EATON — To celebrate its 15th year in operation, the Preble County YMCA opened the doors to the community on Thursday, Feb. 15.
All were welcomed to take a tour, work out in the fitness center, swim in the pool, or even try a group exercise class. The YMCA hosted 15 hours of fitness classes all day, every hour on the hour, and offered discounts and specials. They waived the joiner’s fee for anyone who joined that day and offered door prizes to every 15th member to scan in on the hour.
According to Executive Director Paul Schreiber, the purpose of the celebration was to open their doors to the community, regardless of whether or not they are a member of the Preble County YMCA. For the whole of February, the YMCA has actually been open to all on Thursdays.
“The idea is that we really want to showcase the Y and give them a lot of appreciation for being able to serve the community for more than 15 years. Today is the celebration of that,” Schreiber said. “We’re really trying to celebrate around the number 15. We’ve had a ton of people in the doors. Typically we’re busy on Thursdays, but it has been even more because of the celebration.”
The YMCA opened in 2003 with 1,600 membership units. In 2018 the facility currently has over 2,000 membership units and serves over 6,600 members with 1,400 seniors through their insurance-based memberships and over 5,200 family members, adults, and youth in Preble County. The Y has enrolled over 2,500 children in aquatic programs and nearly 9,000 children in youth sports programs.
Schreiber explained retired Judge Bill Dues was the driving force behind Preble County getting a YMCA. He saw kids getting into trouble, due to a lack of activities. The Preble County Youth Foundation bought the land and the YMCA came in. After it was completed, Sinclair Community College built a branch campus next door. Then Kettering Health Network came into the picture, making the campus a center of self-improvement and wellness.
“We like to think of ourselves as the hub of the community. Preble County YMCA has strong roots in this community,” he said. “With the Y being the hub of all that, we see ourselves as the hub for the community. We’re getting ready to partner with some of our partners. The Easter event is one of our favorite events and we do Boom and Blast. Again, being the hub of the community it is one of the events that we partner with Sinclair and the hospital.
“The Y is not just a place to work out,” he added. “We want people to come out and swim or play basketball, but we are so much more than that to the community. We are a safe place where kids can come and get off the streets. It is also a place for families to do their thing together. It is a safe haven for the community that the whole family can enjoy. We try to make sure that we are a versatile facility.”
“I think the big connection on our campus is social responsibility,” Schrieber said. “We want to be responsible to the communities that we are in. Social responsibility is a big aspect of that. When you start talking about Sinclair and Kettering Health Network, they also want to be seen as very responsible with the services that they provide. It is a great partnership, because everyone has that common goal.”
He added that there is a huge difference between a community that has a YMCA and a community that does not. While those communities might have gyms, those facilities are not as focused on the family aspect. There is summer camp and programs for kids. Not only that, but the Y provides financial assistance, where a gym might not. The Y will work with families to make sure they can afford the services and to get as many kids off the streets as possible.
“With this celebration we wanted to invite people into the Y. We’re not going to try to sell them on a membership, but we want them to see the Preble County YMCA as the center of the community. We want people to learn more about us and I think opening our doors is the best way to let them explore at their own pace.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH