Downtown YMCA to shift focus to youth programs

The Sioux Falls Family YMCA is changing the mission of its downtown location from a fitness facility for all ages to a development center for youth with free programming.

The changes will take place Dec. 18.

Sioux Falls has a plethora of fitness centers to serve adults but youth programming is an underserved area, said Eric Tucker, president and CEO of the Sioux Falls Family YMCA.

“The critical need for quality child and youth programming in the downtown Sioux Falls area has grown exponentially in the past few years,” Tucker said. “Kids need a safe, supportive environment to learn new skills and build healthy relationships.”

The center at 220 S. Minnesota Ave. was downsized in recent years as a portion of the facility was developed into apartments.

Under the new structure, an adult membership will be offered for those who wish to play racquetball or basketball and use the sauna and steam rooms. Members will have access from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays for $39 a month. Sanford Wellness, a partner of Sioux Falls Family YMCA, is offering a free one-month membership to former YMCA members.

For youths, the YMCA will continue to offer access to basketball and racquetball courts, along with a new child care center, game room, strength-training center and gymnastics facility. Programs will include after-school care, dance, cheer, martial arts, gymnastics, basketball, pickle ball, Wiffle ball and GaGa, which is a form of dodgeball. Plans are also under way for an indoor climbing area and high ropes course.

Access to the YMCA will be free to those younger than 18 with the support from major donors and the Sioux Empire United Way.

“The YMCA was a significant part of my youth when I joined 60 years ago,” said John Archer, former board chairman. “This transition will ensure that the YMCA continues to be strong and relevant for generations to come.”

The number of children served by the Sioux Falls Family YMCA has doubled since 2014. This year, more than 15,000 children have participated in YMCA programs. The organization has two other centers in Sioux Falls and also operates YMCA Camp Leif Ericson.

Downtown YMCA to shift focus to youth programs

The Sioux Falls Family YMCA is changing the mission of its downtown location from a fitness facility for all ages to a development center for youth with free programming.

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