MARIETTA - The Marietta Family YMCA is inviting the community to join in for its 110th anniversary celebration today.
"We're going to have a magician coming to do magic tricks and make balloon animals, there will be bouncy toys, and a blow up obstacle course," said program director Charlie Wilson.
The free event will also feature food and a slide show that highlights the history of Marietta's YMCA. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is not just for YMCA members, but for the community that has long supported the Y, said executive director Suzy Zumwalde.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Fitness instructor Stan Keach shows off the Gravity Training System, one of the newer pieces of equipment at the Marietta YMCA. Over its 110-year history, the Marietta YMCA has striven to stay current on technologies and equipment.
"The passion and the commitment this community has for the Y, I attribute that to its long history here," she said.
Zumwalde, who previously worked at three other YMCAs before coming to the Marietta Family YMCA two years ago, said that coming to a Y with more than 100 years of history was a unique experience.
"I've met people that learned to swim here 50 years ago when the pool was first built," said Zumwalde.
What: 110th anniversary celebration of the Marietta Family YMCA
When: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. today.
Cost: Free for the entire community, including non-members of the YMCA.
The event will feature food, entertainment and a presentation showcasing the YMCA's history.
Though 72-year-old Roger Patterson did not learn to swim at the YMCA, he does remember going to the YMCA when it was at its original location on Second Street, next to where the Washington County Courthouse stands.
"It did not really have a pool down there at the old Y," said Patterson.
The Second Street location did have activities geared toward youth and men's fitness and a few residence rooms, said Zumwalde.
The YMCA moved to its current location in 1953, when Patterson was in seventh grade.
"It was a place to hang out after school and to watch TV or play ping-pong," said Patterson, who pointed out that most families did not have television sets at that time.
Patterson also fondly remembers the Hi-Y club, which was available to students in seventh through 12th grades.
"We would meet up once a week and plan events like paper drives or teen dances," said Patterson.
In the early day's of the YMCA's current location, it was a much smaller building. The pool and fitness center were added in 1964.
Through venue changes and growth spurts, the mission of the Marietta YMCA has always remained the same-to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body. However, its programs and facilities have constantly evolved over the years, said Zumwalde.
"As the community changes, the Y changes to meet those needs," said Zumwalde.
Zumwalde pointed to the 1970s and 80s when more and more families were seeing both parents working.
"The demand for childcare soared, and the Y became the biggest childcare provider in the country," said Zumwalde.
In recent years, public concern has shifted to healthy lifestyles, and the YMCA has developed programs, updated its equipments and reworked childcare menus to meet those concerns, she said.
Staff member Stan Keach has been a fitness instructor at the Marietta YMCA for five years, but was a member first.
"I started coming here after I retired to come and stay in shape. I liked it so much I decided I'd see if they were hiring," said Keach.
During his time there, the Marietta YMCA has become more involved in the community, said Keach.
"I think we are more community minded than we used to be. We are getting involved with more community organizations," said Keach.
YMCA member Richard Shea, 46, said he is excited to see some familiar faces.
"It'll be nice just seeing a lot of people who have not been in for a while," said Shea.