Sanford-Springvale YMCA

The YMCA is a cause-driven organization focused on Youth Development, believing that all youth on a daily basis opportunity to discover their true potential. In 2013, the Sanford-Springvale YMCA served 270 youth daily in their afterschool programs; this year in 2014, the Y has been able to serve upwards of 322 youth. The Y has expanded childcare service area by incorporating and adding afterschool sites at the Alfred Elementary and Shapleigh Elementary Schools.  Currently it hosts programs at 10 different locations throughout York County: Sanford-Springvale, Acton, Alfred, Waterboro, Shapleigh and the Berwick area as well.  During the summer months, the Y offers a full day program at Camp Marland on Bunganut Lake in Lyman; the site is provided by a collaboration and partnership with the Town of Lyman. In 2013, Camp Marland was host to 215 youth; this past summer the camp was able to provide 233 youth with a safe and nurturing place to spend their summer days. 

Healthy Living is another major focus for YMCAs across the nation. Here in Sanford, the Y is helping to improve the nation’s health and well-being by offering group wellness classes, a place for people to work on at their personal fitness levels and also offering them support to continue working on starting or maintaining their healthy living lifestyle. In 2013 the YMCA served 13,750 individuals in group wellness classes; in 2014 the number and types of classes being offered was increased, allowing for 14,486 people to participate in classes. The Y offers a variety of classes and programs for members and individuals in the community. Among these programs is the Cancer Wellness Support Program, which allows for individuals currently in or post cancer treatment to work on maintaining their health and wellness.  This year the Y has been able to double the number of people being supported by this program from four to eight participants. Individuals committed to this program receive 12 weeks of free membership for themselves and their caregiver, along with one on one personal training work in the form of a class or in the fitness center.

As a leading nonprofit, the Y has a specific goal and focus on Social Responsibility; the Y works side-by-side with its neighbors every day to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. To do this important work, the Y relies on support from members, donors, volunteers and community leaders. This year the Y has been able to increase the support provided in scholarships; an additional 335 people were able to benefit this year from the Y’s Scholarship Program, allowing them an opportunity to attend programs and to invest in their own healthier spirit, mind & body.

The YMCA has been in Sanford-Springvale since 1941, when it received its charter and became incorporated. Tom Milligan was the first Executive Director of the YMCA and was a YMCA employee for 65 years – a National YMCA record for length of employment! The early years of the Sanford-Springvale YMCA focused on group work and community involvement.  Housed in rented quarters at the Town Hall, the Y sponsored a variety of activities including: Paragon Club, bowling, basketball and softball leagues, Junior High and Senior High Canteen Dances, Men’s Management Club and several other clubs, Indian guides, community Halloween parties and many other activities. The Y was also instrumental in organizing the Community Fund, which is now called the United Way.

As early as 1959 and continuing until 1979, organizers designed, planned and raised funds for a new YMCA building and in 1972, construction of the Ethel Trafton Levasseur Memorial YMCA building began. The building was completed in 1979 and preschool and school age childcare began.

Currently, the YMCA serves more than 8,500 people in the community through membership and programs. Services for individuals of all ages are offered. In 2002 the YMCA gave away over $83,000 in scholarships for childcare, membership and programs. The need for scholarships increases each year: in 2014, the Y gave away $117,000 in scholarships. The YMCA has a goal not to turn someone away due to an inability to pay.

As its programs have grown, the YMCA has found itself increasingly in need of additional space. At peak times throughout the day, every square foot of the facility is bustling with activity. Although space constraints have become evident, the Y is committed to increasing its membership and offering new programs that serve the whole community. So in 2011, the organization began plans for a two-story expansion and modification of its existing 26,000 square foot facility. The building project will be completed in phases; here are some highlights of the first phase two-story addition:

• New cardio and weight rooms
• New group fitness room
• Second entrance with lobby and concession area
• New locker rooms
• Renovations to the existing locker rooms
• New family changing areas
• New group meeting spaces

“The Sanford Springvale YMCA has been an exceptional partner for decades,” says Sanford Mayor Tom Cote. “This major expansion will allow them to further promote health and wellness while adding expanded programming that will benefit the entire community. The YMCA is adapting to the changing needs of its customers, which is truly a sign of forward thinking leadership indicative of an effective organization. They have my full support.”

Construction on the expansion is well underway and The YMCA has recently kicked off its “Paving the Way” capital fundraising campaign to help raise the final funds for the expansion. The Y is a place for everyone; they are asking for help setting that in stone by having members of the public purchase and personalize pavers or park benches that will be placed in the garden and sitting area next to the entrance of the YMCA. To learn more about how you can support the YMCA's expansion plans and purchase a paver or park bench in honor of a friend or loved one, click here.  

“We are truly excited about the progress we are making in completing the two story expansion,” says YMCA board member John Roux. “Especially the fact that 90% of the construction has been done by local contractors. The funds have been raised locally and for the most part have been spent locally”. Which is just what you would expect from a deep-rooted community-focused organization like the Y.

To learn more about the Sanford-Springvale YMCA and its many programs, visit the YMCA website.