Local YMCAs offering tours to prove they’re more than a gym

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 7/14/21

CLAY COUNTY – The YMCA is gearing up for some of its biggest events of the year later this month.

The YMCA is more than a gym. That’s something everyone that works for the organization will …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Local YMCAs offering tours to prove they’re more than a gym

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – The YMCA is gearing up for some of its biggest events of the year later this month.

The YMCA is more than a gym. That’s something everyone that works for the organization will tell you and something every person involved with YMCA will say as well, and it’s true. It’s a gym, an adult daycare for those with “unique” abilities, a charity dedicated to helping local children and so much more. The YMCA upcoming Impact Tour on July 20 at Noon at the Barco Newton YMCA location in Fleming Island and the Back to School Back backpack drive on July 24 at the same location from 10 a.m. to noon are examples of that.

“This month is a great opportunity to showcase what we’re doing in our organization,” First Coast YMCA vice president of operations Jon Dearolf said. “The Impact Tour features three components designed to show our dedication to the community and show that we’re more than a gym.”

The first component is a tour through the YMCA’s DayStar location. Dearolf said it’s an adult daytime vocational program for “adults with unique abilities.” He said the program currently has 16 individuals under the YMCA’s care during the day.

“They can be a part of the community and utilize the resources we have here for them to do that,” Dearolf said.

The second component is a massive volunteer-based Back to School Bash stuffing day. Volunteers will be at the Barco Newton YMCA to stuff backpacks with supplies and more for the organization’s July 24 Back to School Bash. Dearolf said the YMCA is stuffing more than 1000 backpacks to hand out at five different locations in Northeast Florida: the Barco Newton branch in Fleming Island, the Winston Family YMCA in Riverside, the Brooks Family YMCA on Centurion Parkway, the St. Augustine YMCA on Anastasia Island and the Wildlight YMCA in Nassau County.

“[Barco Newton] is the hub of the volunteer component for the Back to School Bash,” Dearolf said. “In Clay County, we’re expecting over 300 military kids to come through our branch.”

The backpacks are for military families and those in Clay County interested can pick up a backpack stuffed with school supplies from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 24 at the Barco Newton location in Fleming Island. You must first register at https://ymcab2sb2021.eventbrite.com where you need to prove that your family is a military family be it the military, the guard or the reserve.

Dearolf said the backpacks and the supplies come from the local community from sponsors like VyStar, Publix, USAA and the Knights of Columbus.

“With these sponsorships, we are able to go out and secure the backpacks we need,” Dearolf said. “We also get donations from our members at the branch level. Everyone is all-in on this event and it’s a really special thing.”

The third and final component of the Impact Tour is centered on the YMCA’s summer day camps for children. Dearolf said they have more than 100 children participating this year in a number of activities and experiences. The camp features sports and S.T.E.M. experiments, all centered on “building up the spirit, mind and body in our people.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase our children and show how alive the YMCA is each summer.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here