The year 2016 has a special meaning to the YMCA of Greater San Antonio. With a legacy beginning 140 years ago, the YMCA began their journey of building a stronger and healthier San Antonio.
The YMCA was the first service organization in San Antonio. It was founded in 1876 by a group of volunteers who wanted to serve cowboys, railroad employees, young men and boys who had moved from the suburbs into the city to find employment. Without owning a building, volunteers began providing food, lodging, reading rooms and activities in borrowed facilities around town. It wasn’t until 1907, that the first YMCA facility was built in San Antonio. The facility allowed young men to participate in bible study, physical activity and education classes.
Today, the YMCA of Greater San Antonio has ten full facilities and one program center, the Y Living Center, and helps over 54,000 San Antonians live healthier lives through membership to their facilities every year.
This fall, they will open their eleventh facility in San Antonio in partnership with the San Antonio Public Library. The organizations will share over 58,000 square feet of space and offer exercise classrooms, a family adventure zone, an indoor swimming pool, a multi-generational center, a teaching kitchen and more. What will be known as the Mays Family YMCA at Potranco is expected to serve 8,000 community members.
Plans for the YMCA of Greater San Antonio’s twelfth location are already in the works as well. In April, they will break ground on the Mission Family YMCA.
As we Y-goers know, the growth of youth development and healthy living programs that are accessible to all, are some of the Y’s top priorities. In partnership with the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District and the City of Schertz, the Y is building a natatorium to be enjoyed by not only Schertz Family YMCA members, but all members of the Schertz community.
Last year, the Schertz Family YMCA provided swim lessons to over 500 youth, but an indoor pool will allow for many more youth to learn how to swim and stay safe in and around water. The natatorium will also provide an opportunity for more seniors to participate in water aerobics, improving symptoms of arthritis and helping to prevent chronic disease. The natatorium is set to open this October and will feature a large competition swimming pool with bleacher seating, a smaller leisure pool, men’s and women’s locker rooms and a changing room designed for families.
Seniors at the Schertz Family YMCA are a part of an exciting 2016 as well. The facility took over an existing senior center in Schertz, Texas this past December to provide more health and wellness opportunities for senior members of the Y and of the Schertz community. Through a partnership with WellMed and the City of Schertz, seniors who access the Center also receive a daily lunch.
The YMCA of Greater San Antonio will celebrate all of the above milestones, along with 140 years of service, with their volunteers, donors and staff at their Annual Celebration on June 10, 2016.
Here’s to another 140 years!