Membership Increase Vital to YMCA

During Wednesday’s ‘Member Appreciation Day,’Senior Coordinator Aylish Lynch, Operations Director Bethany Riggle, Membership Director Carrie Burtt and Fitness Director Hillary Brown show how members could have entered into a drawing for a YMCA sweatshirt. The winner will be selected today.

by Jonathan Weaver

Richard G. Snyder YMCA members had a chance to win prizes each hour Wednesday during ‘Member Appreciation Day,’ but local residents will also want to take advantage of activities at the North Water Street campus next week.

CEO Joely Beeker revealed the plan board members have been planning for months.

“Next week – Monday, October 5 through Sunday, October 11 – we’re having a free week here at the YMCA,” Beeker said. “That’s to re-introduce everyone to the Y, like when we first opened, and to showcase our (Berdell-Kohl) annex – we transitioned the entire weight room from the branch in West Kittanning down to here, so now (the annex) has a yFit gym and a weight room with cardio equipment in it.

“(Also), if you decide to join the Y during that time, we’re going to waive the join fees.”

Depending on the membership category, one-time membership join fees can cost $50, $100 or $150.

Effective today, YMCA officials are also offering two new categories for prospective members: a ‘couple’ rate (defined as two adults living in the same household) or an ‘annex only’ rate (for those who only want access to the
Berdell-Kohl Annex).

The annex reopened September 6.

Beeker said more specials are coming later this Fall and into the New Year.

“Our goal here is to increase membership – we need to bring our membership number up in order to sustain this facility,” Beeker said. “I think people have the false perception that the Y is doing very well, and it’s quite the contrary. We had a $170,000 deficit last year and we need to increase membership numbers this year to offset that.

“Our goal is to increase by 200 units.”

Membership Director Carrie Burtt said the majority of members at the YMCA signed up for a family membership.

“There’s a lot of stuff for families to do,” Burtt said.

Burtt’s four children – Mattithia, Malachi, Arabella and Ariana – all compete on the Stingrays swim team, but other family activities offered at the Y this Fall include other sports, dance classes and family yoga – as well as the other preschool through senior citizen activities regularly offered.

“When you buy your Y membership, you’re making a commitment to your community because we do so many things,” Beeker said.

Officials did not raise membership rates when it move to its new campus, but did when they purchased the former-Mac’s Health Club in West Kittanning last October.

YMCA leaders also continually seek grant funding opportunities to sustain programming, but Beeker said programs and staff cuts could be on the horizon next year depending on membership units.