Thursday, 10 January 2019 13:29

Why Join the Y?

By Megin Potter | Families Today

The Saratoga Regional YMCA is more than just a gym; it’s an entire universe of opportunities. 

 “In Saratoga, people can exercise and then go into the café for a cup of coffee and some comradery. It’s a beautiful thing and we’re happy to facilitate that. It’s wellness for the spirit, mind and body,” said Saratoga Regional YMCA CEO Andrew Bobbitt.

If you haven’t yet explored what its nearly 30,000 members already know, now is the time to take a look at why so many people are enjoying the Saratoga Regional YMCA (SRYMCA). 

Here are 10 Reasons Why to Join the Y:

1. Convenient Locations

Originally started 175 years ago in London, there are now YMCAs in 119 countries around the world, with 2,700 locations in just the United States. 

As part of this large network, the Saratoga Regional YMCA (comprised of five branches located in Saratoga Springs, Wilton, Malta, Corinth and Greenwich) is positioned to have the power to provide unique services to the community.

An Association Family Membership allows you to use any of the facilities within the region and a national membership lets you go into a Y anywhere in the country, wherever you live, work or travel. 

2. Great Amenities 

Like many gyms, the Y has lots of fitness equipment but that’s just the beginning. 

The Saratoga Springs branch also has an eight-lane indoor swimming pool, a steam room, whirlpool and sauna, indoor track, an extensive outdoor adventure course and cyber café. In Wilton, you’ll find eight indoor tennis courts, a field house, a warm yoga room and a community garden. Within the region there are playgrounds, student enrichment classes, preschool, babysitting and party packages for the kids. Many sites offer massage. The menu of services include Swedish, deep tissue, chair, pregnancy and hot stone.

“We have a progressive staff and an open board that allows us to specialize and offer amenities that are typically thought to be tied to membership at a more expensive club,” said Bobbitt. 

3. Classes, Classes, Classes! 

Reach your wellness goals with a combination of self-directed exercises and instructor-led classes. Membership at the Y lets you take as many classes as you want. 

“We feel called to do this work. Some of the staff has been with us for three decades. We have our pulse on the heartbeat of the community. There’s an online system to track suggestions. Members tell us their perspectives and we strive to support them on their health path, whatever that journey is,” said Bobbitt.

He is particularly excited about their newest training classes; the high-energy Les Mills BODYPUMP weight workouts that build strength fast in a fun group setting. 

4. Financial Aid. 

There aren’t too many gyms out there that offer financial aid to help cover the cost of membership and no one is as equipped to do it in the way the Y can. 

“No one is turned away because of an inability to pay,” said Bobbitt. 

More than $400,000 a year is awarded in financial assistance helping more than 3,500 people to the health and safety benefits of learning how to swim, the team building skills found in sports and the sense of community that comes from being part of new creative learning activities.

5. Long History 

Because the Y has been around so long (it was incorporated in Saratoga in 1866) as an organization focused on providing youth development and healthy living resources while maintaining a commitment to social responsibility, they have developed a wisdom and strength that can only come through experience and a dedication to their mission despite the challenges. 

“We’re not afraid to try and fail. We listen to the community and support them where they’re at. We’ve gone through tough, tough times – some extremely difficult times…We’re in the position to know where to focus our attention and have the ability to meet future needs,” said Bobbitt.

6. Smart Partnerships 

With the opening of the $5 million Malta YMCA facility last year came the opportunity for the Y to work with Saratoga Hospital Medical Group Primary Care – Sports Medicine physician Dr. James Kelley in a unique partnership that can help patients stay healthy and fit while also helping to prevent injuries and illness. 

This is a partnership that provides a continuum of care that goes beyond what the SRYMCA has offered before. Dr. Kelley has given educational talks, has specific equipment (such as an anti-gravity treadmill and therapeutic pool) and provides physical therapy to his patients.

7. Dynamic

Technology like the My Zone wireless, wearable, heartrate tracking system in Malta gives members an innovative and rewarding way to monitor their effort as they progress toward their goals.

The SRYMCA specialty programs are flexible enough to focus on specific segments of a diverse community. Reaching out to support their military members, offer healthy food options and take part in events including Pedaling for Parkinson’s, Miles for a Mission and LIVESTRONG, among others, ensures that the SRYMCA is practicing their philosophy of being a place “where charity meets opportunity” in exciting ways that leave an impact. 

“I’ve been touched and inspired through the programming and support possible through things like LIVESTRONG. We can make tomorrow better than today with the resources that we’re blessed to have. It really creates a lot of energy that’s there for all the right reasons,” said Bobbitt.

8. Community Funded

To relieve the burden on governmental assistance funds, the SRYMCA, a non-profit community organization, relies on many volunteers and strives to raise the money for their Financial Aid program through an Annual Scholarship Campaign. 

Accountability and responsibility must be at the forefront for patrons to donate – and the SRYMCA’s spectacular success at increasing their fundraising contributions by 42 percent is a testament to their dedication to quality. 

Ramping up to raise an excess of $400,000 in 2019, Bobbitt has developed the 1866 Society to showcase contributions of $2,500 or more. So far, they’ve been fortunate to get the year off to a great start with a $25,000 donation from the Fort Miller Group, he said.

9. $0 Join Fee by January 15

Making it even easier to join right now, the SRYMCA is offering a special discount if you sign-up to become a new member by January 15th. 

You’ll enjoy a $0 join fee and a savings of up to $50. You can join online or stop by any the SRYMCA branches. For more information, go to srymca.org.

10. WHY NOT?

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