings by the Buckeye Physical Medicine & Rehab
  • Workouts
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Blingg
    - City Year
    - Girl Scouts
    - Columbus Police Department
    - MLK Columbus Metropolitan Library
    - Park Fun
  • Martial Arts Demo
  • Cooking Demos
  • Pool Activities
    - Life Jacket Fitting and Boating Safety 1:00-2:00 p.m.
    - Open Swim 1:00-4:00 p.m.
    - Gently-used Swim Suit Giveaway


von Hippel, P.T., Powell, B., Downey, D.B., & Rowland, N., American Journal of Public Health, “The effect of school on overweight in childhood: Gains in children’s body mass index during the school year and during summer vacation”, April 2007

Horizons National, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahhj3wxxkdM&feature=player_embedded

March 24 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day

Tuesday, March 24, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, and the YMCA of Central Ohio wants residents of Columbus to know their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventative steps they can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

In the United States alone, 26 million people suffer from diabetes and 79 million people have prediabetes. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care and the overall well-being of our communities makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before.

The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when only 11 percent realize they have the condition. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Often a preventable condition, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions.

As a leading voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages all adults learn their vulnerability for type 2 diabetes by taking a risk assessment at http://www.diabetes.org/risktest Sever.al factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.

Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

• Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
• Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
• Aim for whole grains with every meal.
• Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
• Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
• Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight. 

To learn more about the YMCA of Central Ohio’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please visit http://ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes or contact Caroline Rankin, director of chronic disease prevention programs, at 614-384-2281.

March is National Nutrition Month: Plan, Prep and Eat Together

Busy schedules can make finding time for healthy family meals a challenge, but when we opt for convenient and quick options like ‘fast food’ or eat at different times, we lose the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and support our health and well-being. When all members of the family are engaged in planning, cooking and then sharing regular, nutritious meals—be it breakfast, lunch or dinner—caregivers can take advantage of this time spent together and nurture children’s development by serving as positive role models, strengthening family relationships and setting healthy habits to promote children’s health and wellbeing later in life. At the Y, strengthening community is our cause, and strong families make for strong communities. March is National Nutrition Month® and a good time to consider how changing up your meal routine can strengthen your family’s health and well-being. Here are a few helpful tips the YMCA of Central Ohio team recommends for making healthy family meals a priority:

HOLD A WEEKLY PLANNING PARTY Gather the family around some healthy snacks and hold a meal planning party where everyone helps plan healthy family meals and creates a grocery list with needed ingredients. Involving children in selecting ingredients may make them more receptive to trying new foods and recipes.

COOK TOGETHER By preparing meals together, caregivers can teach kids about what goes into making a nutritious meal while also imparting useful skills and spending quality time with them. Break tasks down into manageable pieces and encourage children to touch, smell and taste ingredients. Have fun and let everyone experience how good it feels to work together.

ENJOY AND RELAX Mealtime is perfect for family conversation. Engage kids in conversation that excites them and spend time talking about the meal they helped plan and prepare. This should be a time when everyone feels connected and part of the family.

Tips for Safer Snow Removal

At the Y, we have a partnership with The Ohio State University Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation at our locations in Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard and Liberty Township/Powell. They recommend these tips for safer snow removal in accordance with recommendations from the American Heart Association. Below are a few of the tips you should follow when shoveling snow:

1. Give yourself frequent rest breaks.

2. Don’t eat a heavy meal prior to or soon after shoveling.

3. Use a small shovel or consider a snow blower.

4. Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body.

5. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after.

6. Consult your physician if you have a pre-existing condition. 

7. Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia.

Tips for Achieving New Year’s Resolutions

Each year, millions of Americans resolve to get in better shape and become healthier versions of themselves. According to a recent YMCA survey of more than 1,000 adults, less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolution in 2014. An overwhelming 71 percent said they tried but fell short, and 40 percent confessed that they made it through only a couple of weeks or months. 

However, there’s hope for the coming year. One-third of survey respondents who plan to make a resolution in 2015 believe they’ll stick to it and reach their goals, with more than half believing that encouragement from others will keep them committed.

A positive outlook doesn’t always translate to action unless without setting manageable goals and leaning on the support of health and wellness communities. Here are five tips the YMCA of Central Ohio recommends to help make a healthy New Year’s resolution stick:

1. Start small. Set attainable resolutions. For example, if your goal is to exercise more frequently in the New Year, don’t schedule seven days a week at the gym. Start with a reasonable three days a week. If you’d like to eat healthier, try replacing desserts with other foods you enjoy, such as fruit or yogurt.

2. Take it one step at a time. Making a New Year’s resolution doesn’t require you to reassess every little detail of your life. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones takes time, so don’t become overwhelmed. Work to change one behavior at a time, and then go from there.

3. Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors – like working out – to your lifestyle, finding a facility that keeps you motivated is critical to maintaining your exercise routine. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity such as the YMCA. 

4. Establish a little friendly competition. More than half of the Y survey respondents felt a little “healthy competition” when friends encouraged them to be even more committed to keeping their New Year’s resolutions. Share your experiences with support groups – friends, family, fellow workout class members or close colleagues. Talking about your struggles and successes will make your goals more attainable and less intimidating.

5. Set New Year’s goals with someone you love. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner working toward similar goals. More than three-fourths of survey respondents indicated that they would set the same resolution for a member of their immediate family. Team up with a family member to set your 2015 goals, and establish a game plan that is dedicated to achieving them.

The easiest gift you’ll make this year!

How YOU can give back to your community

Did you know you can help the Y when you shop at Kroger and Amazon, and there's no extra cost to you? Kroger Community Rewards® and AmazonSmile make giving easy!

By designating the YMCA of Central Ohio as the recipient of these programs, you are helping us to provide safe and affordable child care for working parents, low income housing for those who may otherwise be homeless, health and wellness activities to help individuals prevent or manage cardiovascular disease and so much more.

Read on to learn how you can help through these great opportunities. Your designations will assist the YMCA of Central Ohio in continuing to meet the needs of our community.

Kroger Community Rewards®

All you have to do is sign into your Plus Card account on Kroger's website and enroll in the Kroger Community Rewards® Program. Then, when you shop at Kroger, swipe your Plus Card, and a percentage of your shopping dollars will come directly to the YMCA to help support all that we do in our community. 

As a requirement of the Kroger Community Rewards® Program, you must renew your enrollment annually in order for the YMCA of Central Ohio to continue to receive donations from this program.



By using AmazonSmile and designating the YMCA of Central Ohio, .5% of eligible purchases will help strengthen your community through the YMCA's efforts. When you shop, make sure to browse using smile.amazon.com, which will show you the same products at the same prices.

Kroger and Amazon do NOT share the names of individuals who are enrolled in either program with the YMCA of Central Ohio.


Allison Wiley

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NEW 9 Week Sessions

Winter Session

January5 - March 8, 2015 

We’re gearing up for 2015 and have some great news to share! New in 2015 is a 9 week session calendar designed to help you experience more in-depth training and better progression toward your goals. We’re committed to making sure you enjoy your YMCA experience; have priority registration for the programs you want and are here to help you reach your health and wellness goals in the new year.

  • Deeper Focus and training
  • Registration available before session ends
  • 9 Weeks = more progress
  • Streamlined online registration on the new Hub         

  Winter registration available December 6th


We look forward to seeing you at the Y in 2015. 

Registration Begins

Members: December 6, 2014

Non Members: December 13, 2014




Renovations nearly complete at Four YMCAs

Created with flickr slideshow.

We're thrilled our branch renovations are nearing completion! The Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA, Grove City YMCA, Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA and Liberty Township/Powell YMCA all received redesigned: 

  • Welcome Centers
  • Member Lounges
  • flooring throughout
  • tracks
  • cardio and strength equipment
  • and more!

Check out what's new at...

Make sure stop by one of these Ys for a full tour of the spaces!



YMCA of Central Ohio preschoolers help set new Guinness Book World Record

About 100 pre-school-aged children and their teachers from the YMCA of Central Ohio gathered Thursday, October 30 at the Hilltop YMCA/Cherry Creek location to help set the Guinness Book World Record for largest vocabulary lesson. The event was part of the Grow Up Great initiative, hosted by PNC Financial Services, which focuses on early learning in youth development.

More than 4,000 children in 37 cities across 15 states and the District of Columbia participated in the lesson. The new record for largest vocabulary lesson was set with the first 1,031 participants throughout the country. Children who participated in the event each took home a copy of “Words are Here, There and Everywhere,” an English/Spanish multimedia kit created by Sesame Workshop. PNC’s Grow Up Great has been helping children prepare for Kindergarten for 10 years. The YMCA of Central Ohio Child Care leadership was thrilled to be involved with the event and thank the PNC Financial Services team for their support of early childhood learning. To see more photos from the event, click here

Now accepting proposals for project at the Cherry Creek YMCA location.

Now accepting proposals for project at the Cherry Creek YMCA location.  Responses must be bid using federal Davis/ Bacon prevailing wage standards.



Rich Zingale

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More Information (PDF)

YMCA Cherry Creek - Project - Bid & Permit Set

Many Child Care Job Openings in the YMCA

Olentangy Local Openings

Site Director Openings - 1

View Description and Apply


Teacher Openings

8(am-7-9)& 11 pm 3-6)
Alum Creek - 1am & 1pm
Arrowhead - 1am & 1pm
Freedom Trail - 1pm
Indian Springs - 1am & 1pm
Liberty Tree - 1am & 1pm
Olentangy Meadows - 1pm
Scioto Ridge - 1am
Tyler Run - 3am & 3pm
Wyandot Run - 1pm
Oak Creek - 1pm
View Description and Apply

North Openings

FT Lead Preschool Teacher - View Description and Apply
PT Before/After School Teacher- View Description and Apply

West, Hilltop, Openings

Site Director Openings - 3

Montrose (am and pm) - Bexley City Schools
Harmon (pm) - Southwestern City Schools
Hamilton (am and pm) - Hamilton Local Schools
View Description and Apply

11 Teacher Openings

Hamilton Elementary (pm) 3-6 - Hamilton Township Schools
Harmon (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
West Bay (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Prairie Norton (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
North Franklin (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Alton Hall (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Darby Woods (pm) 3-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Montrose (pm) 3-6pm - Bexley City Schools
Valleyview (pm) 2-6pm - Columbus City Schools
Southwood (pm) 3-6pm - Columbus City Schools
Fairwood (pm) 3-6 pm - Columbus City Schools
View Description and Apply

Jerry L. Garver Openings

Site Director Opening-1

Full time - Pickerington Local Schools View Description and Apply

Teachers Opening - 2

Whitehall (pm) 2-6pm Pickerington teacher (pm) 2-6pm View Description and Apply

Hilltop Educare Openings

Full-Time Infant Teacher

(bachelors in ECE or equivalent) M-F 9-6 View Description and Apply

Preschool Teacher

(any education but would prefer at least a CDA, but an Associates in ECE would be great. M-F 9-6 View Description and Apply

Floater Position

7-9am or 10 am M-F View Description and Apply

Early Learning Openings

Baby Room Closer

3-6pm - Qualifications: in school for ECE or related degree View Description and Apply

West Side shelter opens to accommodate homeless families

Please see below for a recent article from the July 24, 2014 edition of The Columbus Dispatch about the new Van Buren Center. 

A renovated West Side warehouse in which boxes were manufactured now provides a resting place for homeless families.

The Community Shelter Board opened its newest shelter, at 525 Van Buren Dr., last night to about 40 families who couldn’t squeeze into the already-packed YWCA Family Center on the East Side.

“We’re providing a refuge of peace, hope and safety,” said Sue Darby, the executive director of the Downtown district of the YMCA of Central Ohio, which provides overnight staffing at the new shelter.

Built for 50 families, the YWCA Family Center has served more than 120 people at a time, with many of the kids and their parents ending up on cots, in churches or at motels because there were no empty beds.

The Community Shelter Board has even tried paying friends and family members to let homeless families stay with them, but it hasn’t stemmed the flow.

“The increase in family homelessness is absolutely astronomical,” said Michelle Heritage, the shelter board’s executive director.

Over the past three years, homelessness in Franklin County grew by 14 percent among single men and women and 65 percent among families, according to the shelter board. To meet this need, the board has spent an additional $1.5 million in motel and overflow-shelter costs, Heritage said.

Though it had long held out against a brick-and-mortar response, the shelter board decided the time had come for a new shelter, and it bought the former Columbus Paper Box property in the West Edge Business Center.

Families sent to the West Side shelter will spend the night in beds initially intended for single men and women through at least November. That’s when more homeless adults will come in off the streets looking for a warm, dry place to sleep, Heritage said.

During the day, the families will be taken to the YWCA Family Center for services.

The shelter board is raising money to build a permanent family shelter on the second floor of the Van Buren building. It is to have private sleeping rooms for families, a homework room and offices where clients can meet with case managers. It is to open by September 2015, and Volunteers of America will operate it.

“The dramatic increase in families seeking shelter is pretty unbelievable,” said Volunteers of America spokeswoman Nicole Knowlton. “It’s the children who are the most vulnerable and hardest hit.”

The $13.7 million shelter will serve up to 356 single men and women and 85 families in separate wings and will have a medical clinic and meeting rooms, Heritage said.

It will also serve as the new home for Rebecca’s Place, which currently provides shelter to 47 women in a run-down building on Rhoads Avenue on the East Side. The property’s previous owner went bankrupt, and the building went into foreclosure.

The relocation of Rebecca’s Place is expected to be completed by the end of this month. By mid-August, the shelter board expects to begin admitting single women. It won’t start taking men until November, when the weather starts to turn cold.

The shelter board is also unveiling a new program in October aimed at helping single adults move quickly into stable housing and steer clear of the obstacles that can push them back into homelessness. People will be assigned to case managers who will link them to housing, job training and medical and mental-health care.

People will be assigned to the same case manager if they end up back in a shelter, and that person will check on them after they’ve found housing, to make sure their lives stay on a positive track.

“They’re your person who will stay with you — no matter where you go,” Heritage said.

Link to Article


Thank you for ensuring kids stay safe in water

If you were at a branch this summer, you might have noticed a few ducks waddling around. The ducks invited our members and community to help us address a critical need in our community - keeping children safe around water. Our staff and volunteers had a great time in their fundraising efforts by dressing up in duck costumes or wearing flotation devices.

Kathryn Dobbs, YMCA of Central Ohio's Vice President of Philanthropy said, "This is truly a great way for our Y community to build awareness about water safety and the need to teach children to swim. With the funds raised through this initiative, we're able to support families and children who otherwise could not participate in swim lessons".

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning (www.cdc.gov/safechild).  At the Y, we want to ensure that children, teens and adults have access to programs such as swim lessons. The outcome is more than a great backstroke, it can save a life.

Through this effort, our members and community partners helped more than 500 children who will now have access to swim lessons. Thank you to all who helped make this possible in Central Ohio!

Community Impact Breakfast Features Michael Eicher

On June 17, the Columbus Foundation welcomed the YMCA of Central Ohio and 100 guests for a special Community Impact Breakfast. 

Michael Eicher, senior vice president of advancement at The Ohio State University and president of The Ohio State University Foundation served as the keynote speaker for the event. 

Prior to joining Ohio State, Mike was senor vice president for external affairs and development at Johns Hopkins University, where he led the Knowledge for the World campaign, resulting in commitments of more then $3.7 billion, focused on the critical unmet needs of the university.

While Mr. Eicher's professional resume is accomplished, he also has a long, rich history with the YMCA. As part of the National Board at YMCA of the USA, Mike is bringing his extraordinary knowledge and dedicated counsel to the work of the YMCA movement, benefitting Y's across the country.

Mike's inspirational keynote included personal reflections and stories of his experiences with the YMCA.

Help Support Your Community

Supply drive to benefit homeless adults & children at Van Buren Front Door Shelter

General Items Needed

  • Blankets
  • Twin sheets
  • Pillow cases
  • Tooth brushes
  • Tooth pastes
  • Floss
  • Feminine products
  • Deodorant
  • Pillows
  • Bar Soap (travel size)
  • Shampoo (travel size)
  • Conditioner (travel size)
  • Lip balm
  • Socks (mens black tube socks preferred)
  • Depends
  • New Underwear
  • Books (especially resource books)
  • Disposable Razors 
  • Games/Cards
  • Educational Materials
  • Baby Powder
  • Daily Planners

Items Needed for Children

  • cribs
  • baby wash tubs
  • play pens/pack & plays
  • high chairs
  • bibs
  • sipper cups
  • bounce chairs
  • baby crank swings
  • diaper pails
  • baby formula
  • baby food
  • baby wipes
  • diapers
  • children's pull ups.


Elizabeth Zingale

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At the YMCA of Central Ohio, the safety of members, program participants and staff is our highest priority. After careful review and consideration of national statistics showing no injuries and/or deaths associated with the use of indoor swimming pools during thunderstorms where lightning is present in the area, we’re pleased to provide our updated policy below. For outdoor pools, however, swimming during a thunderstorm is extremely dangerous. Lightning regularly strikes water, and since water conducts electricity, a nearby lightning strike is extremely probable.

The indoor pools and pool decks at all YMCA of Central Ohio locations will remain open during thunderstorms. We reserve the right to close the indoor pool if severe weather is in the direct vicinity and poses a significant threat. Indoor pools will close immediately when a tornado warning has been issued in the area. All members and staff will receive instruction for the safest location inside the facility while the area is under a tornado warning. Once the warning has been lifted, all swimming pools will reopen. During a high wind advisory outside, pools that have windows will be asked to move all outdoor equipment to a safe location, and the blinds pulled until the advisory is lifted.

Lightning and Thunder: When thunder or lightning is first noticed, outdoor pool activities will be suspended and all outdoor pools and pool decks will be evacuated until 30 minutes after the last sign of thunder or lightning. The distance from a facility to an approaching thunderstorm can be five to eight miles away, but lightning can strike from a much farther distance.

Heavy rain can make it difficult to see the bottom of a pool or beneath the surface. If heavy rain causes bottom obstruction, pools will be cleared and swimming halted until the rain lets up. Wind can also cause safety hazards. If wind is observably strong or gusty and causes bottom obstruction due to rippling, swimmers will be cleared from pools until the bottom is visible.

Bickley YMCA marks decade

The Gahanna community is invited to help celebrate a decade as the Gahanna John E. Bickley YMCA during an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 31.

Wellness-services director Valerie Baumann said the 10-year anniversary celebration would include family Zumba, a bounce house, carnival games, face painting, a Slip'n Slide, a nutrition seminar, field games, a children's hip-hop and other activities.

The open house is free, and the membership enrollment fee will be waived all day, so nonmembers are invited to attend.

Baumann said more than 20 local businesses would be represented, including Giant Eagle and Bob Evans, as well as such small businesses as Shampooch.

Gahanna YMCA executive director Paul Westenheffer said 10 years is a very exciting milestone.

"Our staff and volunteers are proud to celebrate this anniversary and reflect back on the hard work so many people have provided to make our Y a success," he said. "We have been very fortunate to receive tremendous support from the Gahanna community over the years. We appreciate that support and look forward to serving the community for many more years to come."

The Gahanna YMCA opened March 9, 2004.

Westenheffer said the Y has been working with the Ohio State University for outpatient rehabilitation since its opening.

The Gahanna YMCA is volunteer-led, with 21 active board members.

Last year, the Y donated $270,000 to the community, according to Baumann.

She said donations have subsidized memberships, camp registration, swim lessons and program registration for a diabetes prevention program.

"We also have an upcoming program this fall that has already been implemented at other central Ohio YMCAs, called Livestrong, at the YMCA," Baumann said.

The program allows cancer survivors to work with trainers to build strength after treatments.

"We offer this program completely free to cancer survivors, and this is only possible with the support of others," Baumann said. "In addition, this summer, 40 percent of our campers will be able to attend kids camp because of subsidized registration.

Baumann said Gahanna's current membership is 14,140.

Thanks to a partnership with the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, Westenheffer said, the Gahanna YMCA at Clark Hall opened September 6, 2011.

He said the Y offers more than 100 group exercise classes per week, and the largest program is swim lessons, with more than 500 participants per session.

The Gahanna YMCA employs more than 170 people, and it's a host site for the U.S. Navy SEALs training program.

"The Y is community-centered," Westenheffer said. "We respond to community needs through collaboration, program and services."

He said the Y also brings people together, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds to bridge the gaps in community needs. And the Y nurtures potential.

"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive," Westenheffer said.

Link to Article


LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA registration open

Cancer is a life-changing disease that takes a tremendous physical and emotional toll on those affected. LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, a research-based physical activity and well-being program for adult cancer survivors, provides survivors with the opportunity to come to the Y to heal. Participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to safely achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is helping people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body.

We have classes starting at the following YMCA branches (Y membership is not required and the program is free for participants): 

Hilltop YMCA - 614-276-8224
Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA - 614-252-3166
Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA - 614-416-9622
Downtown YMCA - 614-224-1131
North YMCA - 614-885-4252
Pickaway County Family YMCA - 740-477-1661
Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA - 614-539-1770

Please call us with any questions. 

OCU athletes join people with disabilities for basketball clinic

Members of the Ohio Christian University men’s basketball team spent the day Wednesday as teachers at a basketball clinic for people with disabilities, but in the process learned lessons of their own.

About 200 people participated in the event held at the Pickaway County Family YMCA, according to Chris Hiles, vice president of media and sales for IN-Abled, the company organizing the clinic.

“It’s really a life-changing event,” Hiles said. “Not only for the participants but also for the student athletes to see that people are people and to break down those barriers for people with disabilities.”

The participants ranged in age and were invited through a partnership with Berger Health System, the Pickaway County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Special Olympics and Easter Seals, as well as organizations in Ross, Fairfield and Fayette counties like Good Hands Supported Living, he said.

Students from Teays Valley and Westfall school districts also participated in the clinic.

The event was held as a Christian service project for the OCU men’s team, which is part of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Though the first of its kind, the local event is being used to develop a model that may be used by the NCCAA as a standard for future Christian service projects nationwide.

The clinics were followed by an exhibition game between NCCAA and OCU officials and an all-star team held Wednesday night at OCU. Proceeds from the game benefit Easter Seals, which Hiles said was chosen because it is a holistic service organization with an international reach that provides services for people with disabilities.

Hiles, a former employee of the local YMCA and a graduate of the former Circleville Bible College (now OCU), said the Y offered its facility free of charge for the clinics on Wednesday.

“Our idea has always been that the YMCA should be a community center, and it fit our mission well to work with them,” said Jeff Phillips, director of the Pickaway County Family YMCA. “There was a lot of activity, a lot of energy and smiles, not only from the kids but also the basketball players. They had a great time, and we were proud to be part of it.”

IN-Abled, based in Logan, is a media company that creates person-centered illustrations focusing on the success, abilities and inclusion of a diverse group of people in the disabilities community, according to its Web site.

More information can be found Online at www.in-abled.com.

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YMCA of Central Ohio Staff Donate over $122K to Annual Campaign

To date, YMCA of Central Ohio staff have donated $122,232 to the organization’s 2014 Annual Campaign. Sixty-five percent of the organization’s more than 1,800 employees donated to the 2014 campaign, an increase in participation of 2 percent from 2013.

YMCA of Central Ohio officials and members of the Board of Directors recognized the staff’s outstanding philanthropic performance last week at a celebration to kick off the organization’s external 2014 Annual Campaign. Community Campaign volunteers also attended the event to learn about opportunities to strengthen the Y’s Cause throughout Central Ohio. Staff and community volunteer donations have already raised more than $500K toward the organization’s $1M goal. The YMCA of Central Ohio moved into the public phase of its campaign March 10.

“I’m so proud of our staff and volunteers,” said Andrew Roberts, President and CEO of the YMCA of Central Ohio. “Throughout Central Ohio, countless people know they can count on the Y. We don’t turn anyone away for inability to pay. Every day, we work throughout our local communities to support the children, adults, families and neighborhoods that need us most. We are launching our Annual Campaign to ensure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.”

Financial gifts will help to close gaps in the community and to strengthen Central Ohio by helping individuals and families through programs and services that support the Y’s commitment to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Individuals interested in donating to the YMCA of Central Ohio can do so by visiting www.ymcacolumbus.org/give.

Enhance®Fitness for older adults

Enhance®Fitness is an evidence-based group exercise program, helps older adults at all levels of fitness become more active, energized, an empowered to sustain independent lives. This wellness program focuses on dynamic cardiovascular exercise, strength training, balance, and flexibility — everything older adults need to maintain health and function as they age.

In a typical class, participants will experience:
• A certified instructor with special training in bringing out the physical best from older adults
• A 5-minute warm-up to get the blood flowing to the muscles
• A 20-minute aerobics workout that gets participants moving, or a walking workout to lively music that the class chooses
• A 5-minute cool-down
• A 20-minute strength training workout with soft ankle and wrist weights (0 up to 20 pounds)
• A 10-minute stretching workout to keep the muscles flexible
• Balance exercises throughout the class
• Lots of opportunities for participants to make new friends and acquaintances!


Locations and Contact Information:

Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA
Brianna Burke

Hilltop YMCA
Barbara Camfield

Delaware Community Center YMCA
Amy Mosser

Grove City YMCA
Angie Jordan

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA
Inez Rosa

March is National Nutrition Month

Shop Healthy

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is essential to every person’s well-being. As a leading nonprofit for healthy living, the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages healthy eating habits by providing nutritious meals and snacks during programs and activities. We also provide families with tips and ideas for eating healthy at home.

March is National Nutrition Month, and the Y is sharing a few healthy shopping tips to help you make the healthiest grocery selections for you and your family. As a general rule, it’s best to reach for groceries that are stocked around the perimeter of the store. Here are a few tips to remember on your next shopping trip:

Opt for Whole Grains

• Check the ingredients list to make sure a whole grain (like whole wheat, barley, oats, rye or brown rice) is listed first.
• Choose whole grains with no more than 5 grams of sugar.
• Pick up quick-cooking grains such as whole- wheat pasta, brown rice or quinoa.

Cut the Salt

• Check nutrition labels on canned, boxed and frozen foods to ensure sodium (salt) levels are below 300 mg per serving.
• Choose real cheese instead of cheese products.
• Consider alternatives to lunchmeat, which can contain high levels of salt, like no-salt-added peanut butter with bananas, or fresh vegetables with hummus.

YMCA’s Weather Policy

Snow Emergency: (As determined by the county where the branch is located)


Level I:

  • YMCA will be open for normal operating hours.
  • Classes/programs will follow their regular schedule.

Level II:

  • YMCA of Central Ohio branches affected by a Level II snow emergency may have a delay in opening or early closure.
  • Morning or evening classes/programs may be cancelled at YMCA of Central

Level III:

  • YMCA of Central Ohio locations affected by a Level III snow emergency will be closed.
  • All classes/programs of the locations affected, will be cancelled for as long as the Level III snow emergency is in place.


Gahanna/Bickley YMCA gets facelift, new equipment

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA members soon will be able to work out in style with new equipment and renovated facilities, thanks to the YMCA of Central Ohio and a gift from the Limited Brands Foundation.

Gahanna YMCA director Paul Westenheffer said he is thrilled and honored to have the Y collaborate with the Limited Brands Foundation and Victoria's Secret to better serve the Gahanna community.

An undisclosed financial gift from the Limited Brands Foundation to revitalize the interior spaces of the Y will make the local facility more conducive to helping individuals develop healthy habits, Westenheffer said.

Improvements will include new carpeting, fresh paint and a new color palette, new surfaces on the member service desk and vanities, newly-designed resource displays and large-screen televisions.

New equipment will feature rotating staircases, a high-tech spinning bike, a rope climber, treadmills, elliptical machines, rowers and other cardio equipment.

"Whether it is refurbished fitness areas, which will help the community stay healthy, or a new coffee and lounge area for seniors to have a welcoming place to meet with friends, or revitalized locker rooms designed for families, the Victoria's Secret and YMCA teams worked closely together with the needs of the whole community in mind," Westenheffer said.

Construction began Dec. 16 and is expected to be completed by mid-January. Finishing touches like painting and lighting are scheduled to be finished by the Gahanna Y's 10th anniversary in March.

"The bulk of it will be done soon," Westenheffer said.

He said the collaboration between the YMCA and Limited Brands went beyond the monetary gift by the foundation.

"The YMCA has added to the total to help us purchase additional equipment, both to replenish items that needed replaced and to add newer, state-of-the-art equipment," Westenheffer said. "It will be of great appeal to our members and others. This wasn't a capital campaign. The grant triggered the whole project. We looked at what we could get done and how to complement the grant."

Led by YMCA board member Patrick Sanderson, COO of Victoria's Secret stores, a team of Victoria's Secret interior designers volunteered their time and talents to partner with YMCA leaders over the course of several months to redesign spaces that weren't inviting. They also considered what was needed to help Y members meet their personal goals.

"With these new spaces, the YMCA refreshes its promise to be a place in which all are welcome, feel comfortable and confident and are supported by YMCA staff that is dedicated to their personal growth and well-being," Westenheffer said.

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From the Y to the Canadian Football League

The Y is the starting point for many youth to learn about becoming and staying active, and developing healthy habits they will carry with them throughout their lives. The benefits are far greater than just physical. When kids play sports, they can build confidence, discover their personal best, have fun and be a part of a team. 

Chip Cox, 30, of Columbus, OH, first came to the North YMCA as a child with his father and brother. He enjoyed spending time with his family, working out, playing sports in the gym and meeting new friends. He had goals and worked toward them throughout the years. Now, he's a linebacker for the Montreal Alouettes and was recently named Defensive Player of the year in the Canadian Football League. Chip is very team-oriented and said the award isn't just about him but also about his teammates. 

During the offseason, he still visits the North YMCA to work out and train when he's in town and said the Y is a welcoming community. 

"The Y feels like home and is my home away from home," Chip said. "I've met so many great people at the Y and have learned a lot about community."

Congratulations, Chip! We're so proud of you.