Bellefonte YMCA offers an array of programs, services and workout facilities

PHOTO PROVIDED The Bellefonte YMCA is located at 125 W. High St., Bellefonte.

By CHRIS MORELLI

cmorelli@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE — When it comes to a landmark in downtown Bellefonte, most think of the Centre County Courthouse.

However, just down the street from the courthouse and right off what’s referred to as “The Diamond” is the Bellefonte YMCA. Located at 125 W. High St. in downtown, the YMCA plays a vital role in the Bellefonte community.

“The YMCA offers a myriad of programs and services to the Bellefonte area,” said branch director Shawn Thompson. “While traditionally the YMCA is known for its health and fitness facilities, it also offers childcare, programming for seniors and non-traditional youth programs such as kayaking and fishing.”

According to Thompson, the YMCA is a special place.

“Sometimes more important than what there is at the YMCA to do, is the great members that are participating in these programs,” Thompson said. “We strive to provide a safe, communal experience for our clientele that fosters socialization and community bonding.”

Workout Facilities

If you want to workout, there’s nowhere like the YMCA. In an era where gyms come and go, the YMCA has been a stalwart. The facilities are clean and loaded with all of the latest equipment.

“We have two buildings that contain a total of four fitness studios, a fully-equipped weight room and cardio area, a basketball gym, a swimming pool, men’s and women’s saunas and a boxing room,” Thompson said. “Our large fitness center boasts 1,100 square feet and is located in our annex and has something for everyone in terms of equipment.”

If you’re looking to get a lift in, the weight room is the perfect spot.

“For strength training, we offer free weights, benches, squat racks and cables for weight lifter,” Thompson said.

If lifting isn’t your thing, there are other options – including high intensity workouts.

“Those looking for a more cardiovascular workout will enjoy treadmills, elliptical machines, arc trainers, recumbent and stationary bikes and a rower,” Thompson said.

The YMCA also has two sets of guided strength training machines.

Child Care

The YMCA also offers an extensive childcare program. Whether you’re looking for all-day care, afterschool care of a summer program, the YMCA has a program.

According to Thompson, the childcare facility is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services and has earned a four-star rating with the Keystone Stars Childcare Rating System.

“We offer full-day care for all ages, infant through pre-kindergarten. Both younger and older pre-school classes participate in a swim lesson each week and a kids yoga class bi-weekly. These programs are additional opportunities for kids to be active and develop their confidence at the YMCA,” Thompson said.

The cost of these programs are also built into the registration fee for these programs are built into the registration fee for the child care program.

There are also afterschool programs located in four of Bellefonte Area School District’s buildings. Those programs help working parents, allow students to spend time with friends, complete homework and even have an afternoon snack.

The Facilities

The Bellefonte YMCA consists of two properties – the main facility at 125 W. High St. and the annex, located just across the street.

According to Thompson, the location is ideal.

“The mission and association is to strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Our location allows us to accomplish this because we a very accessible to the people that we are serving,” Thompson said.

The location truly caters to families located in the borough.

“Residents in the borough have no barriers in terms of transportation and therefore have limitless opportunities to explore at our building. Whether they want to start a fitness routine on their lunch hour, catch up on emails during their child’s swim class on the YMCA’s hotspot or just stop in to chat with friends and enjoy a cup of coffee in our lobby, it’s all right there in the center of town,” Thompson said.

Open for Business

Depending on which facility you visit, the YMCA has different hours.

The fitness center is open at 5 a.m. on weekdays and open until at least 8 p.m. Saturdays, it is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The main building is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Thompson said that there are many different types of memberships to choose from.

“The YMCA offers several different membership types that cater to both individuals and families of various sizes,” he said. “We offer affordable rates, allowing two-parent families to gain a family membership for about two dollars a day, with discounted rates for other membership types,” Thompson said.

For those who can’t afford a membership, there are still some options.

“The YMCA will always ensure that anyone that wants to be involved will not be turned away due to an inability to pay. We make sure that everyone – children, families, seniors – are able to gain the benefit of our programming and go out into the community as stronger individuals,” Thomspson said.

The YMCA employs 13 full-time staff and 79 part-time employees.

The Bellefonte YMCA was established Oct. 19, 1869 and was the third YMCA chartered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The current facility was built in 1957 on the site that had been home to the YMCA since the early 1990s.

For more information about the Bellefonte YMCA or to join, simply stop by the facility, visit www.ymcaofcentrecounty.com or call 814-355-5551.

Bellefonte Family YMCA

125 W. High St.,

Bellefonte, Pa. 16823

814-355-5551

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