EVERETT, WA. May 24, 2023 – The YMCA of Snohomish County was selected as one of 35 adult programs from the USA Swimming Foundation’s nationwide network of swim lesson providers to receive grant money in early 2023. The grant award will go toward the Y’s continued efforts to provide free or reduced-cost swim lessons for the Snohomish County community.
“We are honored to be chosen for this grant,” said Tom Wunderlich, Association Director of Aquatics Advancement, YMCA of Snohomish County. “These funds will be used to grow our teen and adult swimming programs, helping us fulfill our mission of equipping every Snohomish County resident with essential swim skills.”
The Y plans to expand its adult learn-to-swim program and offer it at all six Snohomish County locations. The goal is to have robust swim programming for teens and adults across the county, including lessons and the Masters Swim program that is currently running at the Everett Family YMCA. The USA Swimming Foundation partnered with U.S. Masters Swimming to offer this grant with a goal to reduce adult drowning risk through education, financial support, and community outreach.
“We feel privileged to be able to offer affordable, quality swim programs to our community, particularly adults who may feel out of their comfort zone learning a new skill,” said Wunderlich. “The grant money will help reduce barriers and get more people into the pool to learn how to swim.”
The USA Swimming Foundation vetted more than 345 applications through a competitive annual review process and chose 69 youth and 35 adult programs to receive funding.
“The USA Swimming Foundation is thrilled to provide funding to 104 swim lesson providers across 29 states,” said Elaine Calip, Senior Director of Development, USA Swimming Foundation. “Over 14,000 individuals across the country will now have the opportunity to learn the lifesaving skill of water safety. We owe a tremendous thank you to our partners and donors who continue to make a difference in our mission of saving lives.”
The YMCA of Snohomish County is the largest provider of swim lessons and water safety education in the county, serving nearly 10,000 children and adults in its aquatics programs since January 2023.
For more information about YMCA aquatics, please visit ymca-snoco.org/programs/swimming. Financial assistance is available.
EVERETT, WA. May 15, 2023 – Youth delegates from the YMCA of Snohomish County recently attended the 76th Youth Legislature in Olympia, WA, a 4-day conference bringing together students from across Washington state to participate in a mock legislature session. The Snohomish County delegation was the largest in the state, consisting of 48 Youth and Government students from Stanwood-Camano YMCA, Everett Family YMCA, and Mill Creek Family YMCA. Three students were elected to major officer positions and several awards were given to the students within the delegation.
“I’m beyond proud of all our students and seeing them grow in their confidence and skills, as well as their friendships,” said Sam Toft, Teen Program Director, Everett Family YMCA. “They work hard all year to prepare for this event and they did a phenomenal job presenting their bills, connecting with delegates from across the state, and learning in real-time how government operates.”
YMCA Youth and Government is a year-long program for students in grades 8-12 to discuss current events and issues important to them and their community, while developing their public speaking, leadership, and debate skills. The program culminates every spring with Youth Legislature, the state-wide conference held at the Capitol Building. Delegates participate in committee debates and floor sessions in hopes to pass a number of bills presented to the legislature.
Artur Skatkov, a Jackson High School junior attending full-time Running Start, has participated in Youth and Government at the Mill Creek Y since 8th grade and was elected to Secretary of State for next year’s 77th Youth Legislature. He appreciate the skills he has learned and the relationships he has built through the program.
“Being part of Youth and Government has opened many doors and opportunities for me,” said Skatkov. “I was a panelist at the YMCA Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in January, I’m on staff at the Mill Creek Y in the Kid Zone, and I’ve formed friendships with people from all over the state. It’s a lot of fun, but I’ve also learned a lot about being more articulate and heard better.”
This was the first-time since 2019 that the legislative session was held in-person at the Capitol. After the legislative session concluded, the students attended a Governor’s Ball, received tours, and elected officers for next year. In addition to Skatkov, two other delegates from Snohomish County were elected to major positions. Clyde Carter III was elected Governor and Kaelyn Van Duzer was elected Editor-in-Chief. Both students attend Youth and Government at the Mill Creek Family YMCA.
“When students join Youth and Government, it’s much more than a leadership development program,” said Toft. “It’s a community and a family and the lessons they learn extend far beyond civics. The connections and relationships they build are the highlight of the program and they carry those with them throughout their lives.”
To learn more about Youth and Government, please visit: ymca-snoco.org/programs/youth-and-government. Registration opens this summer for the 2023-24 school year.
MUKILTEO, WA. May 11, 2023 – The MUK skate park, located at the Mukilteo Family YMCA (10601 47th Pl W, Mukilteo, WA 98275), has opened for the season offering safe, supervised skating for local kids of all ages. The park recently completed renovations to add new obstacles and ramps to accommodate all skill levels, providing a linear progression for those learning to skate through advanced riders.
“We are excited to open our park to the community for the spring and summer months,” said Jason Maki, Skate Park Director. “I want people to know about this rare gem we have right in our backyard.”
The MUK is one of the largest outdoor parks in Washington state, featuring all elements of a traditional skate park, but with the addition of trained, caring instructors providing supervision at all times. The Y’s skate park is the only staffed skate facility in Snohomish County.
“It’s a fun skate park, but it’s also a safe place to go,” said Maki. “Our instructors are our most valuable asset. Adults sending their kids to skate can have peace of mind and assurance knowing their kids will be safe and cared for while doing something they love.”
The MUK offers open skating, but also has a variety of camps, lessons, and events for every skill level. Beginning skaters can start with lessons, while more advanced skaters can join the skate team, allowing them to continue to progress at an accelerated pace in a collaborative environment and showcase their skills at local competitions. The park and its programming has something for everyone, including The MUK games competition on July 21-23, 2023.
“Our recent project fills a gap we’ve had at the park,” said Maki. “We’ve had lots of big ramps, but not a lot of smaller ramps and beginner obstacles. The new features will accommodate our biggest demographic and allow riders to progress in a safe manner as they build their skate skills.”
Use of The MUK is free with a YMCA facility membership. Monthly and daily skate park passes can be purchased at the Mukilteo Y Welcome Center. Helmets are required and helmets, pads, scooters and skateboards can be borrowed for no additional cost.
“I would encourage anyone to come and try skating,” said Maki. “It builds confidence, teaches problem solving, creativity, and expressionism, and helps you see in the world from a different perspective. Skateboarding allows you to be yourself.”
To learn more about The MUK and its programs and to register for The MUK Games, please visit: ymca-snoco.org/programs/skate-park/.
MILL CREEK, WA. May 3, 2023 – After a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, the Mill Creek Family YMCA Community Garden is in full bloom again this year, growing produce for the Mill Creek Community Food Bank to distribute to its customers. The YMCA volunteer-run community garden has planted easy to grow, plentiful crops to offer food bank customers fresh, nutritious locally-grown produce.
“We are excited to revitalize the garden and see what happens this growing season,” said Dana Hendricks, Community Garden volunteer coordinator and Mill Creek Family YMCA Board Member. “Working together to give back to the community is part of our mission. When we work together for the good of the greater community, so many people benefit.”
The Community Garden started years ago as an idea to connect the Y community. The collective group named it Common Ground Community Garden. Every group member was responsible for their own garden and surrounding area and donated a portion of their harvest to the food bank. As the group’s relationships grew, the plan adjusted and they joined forces to grow more together and harvest beside each other. The Community Garden and its volunteer group would host educational events, kids’ programs and camps, and community dinners with crops harvested from the garden.
“We had huge harvests every year,” said Hendricks. “We had so much produce that we were able to donate the excess to local food banks.”
When the pandemic hit, the garden program was paused. Volunteer Mirjam Anderson worked tirelessly to maintain the beds, but there was no formal program. The Mill Creek Y relaunched the program this growing season with the sole purpose of growing for the community.
“The collaboration with the Mill Creek Y helps supplement the produce we purchase when we don’t receive enough donations from local grocery stores or Food Lifeline,” said Jennifer Boyington, Executive Director, Hope Creek Charitable Foundation. “This partnership is especially important because fresh produce is often expensive and difficult to access for lower-income families. It helps address food insecurity in the community by providing affordable and healthy food options.”
The community garden is growing kale, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peas, beans, and more, providing a wide range of nutritious options for food bank customers’ meals. Y volunteers will work together to tend to the garden, sharing responsibility for weeding, watering, and harvesting.
“The Mill Creek Y Community Garden partnership also emphasizes the importance of community organizations working together to achieve a common goal of addressing food insecurity and improving the overall health and well-being of the community.”
To learn more about volunteering in the Community Garden or donating gardening supplies, please contact Dana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVERETT, WA. April 27, 2023 – In recognition of National Water Safety Month, all six YMCA of Snohomish County locations are hosting Operation Swim, a community water safety event on Saturday, May 6 from 2 – 4 pm. As the largest provider of swim lessons and water safety education in the county, the Y prioritizes educating and equipping the community. This event is free for the community, but registration is required.
“Water is everywhere and it’s our mission to make sure every Snohomish County resident – regardless of age – has the skills to be safe in and around water,” said Tom Wunderlich, Association Director of Aquatic Advancement, YMCA of Snohomish County. “Drowning is the leading cause of death for children, but also 100 percent preventable when kids and adults possess water safety skills.”
Operation Swim will focus on water safety education, including boating safety, proper sizing and wearing of lifejackets, open water swim safety, the buddy system and more. Families will have the opportunity to take a Family Safety Pledge, committing to be present and aware when children are in the water.
“The goal is provide families the tools they need to enjoy water safely,” said Wunderlich. “It’s the time of year when the weather is getting warmer and people will be spending more time at pools and on the water. If we can help prevent one tragedy by educating the community, we will consider Operation Swim a success.”
The first hour of the event will be a safety/education fair featuring information booths and activities. At the Everett Family YMCA (4730 Colby Avenue, Everett, WA 98203), the Coast Guard Auxiliary will be fitting lifejackets and sharing boater safety information and Paine Field Fire Department will be doing water rescue demonstrations in the pool. The community will be able to see first-hand what a water rescue entails, see the emergency equipment, and ask questions. Other Y locations will have local fire departments running demonstrations and activities.
After the fair, families can enjoy an hour open swim in the pool. Children age six and under must have a supervising adult in the pool at all times. Children under 12 must take a swim test and have an adult in the facility.
“Our hope is that families can receive some safety information and then enjoy family time in the pool,” said Wunderlich. “Swimming and playing the water is so much fun and can be a fantastic, safe family activity.”
Attendees will also have the chance to learn more about YMCA aquatics programs including swim lessons for all ages and abilities, Barracudas swim team, lifeguard training, employment, and more. To register for Operation Swim, please visit: LINK
EVERETT, WA. April 21, 2023 – YMCA of Snohomish County is participating in the Five Days of Action campaign from April 24-28, 2023. The Five Days of Action is a weeklong, national campaign to increase awareness and empower and equip the community to take action to protect children from sexual abuse.
“Child protection is our number one priority every single day of the year,” said Peyton Tune, President and CEO, YMCA of Snohomish County. “We are committed to the safety of all children in our care. From youth sports to summer camp, our Ys work to ensure children have a safe, fun-filled experience.”
YMCA of Snohomish County encourages adults and organizations to come together and join in marking this special week, ensuring the community is a safer place for children to live, learn, and play. With summer right around the corner – when children gather for activities and camps – it is the perfect time to bring attention to the simple ways we can all make the children in our community safer.
The “Know. See. Respond.” campaign is back this year, tying in three impact areas to prevent child sexual abuse at summer camp, in youth sports, and on the internet.
“The children of Snohomish County have the right to a happy and safe childhood, and it’s our responsibility as adults and organizations to stand up to protect that right,” said Tune. “By joining in the Five Days of Action campaign, we hope to inspire other local organizations and members of our community to create safe spaces that protect children from sexual abuse.”
For more information and resources on child sexual abuse prevention, please visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (missingkids.org), U.S. Center for SafeSport (uscenterforsafesport.org), and Praesidium (praesidiuminc.com).
MONROE, WA. April 20, 2023 – Miracle League Baseball, one of the Y’s adaptive sports programs offered by the Monroe/Sky Valley Family YMCA in partnership with Monroe Rotary, opens its season on Saturday, April 22 at 9 am at Monroe Rotary Field (372 Sky River Parkway, Monroe, WA 98272). Thanks in part to a $10,000 donation from Base by Pros, the program is subsidized so all athletes can participate for free.
“Being involved with Miracle League Baseball is one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” said Gina Casagrande, Executive Director, Monroe/Sky Valley Family YMCA. “The generous donation from Base by Pros allows us to run this program at no cost to participants and grow our program so more athletes can join in the fun and give parents of these athletes a chance to relax and fully be a spectating fan.”
Miracle League Baseball is designed for individuals with diverse abilities requiring additional assistance to play the game. This program is adapted to be an inclusive, stress-free, non-competitive game where everyone hits, everyone runs bases, and everyone gets home. This program is open to the community.
Former Major League Baseball player, Base by Pros co-owner, and Cascade High School alum, Steven Souza Jr., has been involved with Miracle League Baseball in other cities and upon his return to Snohomish County, wanted to give back and get involved with the program.
“I was super involved with Miracle League when I played in Tampa Bay,” said Souza. “I went out one time and immediately fell in love with the kids and the program. I volunteered as often as I could.”
All Miracle League Baseball athletes are partnered with a buddy to help them bat, run bases, and play in the field. Parents and guardians may sit in the stands to watch and cheer for their player.
“At Base by Pros, we train baseball and softball players of all skill levels and abilities,” said Souza. “Getting involved with Miracle League is a natural extension of what we do. Using the game of baseball is the perfect avenue to give back to the community and give these incredible athletes an opportunity to have fun and find success on the field.”
Miracle League Baseball relies on volunteer support and there are opportunities to volunteer for the upcoming season.
“I encourage others to go out and attend a game,” said Souza. “Hang out with the kids, be servants, and have fun. It’s a meaningful experience for everyone – players, families, and volunteers.”
For more information about Miracle League Baseball, please contact Ford Lowery at email@example.com. To learn about sponsorship opportunities and to help expand adaptive sports programs across Snohomish County, please contact Gina Casagrande at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mukilteo, WA. April 18, 2023 — The Mukilteo Family YMCA is the only gym in Washington state to feature the eGym system, strength equipment that provides a personalized, interactive, and motivating workout, that accommodates all fitness levels. Access to eGym is a free member benefit, available to all YMCA of Snohomish County members.
“Our eGym equipment is so personalized that it has benefits for everyone,” says Stephanie Corbelli, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Mukilteo Family YMCA. “It’s a great way for a new member to build confidence, a high school athlete to get ready for their upcoming season, or someone rehabbing from an injury to increase strength.”
Longtime Y member, Gia McKinzie, discovered eGym a few months ago and it has revolutionized the way she works out. Prior to starting this program, McKinzie used free weights and cardio equipment, but she appreciates the ease and intuitiveness of the eGym technology.
“I’ve always worked out, but I just recently learned about eGym,” says McKinzie. “I love it. It’s so easy to use and I don’t have to think about it because everything is set up for me.”
eGym is a 14-machine strength circuit that provides a full-body workout. Every user has an initial onboarding orientation with Y staff to get set up on the machines and complete a strength test so the workout is customized to a user’s fitness level. All information is stored on a band or fob that users scan at each machine, which then calibrates to their personalized program.
Each eGym fitness machine guides users through the exercise. The digital display is set up like a game, making it fun and challenging to work through the exercise.
“I know I’ll get a full-body workout since each machine targets a different muscle group,” says McKinzie. “I’ve noticed an increase in my strength and fitness. I like the consistency and efficiency of eGym.”
Since eGym builds a personalized program, it’s easier to track progress and achieve health and wellness goals. eGym also syncs with the YMCA of Snohomish County app, providing information.
“By syncing with the app, users receive information that they won’t get by training on their own,” says Corbelli. “Having access to data helps motivate and inspire eGym users to continue pushing towards their goals of getting stronger.”
To learn more about YMCA membership or to take a tour of the Mukilteo Y, please visit ymca-snoco.org/join. There is a $0 Join Fee (a $100 savings) for the month of April.
EVERETT, WA. April 7, 2023 – The YMCA of Snohomish County celebrated surpassing its 2023 Annual Campaign goal of $1.3 million at a county-wide victory celebration on Thursday, April 6. Volunteers, staff, and community partners worked tirelessly over the past two months to raise essential funds so everyone in the community can access Y programs and services.
“It is a privilege to gather and celebrate this awesome victory for our community,” said Peyton Tune, President and CEO, YMCA of Snohomish County. “The funds raised will subsidize programs and provide financial assistance, meeting people where they are so everyone can pursue healthier, happier lives.”
This year’s campaign commitment focused on six major initiatives, including:
· Caring for our Children: Quality, reliable child care is critical to youth development, working families, and healthy communities.
· Environmental Education: The Y’s approach to outdoor education through camp is centered on nurturing the potential of youth through experiences that build life skills, encourage exploration, and develop a sense of belonging.
· Academic Achievement, Youth Leadership, and Mentoring: The Y is investing in the expansion of our affiliation with Big Brothers Big Sisters by establishing program centers and supporting mentoring relationships through all branch locations.
· Team Work, Camaraderie, and Fun for ALL Youth: The Y is committed to ensuring all youth have equity of opportunity through our adaptive sports programs, Miracle League Baseball and Stingrays Swim Team.
· Water Safety and Progressive Swim Skills: The Y teaches children and adults one of the most important life skills they can learn: how to swim and be safe around the water.
· Well-being and Connection: The Y is where active older adults are able to reestablish community by returning to an engaged and active lifestyle.
Additionally, all Snohomish County middle and high school students eligible for the public school Free or Reduced Lunch Program are provided a significantly reduced-cost annual YMCA membership. All funds raised through Annual Campaign directly benefit the six local Y branches and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County.
“Meeting our campaign goals makes a tremendous impact in the community,” said Tune. “We currently serve 130,000 people through membership and programs. Funding critical resources means more of our neighbors can join the Y movement. We thank all of our volunteers and over 3,000 donors for caring for our community and making our work possible.”
To donate to the YMCA Annual Campaign, please visit ymca-snoco.org/give.
Mukilteo, WA. April 4, 2023 – The Mukilteo Family YMCA is partnering with Connect Casino Road to provide free transportation to the Y for teens (age 14+) so they can easily access the facility and its amenities, programs, and activities.
“We’re excited to provide an opportunity for more kids to come and experience the Y,” said Cynthia Kelly, Executive Director, Mukilteo Family YMCA. “By providing transportation, we’re reducing barriers and making it easier for kids to get to a safe, supervised space where they can have fun and be a kid.”
Beginning Tuesday, April 25, teens can visit the Y every week from 4 – 6 pm. Participants will be picked up and dropped off at the Village on Casino Road (14 E. Casino Road, Everett, WA 98208). At the Y, teens will have access to basketball open gym, the skate park, the Youth Development Center (YDC), and the cardio/fitness room (after completing a training).
“Teens in our neighborhood primarily live in apartments with no backyards to play and many lack access to programs,” said Alvaro Guillen, Director, Connect Casino Road. “Families tell us that their children need a safe place to go after school to have fun, socialize, and exercise. This partnership provides transportation so they can access amenities and programs at the Mukilteo Y.”
Transportation is free for participants, but registration is required since space is limited. Participants will need a teen membership which Connect Casino Road will provide, if needed. Teens can sign up on a week-by-week basis and can come once or register to attend every Tuesday. The program runs through the end of the school year.
“This program breaks barriers such as safe transportation, cost and hours of operations that often don’t meet parents needs due to work schedules and other challenges our teens face,” said Guillen. “We know this program will benefit the historically underserved and marginalized Casino Road community and have positive physical and mental health benefits for our teens.”
The program is starting with one bus, but the ultimate goal is to provide multiple buses so more kids can have access to the Y after school.
“The Y has so much to offer and we love that we can help fill a need in the community,” said Kelly. “Our ultimate goal is achievement, belonging, and community for all and we’re thrilled we can provide that opportunity for more teens in our area.”
To register for the program, please visit: http://bit.ly/4122Qrm