The Ashland Area YMCA (AAYMCA) is more than a gym: It is a community where people from all walks of life come together to grow stronger and healthier; support youth development; and live a commitment to social responsibility. The underlying goal of everything the YMCA does is strengthening the community.
“The Y believes that lasting personal and social change happens when we all work together,” said Bob Green, executive director of the Ashland Y. “Every day we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to be healthy, confident, connected and secure.”
The programs offered by the AAYMCA are designed to respond to the community’s pressing needs with community-based solutions. “We are committed to inspiring a spirit of service among our members and the larger community to work for positive social change,” Green noted.
The AAYMC has an impact. Every day, 50 preschool children find a safe place to learn, grow, make friends and explore the world at the Y. Beginning at age 2 these kids start learning to swim, an important, life-long skill. During the school year, the YMCA provides afterschool enrichment, physical activity, homework help and more to 45 to 50 students, enabling parents to continue working, secure in the knowledge that their children are safe and well cared for.
Youth sports are a major focus of the Ashland Y. Every year, 3,000 kids take part in Y youth leagues, playing basketball, soccer and T-ball, learning to be team players, the importance of hard work, how to survive with adversity, and the benefits of good sportsmanship.
The YMCA teaches more kids to swim than any other organization in the United States. At the Ashland Y, nearly 2,500 kids learn to swim, or develop their skills, every year. The Y’s swim team provides a competitive outlet for children ages 5 to 18. A YMCA and USS registered team, the AAYMCA team practices Monday through Friday, with meets held year-round. And the Y swim team has allowed many students to earn college athletic scholarships!
The Ashland Y co-sponsors U.S. Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center Grants at Poage, Hagar and Crabbe elementary schools in Ashland and at Catlettsburg Elementary and Boyd County Middle School, Green noted. The 21st Century Grants support community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children attending high-poverty, low-performing schools. It helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects. “Besides our sponsorship, the Y provides an instructor at each school once per week to teach exercise and games, so the students get some physical exercise,” he noted.
Other youth programs offered by the Y include:
• Summer Day Camp
• Out-of-School Programs
• Yoga for Youth Sports
• Kids Yoga
• Hung Gar Kung Fu
• Lifeguard Certification
While the Y places a lot of emphasis on youth development, adults find a place at the Y, too. “At the Y, we believe exercise and health education are important for people of all ages, incomes and abilities,” Green said. The AAYMCA welcomes all, with scholarships and grants making it possible for those with limited financial resources to participate in Y programs.
The AAYMCA offers a state-of-the-art fitness center for both strength training and injury rehabilitation. There’s an enclosed walking track and a full adult gym. There are racquetball courts and indoor cycling classes. Group exercise classes include Pilates, Zumba, yoga, kickboxing and kick aerobics.
Adults who have never learned to swim can learn at the Y. There are water aerobics classes and even classes in scuba diving! The Y’s aqua fitness classes help strengthen muscles and increase endurance and the facility also offers therapeutic aquatic classes, which are great for those with arthritis.
“The Ashland Area Y is committed to being a good neighbor, a good partner, and a reliable contributor to the development of our community,” Green said. “We are here to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities.”
Make a difference; support the Y
As you consider your year-end giving, please consider a gift to the Ashland Area YMCA. When you give to the Y, you are funding life-changing programs that help people right here in this community. Your support helps the Y deliver on its commitment to nurture the potential of our youth; to improve the nation’s health and well-being; and to ensure that programs are open to all regardless of financial circumstances.
If you’d like to support the Y’s mission, please call (606) 324-6191 or send your donation to Bob Green, Ashland Area YMCA, 3232 Megan Neyer Way, Ashland, KY 41102. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Sports @ The Y
Here’s what’s happening in Y sports:
• Youth Basketball: Ages 4-9 and Middle School
(grades 6 through 8).
• Youth Indoor Soccer Ages 4-12: Registration
Nov. 1 through Dec. 24. Play begins first of
• Adult Indoor Soccer (18 and older):
Registration Nov. 1 through Dec. 24.
Play begins first of January 2019.