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Help Us Impact Lives in our Community by Cate Mellen

posted by Michelle Bell | March 22, 2017

On March 21, we celebrated the Kickoff of our 2017 Annual Campaign with a small party in our lobby for our volunteers.

But we also celebrated another, very important event yesterday, with balloons and treats in the lobby: our Birthday.

On March 21, 1859, a small group of community leaders gathered in a building near the town square in Carlisle and made the decision to form a chapter of the YMCA, which had been founded in London, England in 1844. The first U.S. chapter of the YMCA was formed in Boston in 1852.

Since then, the Y has grown and changed, meeting the needs of children, families and adults in 10,000 communities in the U.S. and 119 countries around the globe. Along the way, the Y is responsible for a number of innovations that influenced history and are part of our daily lives.

For instance:

  • Basketball, volleyball and racquetball all were invented at the Y.
  • Night school and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes began at the Y, and the Y was instrumental in the development of public libraries.
  • The world’s first indoor pool was at a Y, and the concept of group swim lessons started at the Y.
  • The United Service Organizations (USO) was created with help from the Y, and the Peace Corps was patterned after a Y program.
  • Father’s Day was created at a Y.

Our Y here in Carlisle is one of the oldest YMCAs still operating not just in the state of Pennsylvania but in the entire country, and we owe our success in large part to the support of volunteers, members and friends in our community.

For 158 years, the Carlisle Family YMCA has been a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We’ve been part of the lives of thousands upon thousands of local children over the last century and a half, teaching them to swim, helping them learn teamwork and cooperation through youth sports and providing memories that last a lifetime at one of our summer camps.

Last summer we celebrated the 90th anniversary of our resident camp program at Camp Thompson, and while spending some fun hours looking at our historical archives of camp seasons gone by, we determined that we have hosted an estimated 35,000 local children at Camp Thompson over the years. 35,000! And that’s just one of our many programs which positively impact youth in our community.

We are able to make such a profound impact on the lives of so many in our community because of the support of the United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County, because of sponsorships from community-minded businesses and corporations who work with us for the betterment of Carlisle and most of all because of the generosity of individuals who believe—as we do—in strengthening our community by nurturing the potential of every child.

Every spring we hold our Annual Campaign to raise funds to provide scholarships to our summer camps, swim lessons, youth sports and child care, as well as reduced rate memberships to kids and families in need throughout the community. We want every kid to have the same opportunities to learn, grow and thrive, and so we work very hard to make sure that our programs and services are available to all, regardless of the ability to pay. Last year our Annual Campaign raised $108,000 for this purpose and, combined with support from the United Way, helped us to provide financial assistance to 1,251 individuals.

With your support, we hope to raise $100,000 again this year. If you would like to help, please contact me at cmellen@carlislefamilyymca.org or 243-2525 ext 203, or visit our campaign page to make a fast, easy online donation.

We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve the people of Carlisle for over a century and half, and we look forward to doing so—with the generous support of our community—for many generations to come.

-by Cate Mellen, Development Director