YMCA Ballarat is 137 years old this year and we’re celebrating with more than 300 other YMCA’s across Australia.
June 6 marks the day of the official founding of the YMCA in England by founder, George Williams, in 1844 and this is the second year ever in Australian that the international birthday will be celebrated nationally. It’s our time to publically recognise why this community is better because we’re in it.
YMCA CEO Colin Hunt believes that YMCA is all about connecting healthy and happier communities by delivering programs for healthy living, youth development and social impact. “With a focus on supporting young people, our program reach and impact is vast. We’ve been working with communities for over a century and we hope to keep doing so well into the future” says Mr Hunt. Ballarat YMCA’s range of programs include Before and After School Care, health and fitness, swimming lessons, camping, older adult programs, kindergartens, leadership initiatives, holiday programs, sports stadiums, volunteering, community strengthening, community events, outdoor pools, training and development, youth services and much more!
Locally, we are making a real impact. During the last financial year, YMCA Ballarat had; 25,541 attendances to our before and after school care; 360 participants in Grade 5 & 6 leadership development programs; 1000 children per term enrolled in swimming lessons; 32,664 attendances by school kids in BALC swimming lessons; 268 attendances by 8-16 year old kids at Wendouree West Youth Centre; 1716 Healthy Kid Members; 420 young people accessed youth programs delivered at Delacombe Community Hub.
Mr Hunt says that there’s more to our business than ‘swim and gym’.
“One of the things that really sets us apart from other recreation providers, is our Open Doors Program. YMCA Open Doors aims to address and reduce health inequalities by ensuring no one is denied access. Through Open Doors, YMCA subsidises the cost of accessing programs and services and subsidies for eligible recipients range from 80-100% of full program fees” says Mr Hunt. YMCA has opened a lot doors recently and is seeking community support to open more. Through YMCA Open Doors; Local refugee children have ongoing access to swimming and gymnastics programs; A group of young teenagers are now regular YMCA Connect Camp participants each school holiday period; New specialised paediatric change table and hoist, purchased and installed through Open Doors, has helped a young student with complex needs access YMCA kindergarten program; A local homeless girl, returning to the workforce, has access to Ballarat Aquatic & Lifestyle Centre with a gold membership to support confidence building; 20 school aged refugees are set to enjoy a term of weekly swimming lessons with new goggles and transport to and from school; Kids with disabilities regularly enjoy Ballarat Aquatic & Lifestyle Centre’s healthy kid programs; Carers and families of people with a disability have ongoing access to health and wellness programs; Local at risk people use a range of programs to build a healthier more connected lifestyle. Part of the celebrations included YMCA New Life Member and Staff Service Milestone presentations on Monday.
Alan Morton, Ian Martin and Andrew Harman have made significant contributions to YMCA over the years and to recognise this contribution, they were presented with Life Membership. The trio said the presentation was ‘unexpected but very nice’.