YMCA programs are in place, plans are in place;

June 21, 2013


now, all that’s needed is a new building

By JESSICA WILLIAMS
As the Village People once mused, “No man does it all by himself.”
And it will take the community to complete the vision of the Wells County YMCA for a new, multimillion dollar facility, which will continue the Y’s mission of addressing the well-being of the whole person.
“Physical fitness is definitely an element of what we do, but we focus on other areas of wellness as well,” said Executive Director Nikki Surbaugh.
The Y also focuses on social, emotional and spiritual components, she said.
But while the organization is preparing for a new building, it has introduced a variety of new programs this year for a whole gamut of ages.
Two programs were already held in April: the outdoor boot camp and Dream Team Art. The camp offered workout sessions in the form of an obstacle course, while the art program was held in conjunction with the Creative Arts Council for children with significant health impairments or physical, mental or emotional disabilities. During the program, they created their own works of art.
Silver Sneakers is a program for the YMCA’s older users.
“It’s a wonderful program because they receive a free membership and it’s completely paid for by their insurance,” Surbaugh said. “Depending on what carrier they have, it makes them eligible.”
AHA! Kid Camp is held two weeks in June for ages 7-12. Kids spend the day between the Creative Arts Council and the YMCA participating in a variety of activities with both.
Also this summer is the Corporate Challenge. It “encourages local companies to form teams and participate in a series of active events that encourage friendly competition,” according to YMCA materials.
Parents’ Night Out has a remaining Friday in July for children to come to the Y for dinner, crafts, games and more while parents have a night out.
Also in July, the summer day camp has two differently themed weeks. One is a holiday theme; the other is a water theme.
Two new programs that are ongoing include the Wellness Punch Pass, which allows people to participate in 10 classes for $50 without a membership and personal and group training sessions.
And with a new facility, the opportunities will increase.
The $7 million, 39,500-square-foot facility will be located on 32 acres west of Main Street off Dustman Road. The current facility on North Main Street, in which the Y has operated since 2009, is owned by Bluffton Regional Medical Center.
Of the funds raised for the new facility, the YMCA received a $3 million pledge from the Caylor-Nickel Foundation.
Roughly $1 million in funding remains to be raised.
“We have enough to build a beautiful YMCA,” Surbaugh said. “The portion that’s in question is really the gymnasium.”
She said they will start building what they can and see if they get the rest of the funding in the future. Investors and those wishing to donate for the facility have through the end of September to do so.
According to projected plans, the new facility should include a Child Watch room with an indoor play gym and full-day childcare, a Wellness Center with strength and cardio equipment, aerobics and cycling studios, a youth game room, multipurpose areas, and a family-friendly aquatic center with zero-depth entry, a slide and sauna.
The new facility will also be a great asset for industries looking to expand in or relocate to Bluffton, said Economic Development Executive Director Tim Ehlerding.
“Quality of life is very important in economic development,” he said, adding that a community shows well when it offers a variety of offerings, including a focus on fitness.
“The community has been really supportive,” Surbaugh added. “I would love to see us reach our final goal to complete our vision for a full YMCA. To do that, it does take the community to raise that (money).
“And I never want to take for granted what we raised, and I think it’s been wonderful and we’ve been so blessed to raise this much.”
Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for September or October with the target date of October 2014 to open the new facility.
“I personally just think it’s something that Wells County needs, and to have a gathering place where people of all ages can come and participate in activities is so valuable,” Surbaugh said. “I think it will raise the standard of living in Wells County.” υ

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