The doors of the Grand River Area Family YMCA opened for the first time in November 1992.
The doors of the Grand River Area Family YMCA opened for the first time in November 1992. This past Friday evening, a group of YMCA supporters – include a few who were present for the YMCA’s opening day – were at the facility to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The celebration took place in the north gymnasium with inflatable recreational pieces set up in the south gymnasium for children to enjoy. Matt Jones, who followed Dave Rogers as the YMCA’s executive director, welcomed those in attendance and highlighted the facility’s development since 1992. “We’ve come a long way in 25 years,” Jones said. There have been two expansions to the current facility, one major remodel, and the addition of full-service YMCA branches in Brookfield and Carrollton. The local YMCA will have a completely remodeled aquatics facility in summer 2018, the director stated. Jones highlighted the YMCA’s mission statement: “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all,” and noted the areas of focus being youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. More than 80 different youth, adult, family, senior and community programs are offered at the Chillicothe branch each year and as many as 7,500 youth partake in local programming each year. The YMCA’s main facility in Chillicothe and its two branches serve 7,000 members. The YMCA’s community campaigns raised $80,000 for the Partner With Youth, Back Pack Buddies and Y-Pals programs last year and is on track to generate that much again this year. Jones said the YMCA’s current biggest need is funding the Safety Around Water program and the Partner With Youth Campaign. The YMCA hopes to raise $5,000 to fulfill these programs. The Safety Around Water program promotes water safety and incorporates the second-grade swim program, a YMCA initiative designed to reach every second-grade student within a seven-county area. The Partner With Youth Campaign provides annual YMCA scholarships for youth who otherwise would be unable to participate in YMCA programs. Following the program in the north gymnasium, a group picture of those attending the celebration was taken to commemorate the 25-year milestone.