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Saginaw YMCA

“Our goal is to get everyone to think of the YMCA as a resource for the community.

To us, that’s youth development, that’s healthy living, that’s social responsibility, that’s how we do it here at the Y. We get people calling us all the time with problems. If we can’t solve it, we can plug into who can. We do a ton of veteran programs. Every Thursday we have 40 vets, peer-to-peer in our pool. We have programs where we are doing ‘Lunch and Learns.’ They learn about resources that are available to them as veterans. We offer specific discounts if they care to join, but it’s really about plugging them in.
We have a senior center in the Y; working with the Commission on Aging over the last handful of years. Creating ways to help our seniors deal with isolation and to have healthy food. We never thought of it until two or three years ago, and we’ve been here for 153 years.

The YMCA also has a ‘Work to Learn’ program, where students work in different locations throughout the Y, learning skills so they can go out into the community when they are done with school.

We realize a lot of people come to the Y because the hospital tells them to, which makes the partnership with Renue Physical Therapy ideal. The partnership helps our members in their health journey. We are working towards creating healthy communities. We work with shelters in our area to give every one of their residents an opportunity to come here. That’s why it’s free. We work with them because we realize the YMCA could be a part of the healing process.

We get them down here; they understand what we do. Some of these organizations and residents start volunteering and see how the Y gives back to the community. We came together and had a meeting of the minds. We started thinking, ‘We can help each other.’ That rolls into all of these different collaborations.
When you hear the stories from them, and how it has changed their lives, that is what the Y is here to do.

Pre-COVID, we had over 7000 members, which really blows people’s minds. We are still around 3000 members that have stuck with us through this difficult time. They continue to pay dues because they see the work that we are doing is important.

This summer, when the pandemic came by and schools needed help, we went to 12 different community schools and delivered meals through our Mission Nutrition program. We served close to 80,000 healthy meals to kids in the community.

We have upped our cleaning protocols tenfold. We are at a limited capacity of 25 percent. We have spread our equipment apart. Some of our facilities are not open, you are not jumping into the hot tub or the steam room. Our child watch and kids’ zone, unfortunately, are not open. We are going to get back at it, it’s just going to take a while. We are airing on a very cautious side.

We are doing baby steps. I am grateful that we did those slow steps to keep our community safe and healthy. We encourage people to come down and take a tour to see what’s going on and what we are doing to be safe.

When the pandemic first started, YMCA-USA pivoted. There’s a program called YMCA360 and there are millions of classes that are recorded. You do not have to be a Y member to access those classes. Now with the new restrictions, our group exercise classes are going to become virtual. We will have our same instructors leading the classes virtually. It will be live; it won’t be a recorded class. They will have that same interaction. We’re going to have to make sure everyone knows how to use Zoom.
Interaction is huge, and people are craving being able to talk to someone. I had a Y member I haven’t seen in a while; he was at the Y all the time pre-pandemic. He came down and said, ‘I am loving working out, but there’s nobody here, I miss the camaraderie.’

That’s what people are craving. That’s one thing the Y prides itself on. We do the best we can to make sure we have that. Isolation is taken care of, through the YMCA.”

- Doug Temple,Saginaw YMCA