MANSFIELD, OH - This year, the Mansfield Area YMCA will be celebrating their 150th year of operation. (1867-2017). The Mansfield YMCA is the longest running non-profit in Richland County.
Today, The Mansfield Area Y is among the oldest, continuously running social organizations in Ohio. So much more than community sports and fitness facility, through the generosity of hundreds of donors over the 150 years since its inception, the Y continues to improve the well-being of adults and children through the Y’s community-focused programming.
The Mansfield Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded December 30, 1867 following the founding principles of the first organizers in London, England in 1844. Their goal was to improve the lives of those who live nearby by focusing on mind, body and spirit. Though humble in its early years, gathering in borrowed meeting rooms and offices, the Mansfield Area Y, as it is now known, stayed true to its original mission: fostering Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.
A press conference was held Wednesday to officially kick off their "150th Project Campaign" that will include the following:
LIVESTRONG at the YMCA:
"In celebration of its 150th anniversary in 2017, the Mansfield Area Y is raising $900,000 in support of various projects to improve our 17-year-old facility on Scholl Road in Mansfield, as well as, much needed financial support for our nationally-recognized cancer-survivor program called LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. Established by the LIVESTRONG Foundation, in partnership with the National YMCA organization, the program is designed to assist people living with, through or beyond cancer to strengthen their spirit, mind and body. The Mansfield Area Y adopted the program two years ago, since then, 70 cancer survivors have graduated from the program.
Splash Pad Park Pump House and Pavilion:
For many years, the Y has helped the City of Mansfield operate its swimming pools in order to keep pools open for families during the summer. However, in 2016, only Liberty Pool remained open. While the City would like to provide a summer “water” alternative in the form of a Splash Park, it has no plans to do so. So, the Y is stepping up to create an outdoor splash pad in a park setting with a small pavilion, benches and trees. The splash pad will be open to the public and will be located on the Y’s Scholl Road property. Included on the Y campus will be restroom facilities, staffing and operational systems. It is the hope of the Y to build a large splash pad with additional fun features and surface sprays to enhance and maximize play for children of all abilities.
This Splash Pad concept is about 2,200 sq. ft, not including the surrounding sidewalks and the other park-like amenities.
Parking Lot Paving Project:
The traffic of 1,500 people in and out of the Mansfield Area Y each day has taken its toll on the 254-spot, 17-year old parking lot. Men and women alike come daily to exercise, swim, walk and lift weights to live more functional lives. Cancer survivors or those with arthritis, diabetes and other chronic illnesses attend classes to aid in their recovery or relieve pain while maintaining mobility. Seniors join their friends at the Y to socialize and stay involved in life while young people join a game of basketball or participate in an after-school program. Parents, on their way to work, drop off their children to play, learn and be nourished in a safe nurturing environment. The parking surface, new many years ago, has given way from use. While on the Y’s project budget many times in the past, more pressing matters have always taken priority.
The Mansfield Area Y utilizes its gymnasium for activities other than sports. The Y’s LIVESTRONG program for cancer survivors recently held its graduation in the gym. During the graduation ceremony, the stories of the survivors of their personal growth, hope and survival were lost to those in the audience due to poor acoustics. Perhaps, more urgent in this 150th celebratory year is the condition of the gym floor. Since the opening of this building in 2000, the floor has been refinished only a few times; a task that normally would be done annually. Y Leaders, members and volunteers alike believe that addressing these renovations now is important to maintaining the overall useful life of the gymnasium."
In hopes of completing these projects as planned, the YMCA is looking to raise $900,000 by mid-year 2017, and President and CEO, Christen Gilbert, said they are "well on their way".
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.