Changing Lives - The Door County YMCA
We recently invested $2.5M in a new Lifestyle Center and renovations at the Northern Door Y Program Center in Fish Creek. As we opened the doors to this wonderful new space, I was reminded that our work is not about bricks and mortar or gyms and pools; our business is in fact about changing lives.
The unique genius of the YMCA is that each community decides what programs and facilities are needed and are only limited by the creativity and generosity of local leaders. For thirty years, the YMCA in Door County has provided activities and services which have helped to instill values in children so they would make better decisions tomorrow. The Y has focused on character development and leadership training. The importance of healthy living has always been top of mind. And Y programs have helped people of all ages lift their sense of self-esteem so that their tomorrows would be brighter. And the way the Y does this is by putting heroes in the lives of people of all ages in every program we offer, in every venue in which we work.
In Door County, the YMCA has truly become the community center of activity for many kids, families, adults and seniors. Today we have about 8000 members in our county of 27,000 residents. Surprisingly, we are not an affluent county. In fact, we our one of our state’s poorest. Fortunately, the YMCA welcomes everyone and finds a way to level the playing field for all who wish to join. Each year we raise about $500,000 to honor our promise to serve everyone regardless of financial ability. Today about 1200 of our members use and enjoy the Y through our Income Based Membership program. The Y is here for everyone and we work each day to insure we are a welcoming place.
As we opened the new addition in Fish Creek I thought about the wide range of services and programs the Y provides to residents throughout the peninsula. We care for the smallest of our children in our childcare facility to the oldest of our seniors in a variety of specialized programs. I sometimes fear that there is not an awareness of the impact that the Y has on our area. For example, Did you know?
- The Y owns and maintains a 10 acre Peterson Park north of the Sturgeon Bay Program Center which is open to the public without charge and includes a playground, public restrooms, ¾ mile of walking paths, an acre and one half wild flower garden, and more.
- Thousands of Door County Seniors consider the YMCA to be their community center and attend regularly scheduled activities and classes in addition to specialized programs such as Stepping On (fall prevention class), M.I.N.D. (memory in development), Parkinson’s Exercise, LiveSTRONG (for cancer survivors) and many more.
- The Door County YMCA operates the only large group child care center in the southern half of the peninsula. The Barker Center on Egg Road is licensed for 92 children and is now operating at full capacity and there is a long waiting list to attend.
- The Y encourages individuals to consider the YMCA in their estate plans to insure the Y program remains vital and healthy for generations to come.
- The Y summer foods program supplies more than 500 lunches and snacks every weekday during the eleven weeks of summer. Hunger is a “quiet challenge” in Door County and the Y provides this program to all children without regard to YMCA membership.
- The YMCA provides after school programming at Sunrise School in Sturgeon Bay and Southern Door every week day during the school year, offering parents the reassuring comfort that children are safe and in good care after school.
- Over the past thirty years, thousands of children have learned to swim, are safe around water and are able to enjoy a lifetime of water activities.
- Our improvements at the Northern Door Y Program Center represent an investment of over $2.5M in the programming we provide through that center.
We hope you share our pride in the YMCA programs which have been developed over the past thirty years. Children who joined the Y in the early years of our history are now bringing their children to the Y and enjoying the wonderful facilities and programs offered. We look forward to continuing that legacy of service for future generations to enjoy.
Tom Beerntsen, CEO