YMCA aims to boost local membership


By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

At its March 8 meeting, the village of Urbancrest council was presented with an annual report for the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA. The findings in the report highlighted its popularity, offered an overview of current programming and gave a sneak peek at what is to come in the near future.

According to Pam Slater, executive director of the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA, this location sees an average of 170 membership scans (or members who scan their cards each time they visit) per day and has an average of 4,000 scans per month.

She said that while those are good numbers for a YMCA of this size to have, what is most impressive is the amount of attendees who do not scan in.

With those figures factored in, the data in the report shows that there is an average of 370 scans per day and 8,000 scans per month.

Several members of council commended the fact that the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA has shown an increase in participation, but expressed some concern since a large percentage of those regular attendees were not residents of the village.

Slater said residential participation is an issue that needs to be addressed and added that they are working on ways to market their programming and services to the community.

Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. suggested that one way they can do that is to include busing options for residents. He also suggested that they hire local teenagers for their youth development programming and/or youth sports programming.

Slater said employment at the YMCA is largely for those 16 and older, but mentioned that they do work with organizations like COWIC (the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation) and The United Way to train prospective employees.

Barnes said that while he appreciates those organizations and the work they do, more should be done collectively to engage those younger than 18.

“Last year there were a lot of 14 to 17 year-olds out and about in the community.”

He said he doesn’t want to see any age group left out of training or employment opportunities in the community.

During the lengthy discussion on community engagement, Slater announced several changes that the YMCA believes could spark more interest in residential participation. Among those changes include reduced membership rates, the waiver of jersey fees for those registered for teen basketball, and $10 swim lessons for children and adults alike.

Slater said their goal is to teach every child in the village how to swim.

Marcy Yanus, the executive director of the YMCA of Central Ohio, said at the meeting that there are so many great programs being offered at this location – among those included are after school programming for youth, recreational sports for youth and water aerobics, fitness classes and day trips for adults – and there are so many new programs to come that they will make it their mission to try to further engage the community.

“We are committed to continuing this legacy between the YMCA and Urbancrest and I hope we can move forward hand in hand,” she said.

For information on classes, schedules, programs and fees, contact the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA at 614-539-1770 or visit www.ymcacolumbus.org/hairston.

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