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Rotary Club hears update from the Bainbridge YMCA

Members of the Bainbridge Rotary Club met at the Bainbridge Country Club Tuesday for their regularly scheduled meeting, with the Kim Mills and Suzanne Brandt from the YMCA attending as guest speakers.

Brandt spoke first, going over the history of the YMCA’s founding in 1844 as a program to keep young men out of trouble and offer things such as Bible studies. “Today we envision ourselves as the same,” Brandt said. “We’ve come to understand very clearly that each person that enters our doors comes with a specific need, and they do.” According to Brandt, COVID has impacted them, though not like other businesses or organizations.

“We have currently experienced growth because of COVID, because so many people just needed a place to be with other people where they felt safe… We found ourselves very relevant in these times in particular,” she said.

This year, Brandt stated, there have been an average of 90 people visiting the Y per day.

“We never turn anybody away,” she said. “We say that. We like, when we award a scholarship to somebody, to have them involved, to some degree, financially, because it means more to them and makes them more accountable. However, if people need us, then we will commit.”

Mills, who leads fitness classes at the Y, spoke on the various fitness programs currently offered.

“Being healthy is more than just being able to get up and walk a mile,” Mills said. “Mental health, spiritual health, all of those things work together to create a whole person.”

One of the fitness assets offered is the Olympic swimming pool, where people are allowed to swim laps and even have birthday parties, while swimming classes and physical therapy are also offered. However, one issue she raised was a need for lifeguards.

“If you know anybody that wants to be trained to be a lifeguard, we’re looking for lifeguards. That’s a big challenge right now. A lot of businesses are having trouble hiring employees, and lifeguards fall in the same category.”

Other programs and fitness amenities offered include a basketball court, tennis courts, an indoor walking track and a weight room, to name just a few.

The Bainbridge YMCA is located at 1818 E Shotwell St, and is open from 5:00 AM- 9:00 PM on weekdays, from 5:00 AM-7:00 PM on Fridays, from 8:00 AM-6:00 PM on Saturdays, and 1:30 PM-5:30 PM on Sundays.