2018-01-04 / Editorial

YMCA has much to offer for all ages, families

Legislative Lowdown
by Rep. Martin Grohman

Looking to get healthier in the New Year? The Northern York County Family YMCA, located at 3 Pomerleau St. in Biddeford, is a great option. It offers a full workout facility with treadmills, spin bikes, exercise classes, weight machines and a free weight room, as well as one of the larger pools in the area. The pool area also includes a shallow kid’s pool that can be rented for birthday parties. Lifeguards are on duty, and it’s also the home of the Manta Rays swim team for youth.

But our Y is more than just a gym ‘n’ swim. It’s a community resource. It offers a full child care center and year-round options for children, which include before and after school care and Camp Sokokis summer day camp. A popular option is day child care during the holidays, such as the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when many offices are open but schools are closed. For events like these, pre-registration is required. The Y works closely with the Biddeford School Department, even offering some of its before and after school programs directly at Biddeford Primary School.

The Biddeford Y was built in the late 1980s and operated as an independent entity until 2012 when it joined with three other locations, including the YMCAs in Freeport, New Gloucester (at Pineland), and Portland to form a regional group. Membership in the Biddeford Y will gain you access to any of those locations, which is a nice perk. The Y emphasizes well-being over just fitness, including cultivating a sense of belonging and building positive relationships. And with its supportive and encouraging environment, everyone should feel welcome.

Memberships are flexible, and include plans for families, including single parent households. It is free to come in and try the Y for a day and see if it is a fit for you. The Y also offers specialized programs for people who’ve experienced illness or injury, including a cancer survivorship program called LiveSTRONG. This program is free to community members dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

The Y is a nonprofit. Ability to pay should never be a barrier to joining. Discounted memberships are available for those in need. In fact, across its four branches, the YMCA of Southern Maine provided more than $2.1 million in financial assistance and program support last year to more than 8,000 youth, individuals, and families.

The Y also has featured activities for those 65 or better and is justifiably proud of their active senior membership. If you’ve been feeling disconnected and alone, the Y can become a community for you. Popular offerings include group activities like water aerobics and chair yoga. There are monthly senior lunches as well, which is a nice chance to check in and meet others in the community.

The Y is seeking advisory board members. This is a nice opportunity to give back to the community and set the future direction of the organization.

A little-known fact is that the Y sits on a 28-acre lot with hiking trails, athletic fields, and a high and low ropes course. In fact, I highly recommend the trails, which are open to members and are great for a short hike with the kids. They include some fun obstacles, rope swings and easy climbing. Park in the higher parking lot to the right to access them.

Upcoming events include the Y’s Kids Night Out on Jan. 12, which is an evening of games, arts and crafts for kids, allowing parents to enjoy a few hours of free time; and a 50-mile bike ride on Saturday, Jan. 6 (indoors, on the spin bikes). Check the website to learn more and register.

In conclusion, our Y has something for everyone. I believe we are lucky to have it here in Biddeford. I’ve got some holiday pounds to work off – and all the long trips to Augusta have been adding up – so I’ll see you there!

To learn more, please visit www.ymcaofsouthernmaine.org or call 283-0100.

Rep. Martin Grohman of Biddeford is an Independent State Representative serving his second term in the Maine Legislature and is a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Outside the legislature, he is chair of the Biddeford Solid Waste Commission. Marty hosts a podcast for Maine entrepreneurs called The Grow Maine Show. Find it on Apple Podcasts and Google Play, sign up for legislative updates at www.growmaine.com or facebook.com/repgrohman or call 283-1476.

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