Welcome to the Greater Scranton YMCA’s blog! 
 
Here, you’ll find stories of impact from our members and staff, posts taking a deeper dive into our programs and services and more.
 
Every day, the Greater Scranton YMCA makes a lasting impact on the lives of those it serves. From child care to chronic disease prevention and management programming, the Greater Scranton YMCA strengthens the foundation of our community.   
 
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Are you happy and healthier? Has your child learned a new skill? Do you have a new group of friends? Your experiences inspire us and what we do! To submit your Y story, or to suggest content for additional blog posts, contact Meghan Carnevale, Mission Advancement & Marketing Director, at (570) 828-3113 or mcarnevale@greaterscrantonymca.org.
Child Abuse Prevention Month - Listening and Responding to Children - -Posted: Apr 22 2021
Listening and Responding to Children 
Throughout April, we’ve addressed recognizing red flags and boundary violations and how to talk with your children about abuse. Now, it’s important that all parents and caregivers know how to respond to boundary violations and warning signs if children tell you about abuse. At the Y, we are mandated reporters, so we have procedures in place for responding and reporting suspected abuse. As a parent, you can follow these 5 steps: 
1.  Keep your eyes & ears open 
2.  Talk with your child 
3.  Ask your child about any concerns you have. 
4.  If what you learn from your child or what you have observed/overheard sounds like abuse, call Child Protective Services or the police. 
5.  If what you've heard or observed sounds like a boundary violation, suspicious or inappropriate behavior, or a policy violation: 
a. Share your concerns with the employee/supervisor/person in charge of the organization. 
b. If you are unable to do this, make a report to the organization by making a call, sending an email, or submitting an online form.
Child Abuse Prevention Month - Talking with Your Children About Abuse -Posted: Apr 15 2021
Talking with Your Children About Abuse
Many parents and caregivers find speaking to their children about abuse to be uncomfortable. Framing these conversations around other safety conversations you have may help you work through some of that uncomfortableness. Below you’ll find age-appropriate ways to talk to your child about boundaries and preventing abuse. 

Young Children 
Parents can start these conversations simply by ensuring young children know the correct names for their body parts. Children who know the proper names are able to talk more clearly to parents or other adults if something inappropriate happens. As you’re teaching body part names, you can help your child learn that parts of their body are private and that only their parents/caregivers can see them. Don’t forget to note that doctors may see them naked but only because you’re there with the doctor! 

Equally important is to teach children boundaries both for themselves and for others. Boundaries have easily teachable moments, such as when a child doesn’t want to hug a relative, or during a tickle fight a child yells “Stop!”. Allowing young children to set their own boundaries teaches them body autonomy and helps them know when something makes them uncomfortable so that they can speak up. 

Many abusers will tell a child to keep abuse a secret. It’s important that children understand that adults should never ask them to keep a secret, and if they do, they should tell you. 

Teens
As children grow older, it’s key to keep lines of conversation open, so that they feel comfortable talking to parents or trusted adults if something happens to them or a friend. Talk to your teens about their friends, the other adults in their lives, social media and electronic communication. They need to know to not accept requests from people they don’t know, how to respond if someone (even a friend) asks them to send nude photos and that conversations online are never truly private. Continue the conversations about boundaries and what boundary violations look and feel like. Let them know that you are there to listen and support them.
Child Abuse Prevention Month - Recognizing Boundary Violations and War -Posted: Apr 08 2021
Recognizing Boundary Violations and Warning Signs
At the Y, creating safe spaces for youth to learn, grow and thrive is our top priority – especially following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids need a safe space now more than ever, and we take pride in the measures we’ve taken to help keep your kids safe. Here are some important tips for parents to know as we work together to keep kids safe from abuse.
 
Offenders seek three things in order to abuse: access, privacy and control.
1.  What does this mean for a parent?
a.  Know who has access to your children. For example,
b.  When your children are at school, what are the school’s procedures for screening staff, volunteers, parents, etc.?
c.  When your children attend a sleepover, who will be in the home?
1.   Know what type of privacy is allowed. For example,
a.  When your children play sports, can the coach be alone with a player?
b.  When camp is over, can the counselor text your child?
c.  When the program ends, is one adult ever alone with one child?
3.  Know how offenders gain control through boundary violations. For example,
a.  Physical boundaries violations - Excessive tickling, hugging, massaging, etc.
b.  Emotional boundaries violations - Spending too much time with them; acting possessive; sharing personal information to make a child feel they have a special relationship, sending excessive or inappropriate texts or messages
c.  Behavioral boundaries - Offenders manipulate kids into doing things they wouldn't otherwise do, such as: - Sneaking around - Keeping secrets - Looking at pornography - Use of drugs or alcohol

In response to the additional stressors added by COVID, Darkness to Light developed Protecting Children During a Crisis, an online training to help caregivers navigate through the unusual circumstances families may face during times of crisis. This change is any situation where you need to modify the steps you take to protect your children because of a situation that is out of your control. This training will help you consider your current strategies, help you identify the new situation, and help you change your strategy if necessary. 
Greater Scranton YMCA Launching E-Sports Program -Posted: Mar 15 2021
With a goal to promote teamwork, leadership, online safety, and individual growth steeped in YMCA Youth Development practices, the Greater Scranton YMCA is proud to announce its participation in the national Y’s E-Sports program.
 
The Y is made up of people from all backgrounds working side by side to strengthen communities. We are committed to advancing equity for all in everything we do so that everyone—regardless of who they are or where they come from—has an opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity. The E-Sports program will be another pathway for the YMCA to empower youth and teens to reach their full potential by providing them with access to nurturing environments, enriching experiences and support systems that reduce barriers and strengthen cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.
 
Registration is open for the E-Sports program, which will be comprised of leagues for NBA 2K, Super Smash Bros. and Rocket League. Each league can serve up to 50 children in middle and high school. Registrants will make up the Greater Scranton YMCA team, which will compete against other YMCAs across the country. Interested participants will need to have the ability to play on a PC, Xbox, PlayStation or Switch. In its pilot session, there will no cost to participate in the program, which is open to existing YMCA members and non-members (in future sessions, registration fees will apply).
 
“The YMCA is excited to launch this new program as we continue to evolve to find ways to keep kids engaged with one another virtually during COVID,” said Wayne Stump, Branch Executive Director, Greater Scranton YMCA. “Not only do E-Sports require teamwork, communication, critical and strategic thinking, creativity, sportsmanship and leadership, but they also help kids develop friendships and provide an educational opportunity through developing STEM skills that can help with a future career path.”

 
Similar to in-person youth sports leagues, E-Sports will be held in eight-week sessions, with practice and games held twice per week. The program will run from April 5th through May 28th. The middle school group will practice and compete on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m. and the high school group will practice and complete on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Yearly league championships will lead to regional championships, which will then lead to the national championship. 
 

For more information, contact Wayne at wstump@greaterscrantonymca.org or (570) 828-3266. To register, visit https://scranton.recliquecore.com/programs/40031

 

 

 

 

Great Summers Start at the Greater Scranton YMCA -Posted: Mar 01 2021
Registration is open for Summer Day Camp at the Greater Scranton YMCA. The 2021 Summer Day Camp Program will begin June 14th.
 
Day camp at the Y provides kids with adventure, healthy fun, personal growth and friendships that can take a so-so summer and turn it into a memory that lasts a lifetime. The Greater Scranton YMCA’s Summer Day Camp provides a welcoming environment for kids where they can belong, build relationships, develop character and discover their potential.
 
The health and safety of our campers and staff is our top priority. In order to have fun and thrive, kids need to feel safe. The Y has adapted its camp program to meet CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health safety recommendations to help keep kids and staff safe from COVID-19.
 
“Here at the Y, staff is preparing to provide children in our community with their best summer ever in a safe and nurturing environment” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “We believe all kids deserve the chance to experience summer camp. From physical fitness to summer learning and from enrichment activities to social engagement, our summer camp program provides opportunities for all children to learn, grow and thrive.
 
Early bird registration is open through March 15th, 2021. Financial assistance is available for families who need it to ensure all kids in our community can have enriching summer experiences. To learn more about summer camp and financial assistance, visit https://greaterscrantonymca.org/ or contact Leigh Miller, Education Director, at lmiller@greaterscrantonymca.org or call (570) 346-5003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YWellness 24/7 -Posted: Jan 25 2021

 

 

Exciting news for our members!

Beginning Monday, January 25th, the Greater Scranton YMCA will offer Y Wellness 24/7, an online platform providing over 150 live classes per week and 100s of classes on-demand as an added benefit of your membership. The platform is through a special collaboration with 29 YMCA associations from across Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania!

Led by over 120 nurturing and motivating YMCA instructors, the live and on-demand classes include choices such as cycling, Tai Chi, dance jam, country heat, cardio sculpt, bootcamp, and licensed classes such as RUMBLE, PIYO and TURBO KICK. Plus, senior classes such as ZUMBA GOLD, Better Balance, Senior Circuit, and more! Additionally, you can access 1000s of classes on the nationwide BurnAlong platform including training, mindfulness, nutrition, and stress management for all ages.

We are so excited to be a part of this partnership that will provide you with all of these great virtual options as part of your membership. Y Wellness 24/7 is now your virtual wellness platform, available to you anytime from anywhere.

How to get started?
Create your login by visiting: https://greaterscrantonymca.org/Y%20WELLNESS%2024/Y%20WELLNESS%2024/7-264.htm Please note that while your Key Tag code is helpful, that field is not mandatory

Have questions?
We cannot wait for you to engage with our expanded YMCA instructor family through over 150 live classes per week and 100s of classes in the on-demand library. As always, we remain here for you. If you have questions regarding Y Wellness 24/7 please contact: Robert Duliba, rduliba@greaterscrantonymca.org

Hit the Reset Button ! -Posted: Dec 02 2020
 
Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired in these COVID-19 times? The Greater Scranton YMCA invites all in the community, Y members and non-members, to participate in a free six-week RESET challenge designed to help transform spirit, mind and body.
 
“Now, more than ever before, we need to recharge and refocus,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worn us down. It’s isolated us in so many ways. This challenge provides an opportunity to get active and healthier by yourself or as a strong family.” 
 Each week of the six-week challenge will feature a different theme, including reset, refresh, reconnect, replay, reinvest and restore. To keep each other accountable, participants will be assigned a team that is led by Y staff. All aspects of the challenge can be done virtually. Participants will have access to the RESET website, which features fitness videos and classes, family friendly activities and so much more. Moreover, via the STRONG Challenge Community on Facebook, participants will be connected to participants from across the country!
 
 
The challenge begins February 1, 2021 and registration is currently open. To join, text RESET to 22454!

 
In addition to the RESET challenge, the Greater Scranton YMCA will begin offering this month a new virtual wellness platform, BurnAlong. BurnAlong is provided exclusively to our members, providing on-demand group exercise, sports and play programs with Y instructors. The platform also includes access to 1000s of on-demand classes from instructors nation-wide, including classes in training, mindfulness, nutrition, stress management, and more.
 

To learn more about RESET and BurnAlong, visit www.greaterscrantonymca.org or call (570) 342-8115. 

 

 

Meet Leigh Miller -Posted: Jul 31 2020

We are so excited to introduce you to Leigh Miller, Education Director at the Greater Scranton YMCA!

 
Leigh has been with the Greater Scranton YMCA for just one week! Previous to her work at the Greater Scranton YMCA, Leigh served for more than four years as the Pre-K Counts Director at the Forks Education Center in the Easton/Phillipsburg Branch of the Greater Valley YMCA and previous to that, she spent more than five years at child care centers in Allentown and Nazareth and more than three years as an instructional aid in special education.
 
Being so new at the Greater Scranton YMCA, what excites Leigh most is the Early Learning Center’s potential. “I love the connections I get to make with not only the children here, but also the families,” she said. “We have a chance to make a difference in the lives of so many children in the Greater Scranton area and I look forward to that.”
 
 
 
The fall festivals at Leigh’s previous Y are some of her favorite Y memories. “Mostly that was because it gave me a chance to run around in my dinosaur costume,” she said. “I will do almost anything for the entertainment of the children.”

 

 
The children and families she serves in her position are what motivates Leigh most. “I want to see them all succeed and it brings me joy when it happens,” she said. “I am lucky enough to still have contact with some of my original toddlers and seeing them graduate high school makes me feel fantastic.”
 
Leigh has been residing in Northeastern Pennsylvania for the past 11 years and enjoys the state’s beautiful scenery. She is a die-hard New York Yankees fan and in her spare time, she enjoys either painting for her friends’ children or building and refinishing furniture. She has three cats all with food names, Peanut, Jelly and Kit-Kat. She cherishes every moment she gets to spend with her 98-year-old grandmother and is close with her brother, as well.
 

Welcome to the Greater Scranton YMCA, Leigh! 

 

Meet Robert Duliba -Posted: Jul 24 2020

 

We are so excited to introduce you to Robert Duliba, Senior Director of Membership Services at the Greater Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs!
 
Robert has been with the Greater Scranton YMCA for three and a half years and with the YMCA movement for seven and a half years. Previous to his work at the Greater Scranton YMCA, Robert served in numerous roles at the Greater Pittston YMCA.
 
In his current position, Robert most enjoys sharing the Y with everyone and letting them know the amazing things we do for our community. “My title is unique in the fact that I get to interact with everyone that enters through our doors,” he said.
 
Robert was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

He went to high school at Wyoming Area and went on to graduate from the University of Scranton where he majored in Communications/Public Relations. In his spare time, Robert enjoys spending time with family and friends and likes keeping himself busy, working on projects and hobbies. He currently resides in NEPA with his wonderful partner Stephen and their amazing dog, Milo. “This area has everything,” he said. “It’s a loving community and so tight-knit where neighbors are truly neighbors and support one another.”

 
Ensuring the Y is accessible for all is Robert’s favorite Y memory. “Overseeing our financial assistance program has been one of the greatest joys of my job,” he said. “Hearing how the Y has helped families and individuals over the years reminds me of the importance of the Y’s mission in our community.”
 

As for what motivates Robert, it’s continuing to learn. “Just because you don’t know how to do something, doesn’t mean you can’t; always go out and make yourself better!” 

Meet Brandon Whipple -Posted: Jul 17 2020
We are so excited to introduce you to Brandon Whipple, Health & Wellness Director at the Greater Scranton YMCA!
 
Brandon has been with the Greater Scranton YMCA for three years and with the YMCA movement for ten years. Previous to his work at the Greater Scranton YMCA, Brandon worked at three YMCAs, one on the West Coast. During his professional career, Brandon took a short break from the Y and accepted a position as a regional fitness manager responsible for six clubs in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, before moving back to Pennsylvania to be closer to family. It didn’t take him long to find his way back to the Y, where he plans to finish his career.
 
In his current position, Brandon enjoys the daily interactions with the members most. “You really get to know the community and develop a sense of friendship with everyone who walks through those front doors,” he said.
 
Attending the YMCA General Assembly in Anaheim, California is one of Brandon’s favorite YMCA memories. “Seeing all the Y’s from around the country gather and meeting staff from other Ys was truly an awesome learning experience and a great reminder why we do what we do.”
 

Brandon resides in Exeter, Pennsylvania with his fiancé and their French Bulldog and Boston Terrier. He is an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoys hiking, working out and traveling. He tries to see at least one new country every year. What Brandon likes most about Northeastern Pennsylvania is how tight knit the local communities making up the region are. “The ‘mom and pop’ feel is very well and alive here. Oh, and the PIZZA,” he said.   

 

Meet Wayne Stump -Posted: Jul 10 2020

 

We are so excited to introduce you to Wayne Stump, Branch Executive Director at the Greater Scranton YMCA!
 
Wayne has been with the Greater Scranton YMCA for one year and four months. Previous to his work at the Greater Scranton YMCA, Wayne served as the Executive Director at the Sunbury YMCA and prior to that, the Chief Executive Officer at the Schuylkill YMCA. He has been working for the YMCA movement for more than 25 years. His Y work had him working in Clearfield County, PA; Bethlehem, PA; Virginia Beach, VA and the Catskills of NY.
 
Wayne was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania. When he had the opportunity to come back home, he was thrilled. “I really enjoy the supportive communities that make up NEPA and its rich history of hard work and helping neighbors,” he said. “I enjoy the outdoors and there is no better place than Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
 
In his current role at the Greater Scranton YMCA, Wayne enjoys being involved in the day to day operations because it allows him to be a part of every aspect of the Y, from the facility to programming to our members.

 
As for his favorite Y memory, after 25 years with the organization, he has many. “My earliest one was when I had the opportunity to take a group of inner-city kids on an overnight camping trip to the Shenandoah National Park,” he said. “This was the first time any of them slept under the stars. My most recent memory was when I was able to take the Schuylkill County YMCA from a non-facility Y to a full facility after there had been no YMCA in the county for over 40 years.”
 
As for what motivates Wayne, it’s all about doing good. “Doing good things that make people feel good and in turn do good,” he said.
 

Wayne resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania with his wife, Rosemarie, and their dogs, Stewie and Archer. He is the proud stepfather to stepson, Robert. In his spare time, Wayne enjoys hunting, fishing, cooking, playing golf with his wife, spending time on his boat and any opportunity to be with friends and family. 

World's largest Swimming Lesson -Posted: Jun 25 2020

 

 

GREATER SCRANTON YMCA TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 11TH ANNUAL WORLD’S LARGEST SWIMMING LESSON 
 
On July 16th, 2020, the Greater Scranton YMCA will participate in the 11th Annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, an event designed to build awareness and generate local and national press attention about the vital importance of teaching kids to swim to help prevent drowning. 
 
Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children ages 1-4 by up to 88 percent. Learning to swim is a life-saving skill that every person should learn no matter their age. Through participating in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, the Greater Scranton YMCA hopes to do its part in putting an end to drowning, the leading cause of accidental death for kids ages 1-4 worldwide, by spreading the word Swimming Lessons Save Lives™.

 
The Greater Scranton YMCA will hold the event on July 16th from 4:30-5:00 p.m. at its facility located at 706 N. Blakely Street, Dunmore, PA 18512. To ensure for proper social distancing, the program is limited to the first 25 children who register. The program is free and open to Greater Scranton YMCA members and non-members ages 3-11. Registration will open on Wednesday, July 1st. To register, visit www.greaterscrantonymca.org.
 

For more information, contact Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, Greater Scranton YMCA, at (570) 828-3112 or kbrewster@greaterscrantonymca.org

GSY Camp Safety -Posted: Jun 14 2020
 

welcome to camp

 

 
Summer  Camps Are Open, But Are They Safe?  
Five  Questions to Ask  Before Drop-Off 

After a long spring cooped up indoors, kids across the country (and especially their parents and caregivers) have never been more excited for the start of camp season.
 
But, summer 2020 is unlike any we’ve experienced before. Many Y camps have shifted to virtual programming, while others are ready to re-open their facilities and outdoor spaces in accordance with local regulations. If you’re a parent, your desireto provide this critically important youth development opportunity is likely tempered by concern for your children’s health and safety.
 
The Greater Scranton YMCA fully understands your fears.
  
That’s why – at every location in every state – we have modified our camp plans to ensure a safe and still fun experience for every child.
 
Camp will look different this year. So, it’s important to make sure you and your children are well prepared to dive into summer 2020.
  
Here are five questions to ask your camp provider before dropping off your campers:


 

1. How are you preparing staff to properly maintain a safe environment?Knowing what goes into the making of a healthy and fun-filled summer will help answer a lot ofyour questions and provide some reassurance.
    
2. What are the cleaning protocols? How often will items and surfaces be sanitized and what methods will be used?Camp staffwill be hard at work maintaining cleaning standards and campers may be asked to pitch in, too. Help get kids on board by practicing hand washing and other safety measures at home.
  
3. How will activities be modified to follow CDC and local agency requirements?Letting campers know (before the camp fun begins!) that their group or class sizes and activity rules may look different this summer will help counselors keep important safety measures in place.  How many kids are in my child’s camp class?
 
4. What screening procedures are in place?Protocols such as temperature-checks or self-monitoring may be required at camp. Preparing for these new steps before camp starts will allow for an easy-breezy check-in process.
   
5. What is the policy surrounding campers or staff who show signs of illness or fever?Learning and following your camp’s procedures in response toa positive or suspected case will help prevent the additional spread of illnessthroughout the camp community and beyond.
   
The Greater Scranton YMCA has spent the last several weeks preparing to deliver a safe summer camp experiencebased on guidance from the CDC and the American Camping Association to ensure kids can be outside, safely connect with each other, and have a fun summer to remember. 
 
Learn more at www.greaterscrantonymca.org or contact Karen Clause at kclause@greaterscrantonymca.org.  
 

 

Early Childhood Education at the Greater Scranton YMCA -Posted: Jun 11 2020

 

The Greater Scranton YMCA offers amazing learning experiences in its Early Learning Center.
 
The center features a toddler program for children ages 1-2 and a full day preschool program for children ages 3-6, both of which are aligned with Pennsylvania Learning Standards. Children in our play-centered toddler program are guided through development in learning areas including speech and language development, social and emotional growth, physical and motor activities and creative expression.
 
Children begin preschool at three years of age. Our preschool program is child-centered using the Creative Curriculum with learning areas in creative arts, language and literacy, mathematics, social & emotional development, large motor activities (including swim lessons), science and social studies. Learning activities and group lessons are repeated to provide optimal experiences for all children including those that attend part time.
 
“Y the Y? It was an easy decision as to where we would send our daughter to preschool because

we were already familiar with what some of the other kids' programs the YMCA had to offer and were impressed with them. We wanted a preschool that was fun, interesting and diverse & the YMCA definitely provided all that and more. Our daughter is a happy, confident and very curious little 5-year-old that is more than ready for kindergarten because the Y reinforced the goals and values that we found important for our child - such as respect, honesty, responsibility and commitment. Of course, she learned the educational basics, but the cherry on top was learning how to swim with no bubble!” – Early Learning Center Parent

 
For more information on the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Early Learning Center, visit www.greaterscrantonymca.org or contact Janine Shaffer, Education Director, at (570) 346-5003 or jshaffer@greaterscrantonymca.org.

    

Greater Scranton YMCA participates in #NEPAGIVES -Posted: Jun 03 2020
 
The Greater Scranton YMCA is proud to join additional non-profits from across our region for NEPA Gives, a one-day online giving event that’s all about giving back to the community.
 
For 24-hours – from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. – this Friday, June 5th, 2020, donors may make secure donations to their favorite nonprofit organizations, like the Greater Scranton YMCA, through the NEPA Gives online platform. Donations to participating nonprofits will be enhanced with bonus funds provided by NEPA Gives sponsors – making donor dollars stretch further (learn more here: https://www.nepagives.org/prizes)
 
 
 
The Scranton Area Community Foundation, The Luzerne Foundation, Greater Pike Community Foundation, Wayne County Community Foundation and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Nonprofit & Community Assistance Center (NCAC) have teamed up to host NEPA Gives.
 

“The Greater Scranton YMCA is so grateful to the NEPA Gives sponsors for organizing this giving day, which is all focused on giving back to our community” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “I am continually in awe of our region’s ability to come together, especially during times of need, to serve those organizations and members of our community who are most in need,”

 
The Greater Scranton YMCA is a non-profit, charitable organization turning no one away for an inability to pay. In our most recently completed fiscal year, we awarded $373,440 in financial assistance to children, adults and families from across our community who were in need. As we project the need for financial assistance to grow in the coming months, we are relying now more than ever on the support of our community.
 

To learn more and/or support the Greater Scranton YMCA’s NEPA Gives efforts, visit the Greater Scranton YMCA's Giving Page

 

"We Don’t Know What We’d Do if This Place Wasn't here" -Posted: May 28 2020

 

If you visit the Greater Scranton YMCA during any morning throughout the week, there is a very good chance you’ll run in to Rich Heim. Don’t know Rich? Well, he’ll be sure to introduce himself during your next run in. Rich is the one that always has a smile on his face; the guy so excited to greet his Y friends each morning with a “What’s up buddy?” and so eager to meet every new face he sees with a handshake and a welcoming remark.

 
And right next to Rich, who benefits from the services provided by St. Joseph’s Center, you’ll see Gretchen Kohut. Gretchen, Rich’s self-proclaimed sister, is Rich’s Independent Living Coach. The pair have been working together for years and are a package deal at the Greater Scranton YMCA. Rich’s life has changed tremendously since he was introduced to the services provided by the Y and that’s due in large part to Gretchen’s dedication to his continued success.

Healthy eating and a motivation to lose weight were the main reasons Rich first joined the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Road to Wellness Program three years ago. Since his completion in the program, he’s never looked back. Having completed a 5K race and countless numbers of spin classes over the past three years, Rich continues to amaze all those who are cheering for him. For Rich, though, it’s the social aspects of the Y that are just as important as the physical ones. If someone compliments Rich on his exercise, it makes his whole day.
 

There is “nothing Like the Y,” said Rich. “You guys are my big family. We don’t know what we’d do if the place wasn’t here.” 

Rich is eternally grateful to those who donate to the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Annual Support Campaign, for it’s through that funding that Rich is able to benefit from a membership to the Y. “Thank you for all those who sponsor me and others like me to allow me to benefit from the Y and get out in the community.”

 

"They Want the Kids to be Everything They Can Be" -Posted: May 24 2020

 

My son has been attending the Early Learning Center at the Greater Scranton YMCA for about two years. One thing that stands out about the Early Learning Center is how much the staff genuinely cares; they want the kids to be everything they can be and more, getting to know each child as an individual so they can work with them to help them grow and flourish in a way suiting their needs and learning style. This experience would not be possible without assistance from the United Way. With cost-of-living ever on the rise, it eases the mind to know programs like the United Way are there to help support working families to keep moving forward and focus on what matters.

 
My daughter has been attending the Early Learning Center for a few months now, and I have already seen the impact in how she interacts with peers and her family, and with how quickly she is picking up new words and concepts. I can’t wait to see how she grows through her time at the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Early Learning Center, and want to thank the United Way – we wouldn’t be able to do it without them!
- Early Learning Center Mom 

“He Runs into the Building Smiling” -Posted: May 04 2020

  

For the past year, our son has been a student in the Early Learning Center at the Greater Scranton YMCA. While enrolled in this program, I was amazed at the love and care he received and also by how much he grew (physically and emotionally) and how much he learned! The growing cost of everyday life has made it difficult for me to remain a stay at home mom, but the financial setback of daycare tuition made it an even tougher choice. Without the financial assistance the YMCA has offered, I would have never been able to return to work and my son would have missed out on this great opportunity. When I dropped my son off for his first day, it was really hard on both of us. Now he runs into the building smiling and loves his new routine.
- Early Learning Center Mom