Bedford YMCA Raises Funds for Facility and Programming Expansion | Local News

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The Bedford Area Family YMCA raises funds for programming and facility expansion to better meet identified community needs.

This is the third major fundraising campaign in the Bedford YMCA’s 40-year history, according to CEO and General Manager Mary Jo Boone. The total fundraising goal to cover all projects is approximately $4 million.

“It’s a big amount, but we hope the community will support what we are able to offer them,” Boone said.

Through a community needs assessment and the organization of focus groups, the YMCA identified several ways for the community-focused organization to better serve its region.

The YMCA has already developed seven of its 36 acres of land in previous expansion efforts, adding a soccer field and an outdoor stage to host family events. A paddling pool is also being installed and should be complete and open by the end of August, Boone said – there are enough warm days left for people to enjoy before the fall chill.

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However, further development is needed as additional needs are identified.

One of the expansion projects underway is focused on renovating and growing the fitness/wellness center, Boone said. The Bedford YMCA partners with Centra Health, which uses the fitness facility three days a week for some of its patients’ rehabilitation needs. Since Centra’s rehab program is also growing, in addition to regular limb use, Bedford YMCA’s fitness space is finally overwhelmed. The cost of expanding and renovating the fitness space is about $2.5 million, Boone said.

Child care is another major need in Bedford County.

The Bedford YMCA currently offers after-school care at several Bedford County public elementary schools, as well as summer camps for school-aged children, ages five to 12, Boone said. The organization has a presence in several elementary schools in Bedford County, as well as the physical location of the YMCA. However, childcare for young children up to the pre-school age range – zero to five years old – is not currently on offer, but it is deeply needed. This is where the Bedford YMCA child care expansion project is focused.

Up to 60 children up to the age of five could benefit from the childcare expansion plan. A structure to accommodate this addition has already been purchased and contractors have been retained to carry out the work when the time comes, Boone said. The construction market has become extremely volatile due to inflation and supply chain disruptions, but the organization estimates the total cost of the project at at least $1.5 million.

“The child care center, we’re definitely committed,” Boone said.

Up to 40 new employees could be hired if the child care expansion exceeds 60 preschoolers, Boone said. She hopes to have this childcare program up and running by next spring, but with many variables in play, there is no concrete completion date yet.

So far, the YMCA has raised $1 million of its $4 million goal for all expansion projects, Boone said. With a combination of donations, an endowment from a deceased person who left money in their will for the YMCA, corporate sponsorships and grants, she is hoping for another successful fundraising campaign. The organization will also seek out any available county, city, and state funding for the various projects.

The fundraising campaign has picked up serious steam over the past two weeks or so, and Boone said doors will be knocked on in the future as the campaign moves forward. Although fundraising for capital improvement projects technically began four years ago and $1 million has been raised during that time, the organization is now focusing those efforts on expanding the day care centres, and fitness and wellness centres.

“The community has always been mobilized. We feel very lucky to be in a community that believes in what we do, and our mission, and that they will step up once again,” Boone said.

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