The YMCA of the Chesapeake announces the start of the community phase of fundraising for the Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA/Senior Center. The Queen Anne’s County Senior Center will operate five days a week, leading senior-based programming and services. The Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA will support the Senior Center in providing health and enrichment programs, working with the community’s aging population to develop and/or maintain healthy habits and lifestyles and improve their quality of life. Once constructed, this will be the only facility in the community that will have an advance fitness component for seniors.
“This is a moment sixteen years in the making,” said Robbie Gill, YMCA of the Chesapeake CEO. “To date we have raised $18.6 million dollars which equals 79% of our $23.6 million dollar project cost. We need our community’s help to reach our goal so the new YMCA/Senior Center is debt free and has the resources to make sure everyone can participate regardless of the ability to pay for programs and services. The opening of a full-facility YMCA/Senior Center in Queen Anne’s County will be a transformative moment for the community.”
A full facility Y will allow the Y to increase the number of programs and resources that connect people through a common need or cause, building a supportive network throughout their lifetime. A new Queen Anne’s County Y will allow for:
- Learn to Swim programming to teach key lifesaving skills
- Support before and after school programs – providing a safe place for children to go in the community; and specialized programs focused on closing the learning gap for children in our community – early learning readiness and summer learning
- Provide the space to replicate our shared use, senior center model in St. Michaels to run regular senior programs to combat issues of senior isolationism in partnership with Queen Anne’s County.
- Expand Chronic Disease Programs (LiveStrong, Rock Steady, Enhanced Fitness, Diabetes Prevention)
- Year round pickleball opportunities
- Supporting high school swim teams
- Working closely with community partners to strengthen community through programs and services.
All these programs are currently running successfully at other branches but are not easily accessible to the members at the existing Queen Anne’s County Y due to space limitations.
Unique to the new Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA/Senior Center will be a Career Development and Resource Center (CDRC). The CDRC will provide professional resources and support to job skills training and development and support local business in Queen Anne’s County and the Upper Shore region.
“Not only is the facility itself exciting, but it’s dual purpose as a Y and senior center, combined with its central location near the high school and county services creates unique and exciting programming opportunities to strengthen our community,” continued Gill. “While working to secure land for this new facility, we conducted a study to determine how many people a new YMCA could serve. The study showed that a new YMCA could serve over 10,000 community members on a weekly basis, meaning this location has the potential to be one of the largest YMCAs on the Eastern Shore. Best of all, the YMCA turns no one away due to the inability to pay. Everyone is welcome. The new Y/Senior Center will serve as the front porch of our community.”
The YMCA of the Chesapeake’s shared-use, Senior Center/YMCA model, first developed for the Perkins Family YMCA and Bay Hundred Senior Center, is the first of its kind in the YMCA movement. By creating this shared-use model with Queen Anne’s County, the Y will reach a level of resource and programmatic support that they would not otherwise be able to provide.
According to Cathy Willis, QAC Director of Community Services, “We have been fortunate to have three senior centers located in Grasonville, Kent Island and Sudlersville, however the Centreville Senior Center closed in 2011 following the county reorganization. For ten years now, participants from the central area of the county have had to travel or be transported to one of the other three locations. To say we are thrilled is an understatement to bring this service back to the central area of the county and offer so much more county-wide in this shared-use facility. State of the art fitness equipment, Chronic Disease Self-Management programs, Aquatics programs and Pickle Ball courts are just a few of the most exciting highlights for our participants! It has been a pleasure to work with the YMCA team on this collaboration.”
The Y’s involvement in Queen Anne’s County began in 2009. At the time, Chesapeake College announced plans to close the only indoor community pool in the county. Residents voiced concerns to the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners and pleaded for the pool to stay open to provide crucial aquatics programs. The County reached out to the Y for expertise and assistance. The Y, the College, and the County signed a memorandum of understanding that kept the pool open through 2012. This collaborative effort highlighted the need and opportunity to build a YMCA in Queen Anne’s County.
In November 2015, Queen Anne’s County donated 17 acres of land to the YMCA in Centreville, Maryland. The location is ideal for a community YMCA, as it sits directly across from Queen Anne’s County High School, which serves approximately 1,100 students. Additionally, Kennard Elementary School (513 students grades 3 – 5) and Centreville Middle School (535 students grades 6 – 8) are both within a half of a mile and will have walking access to the YMCA.
The YMCA of the Chesapeake has consistently been on the forefront of the YMCA movement, pushing other YMCAs to be innovative in their service to the community. They were the first to develop a shared-use model to better serve the senior population and have provided consistent staffing and resource capacity to meet various community needs; providing leadership and support. The Y’s work and experience to this point allows them to innovate with a career development and resource center model. By implementing this model at the Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA there will be an opportunity to actively support the local, rural economy. If you are interested in learning more about supporting the Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA/Senior Center Capital Campaign, please contact Tony Sigmon at [email protected].
About the YMCA of the Chesapeake
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits and the largest Human Service organization on the Eastern Shore; strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the Shore, Ys engage 40,000 members and their families, regardless of age, income or background, to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the Shore’s health and wellbeing, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The YMCA of the Chesapeake operates facilities in Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Talbot, Queen Anne’s and Wicomico Counties in Maryland and on Chincoteague Island in Virginia. Last year, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,750,000 in assistance to over 16,000 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. Additionally, the Y spent $200,000 on outreach efforts and programming in the communities it serves.