YMCA Gears Up for Second Year of Successful High School Initiative

Over the 2016-2017 school year, the Boothbay Region YMCA’s high school membership grew to 189 students. Over one-third of those high school aged members received free memberships through the Y’s High School Initiative, which is made possible through the generous support of Paul and Giselaine Coulombe.

“To be able to provide this opportunity to all youth in our area is a gift I never thought our community would be able to access,” says Lilly Sherburne, YMCA Board Member and Senior at Boothbay Region High School. “So many teens have been able to rekindle their love for the Y while having free access to afterschool snack and exercise equipment that they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.”

The High School Initiative to offer YMCA free memberships to all high school students in the towns of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb, and Southport began in September 2016. Over the course of the year, the students have used the Y 1,293 times collectively. The most frequent user has been to the Y 130 times, which is almost every other day during the school year.

As part of the initiative, the Y also expanded teen services, including hiring additional staff for the Youth & Teen Center and providing free, nutritious snacks each day afterschool. The Y expanded leadership development programs and opportunities for students to be engaged, including reviving Youth in Government.

“We are looking forward to welcoming students in the incoming class of 2021 to the High School Initiative,” says Executive Director Andy Hamblett. Incoming freshman, as well as any high school students who have yet to take advantage of their free membership, are welcome to stop by the Y to get started. The Y will also have information and high school membership forms at their table at the Set for Success event on Sunday, August 20th.

Last year, nearly 600 individuals, including the Coulombes, donated to the Y’s Annual Fund. While the High School Initiative is a targeted program, the Y provides scholarships and financial assistance to one of every three members overall. The community’s generosity in supporting the Annual Fund ensures that the Y can be a welcoming place for people of all ages, background, abilities and incomes.