ROXBOROUGH >> The wide range of programs at the Roxborough YMCA give children, adults and seniors alike a place to have fun, stay active and meet new people.
The Roxborough YMCA is one of more than 20 branches of the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA. It serves the Roxborough community and surrounding areas including Manayunk, Lafayette Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown and Chestnut Hill.
Some of the programs the YMCA offers include swim lessons, sports, childcare, babysitting, day camps, personal training and group exercise classes.
“We do a little bit of everything,” said Matt Student, executive director of the Roxborough YMCA.
The Roxborough YMCA has been at its current location at 7201 Ridge Ave. since 1964, although the organization itself existed for several years before the building was constructed.
It was a “Y without walls,” Student said.
The Roxborough YMCA officially got its start in 1954, when Dr. Robert W. Bringhurst, then chairman of the recreation committee of the 21st Ward Community Council, was authorized to contact YMCA representatives with the end goal of establishing a YMCA in the community.
In 1956, Wallace F. Ott gave a gift of $135,000 toward a building fund. In the years leading up to the building’s construction, YMCA programming began, and outdoor facilities, including athletic fields, playgrounds and a picnic grove, were constructed.
Today, the branch has 5,000 members, and last year, there were a total of 161,000 visitors to the YMCA, said Student.
Members have access to the wellness center with upgraded fitness equipment and many different group fitness classes like yoga and Zumba. Certain classes are even geared specifically toward families or older adults.
According to Student, the Roxborough YMCA has an enthusiastic group of active older adult members.
“Our senior programing has really taken off,” Student said.
For seniors, there are group fitness classes, trips and wellness seminars put on by Roxborough Memorial Hospital. In addition, some of the older adult members are part of the Sixers Old City Senior Dance Team, which performs at Sixers’ games.
The Roxborough YMCA also serves about 3,000 kids per year through its youth programs. The Roxborough branch offers five full sessions plus a summer session each year, with each session serving about 600 children.
The YMCA’s programs for children go well beyond sports and swim lessons. The Roxborough YMCA is the No. 1 provider of childcare in Roxborough, said Student, adding that the child care program has a four-star rating through the Keystone STARS Program, Pennsylvania’s quality rating system of childcare and education programs.
The program serves about 85 children, from infants to preschool age, with another 85 school-age children enrolled in the before- and after-school care program. In addition, the Roxborough branch serves 2,000 campers in its summer camp program.
“Childcare is one of the biggest needs in our area,” Student said.
Given that there are more than 70 people on the waitlist for childcare services, the YMCA is currently looking for opportunities to expand in that area, Student said.
The YMCA is committed to giving back to the community and doesn’t turn away anyone who wants to participate in its programming. The organization provides financial assistance directly to families in need. Last year, the branch gave $315,000 to members to assist with costs of membership, childcare and summer camp, Student said.
In addition, there is free membership offered to all seventh-grade students.
Also, members receive up to two hours of free babysitting each day, so parents can fit in their workout or attend a fitness class while their child is safely being watched.
“We make sure everyone has the opportunity to come be healthy, be safe and have fun,” Student said.
The YMCA is currently raising funds for its annual campaign, which lasts from the beginning of March through the end of May. This year’s goal is $117,000. Last year, the organizations was able to raise nearly $103,000 through its campaign.
The majority of the organization’s revenue comes from membership and programming, explained Student, but it also relies in part on grants and donations.
To contact the YMCA or to learn more about programs and services, visit philaymca.org/locations/roxborough.
7201 Ridge Ave., Roxborough
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.