Last week’s speaker was Jeff Sinnock, Director of Membership for the YMCA of Rome. He told us that the YMCA was established in England in 1844. The first YMCA in the United States was in Boston in 1851, and the YMCA has been in Rome since 1888! The current location has been home to the Y since the late 50s. With the mission of putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all, the Y has a key promise of never turning away anyone due to their inability to pay. To this end the Y provides scholarships to fee-based programs as well as some free programs through fundraising activities, membership fees, and corporate partnerships.

The three-pronged focus of the local YMCA is youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Youth development is accomplished primarily through youth soccer and basketball, swimming lessons, and summer camps, as well as youth fitness classes. Healthy living programs include a membership-based fitness facility with over 6500 members, group fitness classes, personal training, nutrition classes, and membership programs and areas for special populations such as senior citizens, cancer survivors and their families, and persons with accessibility needs. The third prong, social responsibility, is carried out in several ways. The Y has long been involved with summer feeding programs through a partnership with the Rome City School System, but they now provide whole family feeding programs year-round. They have an after-school program for 20 students at Restoration Rome, providing study assistance and mentoring, with a hot dinner before the children leave each day. There is also a mentoring program for teenage boys called Young Men of Dreams. In addition, the Y sponsors multiple events throughout the year, including BooFest, Healthy Kids Day, raffles for the soccer program, an indoor triathlon, 24-hour spin challenge, and Santa at the Y.

There is something for everyone at the YMCA, and Jeff invited Exchange members who are not already YMCA members to come by and see what the Y has to offer.

Many thanks to Exchange Club member Larry Walker for arranging this great program!