“Strengthening the Community through Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility”
By Kelly Griffith-Fields
Health and wellness typically come to mind at the cusp of a new year. The YMCA makes it their mission to help all community members build a healthy spirit, mind and body through their various programs.
“I believe the YMCA is a somewhat hidden asset,” Tyler branch President and CEO, Jeremy Bumgardner, said. “A lot of the community may not be aware of what we have to offer.”
The nonprofit organization is opening its doors to the public at its Tyler location, as well as at the Whitehouse Community YMCA, on January 9th from 8am-4pm. The open house is completely free for the community the entire day.
“I would like everyone to come out and see what all the YMCA has to offer,” Bumgardner said.
The open house will include tours and use of the facility. Certified instructors will provide demonstrations of their group classes. Classes such as Pilates, yoga, Bodypump and Turbokick are scheduled to take place throughout the day – completely free for the public.
Each person that visits the open house will also receive a free one-week pass to the facility.
“It’s a great way to get the New Year’s resolutions kicked off right with a little assistance,” Bumgardner said.
The YMCA is committed to providing services for anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
Pricing differs throughout a variety of membership options. Single memberships are available for all ages. Senior household membership options, as well as household and single-parent household memberships, offer one rate which covers the whole family. Financial assistance is also available for those who qualify.
“We are a very inclusive organization,” Bumgardner said. “We offer a sliding-fee scale so that when someone walks in the door, regardless of how much they make, we can help them.” The YMCA provided over $100,000 through their financial assistance in 2015.
Membership to the YMCA of Tyler also gives you access to the Whitehouse YMCA.
As another incentive to join during the month of January, both branches are offering a two-for-one special. When two people join the YMCA on separate memberships each will receive fifty percent off their joiner’s fee.
The YMCA of Tyler was founded in October of 1953. The current property on S. Vine Ave. was donated in 1958 and the structure was built. In 1999, they partnered with the Whitehouse City Council to open a branch facility. It was opened in April of 2001, and offers many of the same programs and amenities as the Tyler location.
Amenities at both locations include locker rooms, a gymnasium, and a fitness center. Cardio machines, weight machines as well as free weights, are also available. Space to accommodate group fitness classes is also on site. There are more than 20 group exercise classes held weekly. A wide range of group classes are offered such as Zumba, PiYo, and Cardio Blast. There’s something for everyone – from Gentle Yoga to Les Mills BodyPump!
Unique to the Tyler branch are its two indoor racquetball courts, tennis courts, track, dry sauna and hot tub, and a four-lane, heated pool. The indoor pool was restored and upgraded to a saline (salt water) pool in 2006. It’s maintained at a comfortable 85 degrees. Large windows stream in sunlight across the four lanes. It is utilized during an Aqua Blast fitness class, lap swimming, free swim and more.
“Flick’n Float is the first Friday of each month,” Bumgardner said. “We show a family-friendly movie on a big screen inside of the indoor pool area starting at 6:30pm. It is great fun for all ages.”
Each facility offers Child Watch – featured times when parents are able to leave their kids with the qualified childcare staff while they get in a workout. “It eliminates an obstacle of taking care of yourself,” Bumgardner said.
“Catch,” a licensed after school care program at the YMCA provides tutoring, arts and crafts, snacks, and exercise as part of the participant’s daily activities. Core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility are taught as part of the “Catch” curriculum to students from the ten area schools served by the program.
Youth sports programs are available which teach character development through teamwork, sportsmanship, and sharing. All sports teams are coed and embody a philosophy of fair play, and inclusiveness. Basketball, soccer, volleyball, and football are all scheduled on the 2016 sports calendar. To sign up, go to the YMCA website at tylerymca.org.
YMCA of Tyler also provides a licensed pre-school along side their child care programs. Potty trained children ages 2 ½-5 years old may enroll. Care is provided Monday-Friday from 7am-6pm. Activities include dramatic play, arts, music, math, reading and writing readiness, as well as field trips and more.
Summer Day Camp for children ages 4-12 is available Monday-Friday from 7am-6pm with various activities during the summer months.
The YMCA states their cause is to “strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.”
“We’ve been serving Smith County for a long time,” Bumgardner said. “We have a great track record and look forward to continuing to serve our community for years to come.”
YMCA of Tyler, Texas is located at 225 S. Vine Avenue in Tyler, (903)593-7327.
Whitehouse Community YMCA is located at 301 S. Terry Street in Whitehouse, (903)839-9622.
For more information on their programs and amenities, visit tylerymca.org or search Tyler YMCA or Whitehouse Community YMCA on Facebook.