The Gallatin Valley YMCA has been around for years. Through the Y's programs, little humans in the Gallatin Valley have learned to kick soccer balls, bounce basketballs and improve their reading skills.

But the YMCA hasn't had a place to call home. That all changes this summer.

On Monday, Aug. 7, the doors will open on the new YMCA facility at the corner of Baxter and Love lanes. The building will house youth program rooms, a teen/multi-generational room, a cardio and strength training area, fitness studio, lobby/gathering area, conference room and administrative areas. 

That's just the first phase. More is planned for the future.

This week, Y staffers are busy moving into the new building.

The new building will allow the Y to offer more programs and serve more people in the valley. Already this summer, the Y estimates it is serving about 3,000 people who participate in camps, sports and programs that help kids learn, play and thrive.

As a mother now myself, I can't wait to take my son to the Y. Hopefully he'll be a "Y kid" just like his mom.

Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, the YMCA was the place to be when I was a kid. It was there that my patient mother took me to check out any and every sport and activity I expressed interest in trying. I learned to swim at the Y. I teetered across the balance beam in gymnastics classes. I joined basketball and soccer teams. I spent my quarters on ice cream sandwiches in the snack room with my friends after school. The Y's community room even hosted at least a couple of my birthday parties as a kid.

My Y had everything a young kid needed. And now kids growing up in Gallatin Valley will have a place to go for all of these opportunities too.

Y staffers are in the process now of moving into the new digs. The Y plans to open on Aug. 7.

If you're interested in checking out what the Y has to offer, you can stop by from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 for the grand opening celebration. The whole community is invited to enjoy carnival games, food trucks, a petting zoo, bouncy houses and a cleat swap where people can trade in gently-used cleats that their kids have outgrown for a pair that fits. More details are expected soon on the grand opening celebration.

The Y still needs to raise $1 million more to reach its $6 million goal. A lot of people don't realize that the Y receives no government dollars or money from Y-USA. It really takes a community to build a Y.

If you want to help the Y build, you could consider giving to the capital campaign. There are some creative ways to help the Y raise money. I'm planning on buying a brick in memory of my mom who died of cancer last year. She's the one who introduced me to the Y as a kid and drove to me swim and gymnastics lessons and soccer and basketball games and who paid for those birthday parties when I was little.

You can name a room after someone, buy a brick or a tree, sponsor an art area or fund a bike rack. More on how you can give to the Y and help it build HERE.



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