2023 POLAR BEAR PLUNGE
For 21 years, brave community members with warm hearts have been plunging into cold water each December to help the Y strengthen the community! Join the many current and past plungers by taking the plunge for your Y on December 2.
JOIN THE Y
When you join the Y, you're not only taking steps to build a healthier lifestyle, you're joining others who support the values and programs that strengthen OUR community. At the Y, children learn what they can achieve, families spend quality time together, and we all build relationships that deepen our sense of belonging.
Imagine coming to work every day knowing that what you do has a positive impact on the lives of people in YOUR community. Click below for a list of job openings at each of our four branches.
More than 20,000 people in Centre County don't know where their next meal is coming from. We're working to solve this problem because we believe no one should ever have to go hungry.
Adults in Centre County trained in the Stewards of Children child abuse prevention program. This program provides important tips for how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
STRONG SWIMMERS. CONFIDENT KIDS.
The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons over 100 years ago and has been America's leading swim instructor ever since. Our State College and Bellefonte Branches offer private and group swimming lessons for a variety of ages and levels.
“I can't tell you how much the Backpack Program has impacted the children that I work with. A lot of these kids are coming from a single parent household. I have had many parents reach out to me to express their gratitude and say how much they appreciate getting food boxes every week. One of the things that has impacted me the most is the excitement from the kids when they receive their backpacks. They can't wait to see what's in their bags for the week. I can't thank you enough for this program! So many lives have been blessed. It warms my heart to know that these kids will be able to have food for the weekend. Keep up the good work!"
“I made my first stop delivering food for the Anti-Hunger Program, and a man came out of nowhere and offered to help me carry the heavy boxes. I offered him a set of the food boxes, and he told me he couldn't remember the last time he had vegetables. He pointed to a broken down car saying that he was living across the street in a parking lot in his car. Your program is really making a difference for people who are struggling in our community!"
“With an Open Doors subsidized membership for a family, food from the Anti-Hunger Program, childcare for working families, and much more, EVERY DAY, YMCA of Centre County makes the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors better. In my work as a nurse practitioner, I see people every day with needs that go unmet, needs that block their ability to be as physically and mentally healthy as they want to be. I know that I can call the Y anytime to ask for help. Whether it’s a bag of food or the chance to develop a new program focusing on helping people learn how to cook and eat healthier, the response from the Y is always, ‘How can we help?’. Our Y offers unconditional support for our community. I hope you will join me in giving to our Y, so together, we continue to meet our community’s needs.”
"As a local healthcare provider, I am grateful to the Y’s Open Doors Program. Recently, a patient shared that the toll of being alone most of the time in the past year was more stressful than anything. She had no idea how to get back ‘out there’. Also having lost her job during the pandemic year, she did not have the resources to join a gym or group. When I told her about the Open Doors Program, she broke down crying. She has since shared that the Y has provided ‘a light at the end of the tunnel’. The unconditional commitment to the community that the YMCA shows every day is why I support the Y and hope you will too.”
"The YMCA's backpack program has provided an opportunity to help many children in our school. So many times we do not understand the hardships students face when not in school. The backpack program has taken one of those hardships away. Knowing the students who participate are going to have food for the weekend and come to school the following week ready to learn and nourished is really all one could ask for from such a program. I have said time and time again we know the program is having an impact because the students always make sure the backpacks are returned and ready to be filled the following week. Not having food should never be an issue for children and the backpack program is making sure that is not a problem in our area. We look forward to continuing this program for many years in our school."
"Our family just wanted to tell you all thank you so much for the lunch drop offs and extra food boxes! We had been worried about our children getting meals while we were working and you all have taken that stress off our shoulders! We cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for our family and the whole community! THANK YOU! You're all amazing."
"You are really great! So much outreach to the community. Thank you for all the caring and positive things that you do."
"THANK YOU for organizing food distributions for the kids! The YMCA is an amazing organization that continuously supports our community."
"I kept my Y membership active during COVID-19 mandated closures because I love the fact that the Y is so much more than a 'gym and swim' facility. It encompasses the spirit of community, and as a member for over 20 years, my family has received so much from the Y that I will always continue to support it. We've found friendships, swim and basketball teams for our children, and a safe and fun place to work out. The YMCA has been a wonderful fit for our family, and because of the benefits we've received, I try to embrace opportunities to help out when outside needs arise. Feeding and taking care of families within our community makes me so proud to be a member of such a great organization. We are all in this together, and united we are so much stronger, so I feel humbled by the efforts of the Y. During this very difficult time for so many families, I LOVE that our Y has gone above and beyond to make our neighbors' lives more bearable and provide nourishment where needed. My family and I will do all we can to support the Y, from keeping our membership active to donating food continuously throughout this tumultuous time."
"We have been YMCA of Centre County members for 15 years. Even when the facilities were closed due to COVID-19, we kept our membership active so that those funds can support the Y's emergency operations, notably feeding those in our community that are facing food insecurity."
"I decided to keep my Y membership active even though I'm not currently using the facility after I learned the Y was feeding over 2,000 kids per day in Centre County during the COVID-19 shutdown. I've been a longtime member, and helping in whatever way I can makes me feel happy. Looking forward to getting back to the Y soon!"
"Thank you for granting us access to the Y through the Open Doors Program. We are, without a doubt, fully utilizing our membership and loving our experience! My routine swim has been nothing short of therapeutic....a previous part of my life that I loved so much is making its way back to me. My kids adore coming to the Y and love the novelty of wearing swim suits in the winter, drying off and then shooting hoops in the gym. It is heartwarming to have our membership be affordable for us, and I can't thank everyone who makes this possible enough!"
"I came to the Y after 7 months of being completely sedentary due to surgery and then chemotherapy. I needed to regain my strength and reduce pain from the neuropathy I developed due to treatment. I began using the pool to move without pain and then gradually increased my level of effort. With coaching from the Aquatics Director, I was eventually able to do some swimming. From there, I started personal training. The Wellness Director guided me through exercises until I was able to do them on my own. The warm and welcoming atmosphere at the Y gave me a sense of community and a goal to help others feel connected and supported. When I was asked to join the Advisory Committee, I agreed willingly. I LOVE this Y and have such a great appreciation for what they do for children and families, especially those who are in need."
"The Y is a real asset to the community....I see the Y as a helping hand, encouraging everyone, and making its facilities available with programs for everyone: from the very young toddlers in child care and swim lessons to the older adults in gentle yoga. For disadvantaged people, everyone can find their place through the Open Doors Program, Backpack Program, and so much more. Thank you to all who make this possible!"
"I've been struggling with my weight for YEARS and this is the first time in a long time that I have been able to stick to my workouts...I'm doing things that I didn't think I could do and things that I know I would not be doing if I was on my own. The trainers make me feel comfortable, push me, and are aware of everyone's levels....My kids have seen me fail so many times...The last program I tried, I told my son that he would be able to put his arms around me within a month, which didn't happen. But now, he IS able to and HE was just as happy about it as I was!"
"With the help of the Y's Open Doors Program, our family has had an eventful year. Our vacation included experienced swimmers, thanks to Y swim lessons. Our children gained an immense amount of confidence, courage, and strength, and we have been able to become healthier adults through our Y involvement. We adults even ran our first 5K with the Y this year! We look forward to continuing to grow as a family within the Y community."
"I am a YMCA Backpack Program volunteer, and one day, as I was walking into the school, a parent came up to me and gave me a big hug with tears in her eyes, thanking me for the program and how much it means for her children. She told me it was a relief to not have to worry about having enough food for her children on the weekend, especially since they are struggling financially. It made me feel even more committed to this program after being able to see first hand what a difference it has made in people's lives."
"Every Friday, I am so excited to distribute food from the Backpack Program to the kids. It brings me so much joy to see their smiles! Some of them start asking me on Friday morning when they will be getting thier backpacks. One sixth grader always gives me a hug and thanks me the minute he sees me holding that YMCA bag. It gives me great comfort knowing that these children have food on their tables every weekend."