As with many organizations, COVID-19 has presented many challenges to the Fayette County Family YMCA. As COVID-19 has swept across the country the Y has been there to provide child care for essential workers, outreach to seniors facing social isolation, facilities and programs for healthy living, and virtual learning spaces as schools transferred to remote learning.
“We are proud to be here for our community,” said YMCA CEO Douglas Saunders.
Even with the state’s closure of YMCA facilities from March 17-May 27, the Y continued to provide child care services through Pandemic Child Care for the children of essential personnel at the YMCA Kid’s World of Learning at Sugar Creek.
“I am very proud and appreciative of our child care staff that have stepped up to provide a loving, educational environment at a time when there are so many unknowns. They have helped ease the minds of and relieved a burden for so many working parents,” said Saunders.
The YMCA has resumed operating child care open to the entire community for infants through pre-school at KWOL and for school age children at the YMCA while following state and CDC protocols. This has included providing all-day care to students during virtual learning days and the winter break.
While the new school year may look different than before, one thing remains the same: the YMCA child care programs continue to be a place where children can remain active, learning and engaged during their time out of school – a critical time for all school-age children, especially as they continue to adjust to the many changes related to COVID-19.
“We are very appreciative our community partners, including Washington Court House and Miami Trace Schools, in helping our staff to allow the children under our care to get the most out of their virtual learning days,” said Saunders.
Since reopening the YMCA wellness facilities on May 27, the YMCA has followed a reopening plan to reduce the risk of community spread of COVID-19. This includes requiring masks when not actively engaged in exercise, enhancing cleaning procedures, and distancing and removal of some fitness equipment according to state guidelines so everyone can feel safe at the Y.
From the onset of reopening there has been demand for YMCA services, especially for opportunities for youth and young adults. The Y re-engaged youth sports programs with t-ball in the spring up through the tip-off of youth basketball and indoor soccer this week. The demand for use of the indoor batting cage has also increased. These sports programs also have protocol in place following state guidelines.
“In addition to welcoming back our YMCA swim team, we have been very pleased to be able to provide facilities for the Washington Court House and Miami Trace High School team, as we have done for 13 years now,” said Saunders.
The YMCA was also able to address the need for Adena and Wilmington high schools to utilize the pool for their teams.
“It is great seeing these young athletes engaged in a life time sport. I give the kids a lot of credit for working so hard even with having so few in person meets this season,” said Saunders.
Some YMCA programs and activities have required adaptation and innovation. In lieu of the Daddy-Daughter Dance, the YMCA is offering a Family Virtual Cookie Baking competition on Feb. 6. Families are invited to replicate some specific cookies while being entertained with an on-line session complete with decorating tips. There will be a grand prize awarded to the winning family.
The YMCA is also holding an indoor triathlon on Feb. 13 at the YMCA. An indoor triathlon allows you to compete in the triathlon events – swimming, biking, and running – without the impact of winter weather. Events are based on how far you go in the allotted time. Participants will swim 10 minutes, bike 20 minutes, and run 15 minutes. There will be four-person flights staggered every 20 minutes starting at 12 p.m. Pre-registration is required.
The YMCA is also pivoting the annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner to become a Celebrity Waiter Delivered meal on March 20. Celebrity waiters will deliver a meal in a sponsored vehicle while engaging in the spirit of the masquerade theme. There will be a web page on the YMCA website for people to tip a specific waiter, with 100% of proceeds going to support the work of the the Fayette County Family YMCA.
“Our board of directors and staff are committed to continuing to provide services for our community that make us a thriving Y. We will execute our strategic plan through YMCA membership and programs, special events, and collaboration with community partners,” Saunders said in conclusion.
For further information, including online registration for many programs and events, go to faycoymca.org or call 740-335-0477.