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EVERETT, Wa. January 4, 2023. January is a month of new beginnings for many people and oftentimes that means focusing on health and wellness. The YMCA of Snohomish County is preparing for an influx of new and returning members and can’t wait to show the community that the Y is much more than a gym.

“Our YMCA facilities are more than just a fitness center, gym, and swimming pool,” said Gael Gebow, Association Director of Healthy Living & Membership Advancement. “They Y is a community hub and gathering place where people can find friendship and a sense of belonging while working to achieve their goals.”

All six Snohomish County YMCA locations saw tremendous growth during 2022 and are preparing to welcome even more members this year. When you join the Y, you can visit any location across the county and access opportunities to prioritize health and wellness, build community, and find balance. The Y actively works to be accessible to all by offering need-based scholarships so anyone who wants to join the Y and its mission has the ability to do so.

“Our doors are open and we’re ready to welcome anyone who wants to make a positive change in their life,” said Gebow. “We have wellness centers, group exercise classes, personal training, and more, but we also offer encouragement, connection, and community support – these intangibles are what keep our members coming back day after day.”

In addition to health and wellness opportunities, the Y also offers year-round youth sports, swimming lessons/water safety for all ages, and family and teen events. The Y is continually growing its menu of programs to best serve the community, including the return of active older adult programming for seniors. The Y offers something for everyone in the family.

“We are excited about where our Ys are heading as we continue to serve our neighbors,” said Gebow. “I encourage everyone to come and check out our facilities and learn about the uniqueness of our organization.”

Community members who are new to the Y can sign up for Tour and Try and experience the Y before committing to a membership. The Tour and Try program showcases the full experience of being part of the Y, giving community members a week-long, all-inclusive trial membership for free. Sign up online at ymca-snoco.org or call the Support Center at 425 374 5779 to schedule a tour today.

Everett, WA. January 9, 2023 — YMCA of Snohomish County will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by hosting its 2nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspirational Weekend on January 13-16, 2023.

The weekend begins with an inspirational breakfast on January 13 from 7 – 9 am at the Everett Family YMCA (4730 Colby Ave., Everett, WA 98203) and culminate with a Day of Service on Monday, January 16 from 9 am – 1 pm.

“The Y is compelled to honor Dr. King’s legacy because his teachings inspire our values of equality and opportunity for all in our community,” said Peyton Tune, YMCA of Snohomish County President and CEO. “Our mission and work are made better every time we reflect on King’s teachings and legacy.”

The Y has a meaningful connection to Dr. King. Before he was a civil rights champion and humanitarian, before he delivered his universally-acclaimed “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington, and before he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, King was a young child who found a second home at the YMCA. As a boy, he learned to swim at his hometown Y in Atlanta, GA.

“This unique connection to Dr. King inspires us to live out his values in our daily work,” said Tune. “We look forward to honoring his legacy and then getting out in the community to serve our neighbors.”

All community members are invited to attend the Inspirational Breakfast on Friday morning. Community leaders and YMCA youth will lead a panel discussing the question of the day, originating from the words of Dr. King himself: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”

On Monday, January 16, YMCAs throughout Snohomish County will host “Make It A Day ON, Not A Day OFF” community service projects honoring Dr. King’s servant leadership spirit. The Y will mobilize hundreds of volunteers who will give back to their local community through various service projects, including tree planting in Monroe, food bank support in Mill Creek and Mukilteo, and assembling care packages for seniors in Marysville.

“The highlight of the weekend is our Day of Service when we get the opportunity to live out Dr. King’s legacy,” said Tune. “By gathering together to serve, we are truly answering his question, ‘what are you doing for others?’ in a real, tangible way. This is about serving our neighbors.”

For more information about breakfast registration or Day of Service volunteering, please visit ymca-snoco.org/mlk.

EVERETT, Wash. December 12, 2022—On Saturday, December 3, approximately 40 students loaded into four YMCA buses and headed to Alderwood Mall to shop for essential items like coats, shoes, and warm clothing. The Mill Creek Family YMCA, Rotary Club of Mill Creek, and JCPenney at Alderwood Mall come together every December to host an annual shopping event for Everett School District students.

“The holiday shopping event is probably the top project that our club looks forward to all year,” said Rotarian Dave Gunter. “It’s one of those projects where we can give back directly to the community and we see first-hand the appreciation and joy in the kids’ eyes.”

The Rotary Club of Mill Creek supplies each student with a gift card to shop, JCPenney opens early and offers additional discounts, and the Mill Creek Family YMCA provides buses and drivers to transport students to and from the event. Students are paired up with a volunteer and able to select items. JCPenney also gifted each student with a cozy, holiday blanket.

“We couldn’t do this event without the Mill Creek Y,” said Gunter. “Without transportation, it would make the event a lot harder. We appreciate how helpful and cooperative the Y is every year to get the kids safely to the event. Our partnership is a true blessing.”

The holiday shopping event has happened annually since 2015. The Rotary Club of Mill Creek learned about the event from Rotarian Rick Ferrell who was instrumental in starting the event in Shoreline over 30 years ago before transferring to Mill Creek. He shared the event with the club and they loved the idea and adopted it in the Mill Creek community.

“The unique thing about this event is that different organizations in the greater community are all working together to accomplish something good,” said Gunter. “The Y, Mill Creek Rotary, and JCPenney all contribute to this beautiful event that kicks off the holiday season for local kids and families.”

Students and volunteers alike experience the magic of giving and receiving at the holiday shopping event.

“Words cannot express how incredible this event is for the students,” said Megan Proost, YMCA of Snohomish County Director of Child Care Advancement. “This is a phenomenal opportunity to make a big impact in a child life’s and the Y is privileged to be part of the holiday magic.”

EVERETT, Wa. November 3, 2022. YMCA of Snohomish County is launching its first-ever Lifeguard Academy on Saturday, November 5. This program, designed for teens ages 15+, teaches lifeguard skills, as well as necessary leadership and communication skills to help them succeed both personally and professionally.

“Lifeguard Academy offers participants much more than your basic lifeguard training class,” said Tom Wunderlich, Association Director of Aquatics Advancement, YMCA of Snohomish County. “Participants will receive their lifeguard certification at the culmination of program, but they will also be equipped with skills to land their first job.”

YMCA aquatics and youth development departments are partnering together to offer this unique program, specifically designed for BIPOC, high-risk, and low-income youth.

“Current research has shown that over 70 percent of youth in the BIPOC community do not have access to opportunities that provide basic water safety and swimming skills,” said Kim Gaffney, YMCA Executive Director of Youth Leadership. “Lifeguard Academy removes barriers and teaches lifelong skills while empowering teens to reach their full potential, bridging the gap amongst our communities of color.”

The 10-week program meets three times a week and each session combines classroom and pool work. Participants start each session in the classroom learning leadership skills that will benefit them in both the academic and professional realm.

“Through career-centered learning, participants will learn how to communicate and interact with potential employers, create a resume, and develop a professional social media profile,” said Gaffney. “These skills will benefit them not only on their job search, but also in academics and other things they may pursue.”

After classroom instruction, participants will move to the pool to master swim and lifeguard skills, including CPR and first aid training.

“Our measure of success is when participants are able to graduate from the Academy with confidence in the skills they learned to become strong swimmers, water safety aware, and a productive and responsible young adult entering the work force,” said Wunderlich.

For more information, please visit ymca-snoco.org.

The start of summer means more time outdoors by the pool. It also means an increased risk of accidental drowning. Over the weekend, two water tragedies occurred at two separate lakes in our county. I am deeply saddened by the news of these two young children, and additional children that remain in critical condition. My condolences go out to their families and everyone involved. As a father, I can’t imagine the pain they are experiencing after such a tragic loss.

Drowning is fast and silent – it can happen in just 20 seconds. Children will rarely scream, splash, or call out for help. More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects. For children ages 1–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes.

Before jumping in the water this summer, please remember these few tips to ensure it is a safe, enjoyable experience:
Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty or an adult is watching.
Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach of you at all time.
Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
Wear a Life Jacket: Inexperienced, non-swimmers and kids should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using these techniques, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

Lastly, the Y offers swim lessons for all, regardless of age, income or background. Keeping children safe around water is absolutely critical and one of the most important life skills we as parents can give our children. To learn more about the YMCA of Snohomish County swim programs, visit ymca-snoco.org/swim

In community,

Peyton Tune
President & CEO
YMCA of Snohomish County

YMCA of Snohomish County Youth & Government Teens attend 75th Youth Legislature Conference

Everett, Wash. May 13, 2022. Youth delegates from YMCA of Snohomish County recently participated in the 75th Youth Legislature, a 4-day conference bringing together students from across Washington State to participate in a mock legislative session.

“I am beyond proud of all of the students in our program and seeing their success is why I enjoy what I do,” said Nolan Martin, Senior Director at the Mill Creek Family YMCA. “Of the 26 delegates from Snohomish County, all of them achieved something while in Olympia. For some it was learning to tie a tie, others it was getting their bill passed.”

Youth and Government is a program that brings students in grades 8-12 together to discuss current events and issues important to them and their community, while developing their public speaking, leadership, and debate skills. The program culminates with Youth Legislature, the annual, state-wide conference that brings students together from all over the state to conduct a real legislative session.

Delegates participated in committee debate and floor sessions in hopes to pass a number of bills presented to the legislature. The YMCA of Snohomish County delegation noteworthy highlights:

· Eva Wagner Awarded Evergreen Award by Governor Pilch-Bison

· Charlotte Galusha Awarded Evergreen Award by Governor Pilch-Bison

· Hugh Carter Awarded Cherberg Outstanding Senator

· Ash Griffin Outstanding Service of Fair Elections

· Ann Duan Elected Editor and Chief of the Press for 76th Legislative Session

· Charlotte Galusha Elected Chief Lobbyist Executive for 76th Legislative Session

· Clyde Carter Elected Lt. Governor for 76th Legislative Session

· Taneum Fotheringill Awarded Linda Medcalf Advisor of the Year Award

“We had an amazing experience at this year’s Youth Legislature and I can’t wait to see how these students shine next year,” said Martin. “We are only getting started.”

To learn about the Youth and Government program, please visit: ymca-snoco.org/programs/teens/#yag. Registration opens for the 2022-23 school year on June 1, 2022.

What are the things that have kept me so invested in the YMCA? While there are many reasons that keep me coming back day after day, the most notable and impactful reason would be the community I found here. Everyone holds each other up, friendships can be easily and quickly formed just by a simple game of basketball or ping pong, and anyone, especially kids, can always find the help they may need with school, family, or general well-being.

The YMCA gave me a place to unwind and relax, a place to study, a place to build my health, and a place to connect with people of all different backgrounds. I would often come here after school to work out or do my homework because I didn’t have exercise equipment at home or a reasonably-priced gym near me. And, I didn’t have a quiet space at home to do my work or someone to help me with my homework. At the Y, I found exactly what I needed and more.

I would tell myself, “just walk in, do your homework, work out, and then walk out.” As each week passed, something new would be added to my sentence, something like “just walk in, play ball with a few people, do your homework, work out, make at least three interactions with people, and then walk out.” That became my routine for about a month until it came to the point where I didn’t want to leave unless my mom called me or the YMCA was closing.

In my opinion, my Y story doesn’t seem that interesting or unique. All I can say is that the YMCA played a huge part in developing who I’ve become now. The Y gave me my first job and gave me a second family – many people who I’m still in contact with today. If it weren’t for the YMCA, I wouldn’t be where I am now. They gave me a passion to help and a desire to do more for the youth in our community.

Everett, WA, September 10, 2021 – The YMCA of Snohomish County is celebrating Welcoming Week from September 10-19, 2021. All six branches will join other YMCAs and organizations nationwide to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and bring together all residents in a spirit of unity.

“We know communities are stronger and more cohesive when people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to get to know one another and work side by side to advance the common good,” said Patsy Cudaback, Chief Operating Officer of the YMCA of Snohomish County.

Each year, Welcoming Week elevates the growing movement of communities that fully embrace new Americans and their contributions to the social fabric of the country. The event is an opportunity for neighbors—both immigrants and U.S.-born residents—to celebrate what unites people as a community.

“This year, we’re reminding our community that ‘Belonging Begins with Us,’” said Cudaback. “Whether it’s starting a new job, moving to a new neighborhood or starting a new school, we’ve all had moments where we felt like we didn’t belong. It’s a universal feeling that we all can relate to—but for people who move to this country experiencing language barriers, cultural differences and more, feeling excluded can take years to overcome. We all have the power to help others feel they belong; each of us can help others, regardless of their background, feel like they are seen, embraced, welcomed and included in our community.”

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About the Y 
The Y is a cause-driven organization focused on three key areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We believe a strong community can only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health, and our neighbors. Our programs, services, and initiatives enable youth to realize their potential, offer families ways to have fun together, empower people to be healthier in spirit, mind and body, welcome and embrace newcomers and help foster social responsibility.

Here in Snohomish County, the Y has been serving and strengthening our communities since 1901. We’ve been here through economic booms and busts, wartime and peace, and social upheavals both subtle and life-changing. Our movement is made up of people of all ages and from every walk of life, all working side-by-side to ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, income or background, has the opportunity to live life to its fullest. Please visit ymca-snoco.org for more information.

Youth delegates from the YMCA of Snohomish County recently participated in the 74th Youth Legislature, a 4-day conference bringing together students from across Washington State to participate in a mock legislative session. At the culmination of the event, delegates were elected for positions in the 75th Youth Legislature. Five delegates were elected to Major Officer Positions.

“I am beyond proud of all of the students in our program and seeing their success is why I enjoy what I do,” said Nolan Martin, Youth Development Director at the Mill Creek Family YMCA. “All five elected students have been part of the Youth and Government (YAG) program since their 8th grade year.”

The following Mill Creek Y delegates were elected for the 75th Youth Legislature Session: Terra Pilch-Bisson, Governor, Vidushi Gautam, Lieutenant Governor, Audrey Elwood, Speaker of the House, Heather Mimikos, Chief Lobbyist Executive, and Ann Duan, Editor in Chief of the Press.

Youth and Government is a program that brings students in grades 8-12 together to discuss current events and issues important to them and their community, while developing their public speaking, leadership, and debate skills. The program culminates with Youth Legislature, the annual, state-wide conference that brings students together from all over the state to conduct a real legislative session.

This year’s Youth Legislature was held virtually, but still operated similar to an in-person session. Delegates participated in committee debate and floor sessions in hopes to pass a number of bills presented to the legislature. The YMCA of Snohomish County delegation presented seven bills and six of them were passed and signed.

“We had an amazing experience at this year’s Youth Legislature and I can’t wait to see how these students shine next year,” said Martin. “We are only getting started.”

To learn about the Youth and Government program, please visit: ymca-snoco.org/programs/youth-and-government. Registration opens for the 2021-22 school year on September 1, 2021.

EVERETT, Wash., May 13, 2021 – Teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. The YMCA of Snohomish County is reintroducing its Safety Around Water program at all six of its branches. This 8-day program teaches children essential water safety skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around water.

“Equipping children with water safety skills is critical because we are surrounded by water in the Pacific Northwest,” Patsy Cudaback, Chief Operating Officer. “Teaching safe swimming to all, especially youth, is a top priority of the YMCA.”

Safety Around Water will be held from June 21 – July 1, 2021 at all YMCA of Snohomish County branches. Classes run Monday – Thursday each week for a total of eight lessons. Safety Around Water is open to the community and costs $40 for 8 lessons. The program is free for children on free and reduced lunch and children who are on or qualify for YMCA financial assistance. Safety Around Water is open to all kids ages 3-12.

“Our goal is to get as many kids comfortable in and around water, despite their skill levels,” said Cudaback. “Safety Around Water builds confidence in kids through fun, engaging lessons.”

Certified instructors use fun games and activities to teach exercises that help children adjust to being in the water, skill sets children can use if they unexpectedly find themselves in the water, and safety specific topics such as pool rules and boating safety. Each lesson includes a handout for parents and caregivers with additional water safety tips.

To learn more about the YMCA’s Aquatics program and to register for Safety Around Water, please visit ymca-snoco.org or stop by a local YMCA branch. The YMCA also offers year-round traditional swim lessons. The next session begins July 5, 2021.