The Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA is much more than a gym, it’s a place where every single type of person can benefit from. Their list of programs includes: Amazing Kids Center for Infants-11 years old (FREE child care while parents work out), Before/After School Program, swim lessons, swim team, and open swim, sports for children ages 2-18 years old, personal training, large group fitness schedule, diabetes prevention classes, Live Strong at the Y (FREE fitness program for cancer survivors), Parents Night Out (Drop kids off while you enjoy yourself), Friday Family Fun Nights (activities for families that change every week), family hours (staying open 2 hours more just for families), Partnerships (Toast Masters, Parenting classes by I-Can, JCC and much more), special events (10th Annual Prayer Breakfast on 9/15/16 and Golf Tournament on 9/30/16), and volunteer opportunities. They also never turn anyone away due to an inability to pay, they will work around your budget! As you can see the Chandler/Gilbert YMCA caters to everyone, regardless of religion, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation.

In the opinion of Harold Shea, Executive Director of the YMCA, their ability to have programs for all types of people and the relationships that the gym has with their members is what separates the Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA from others. They often have people come to them to say they have tried out another gym but they didn’t have friendly staff like the Y and no one even knew their names. This gym prides themselves on having programs, and activities for everyone. He states, “Our dedicated staff and volunteers are the best in their fields and strive to ensure that everyone is aware that the YMCA stands for healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility.” The YMCA mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Their impact is felt when an individual makes a healthy choice, when a mentor inspires a child, and when a community comes together for the common good. What he loves about the Christian principles is treating each other with respect, caring for one another and realizing that the YMCA is a community where everyone can gather under one roof and work on a healthy spirit, mind and body.

Being an Executive Director at the gym, their are common mistakes that Harold has seen over time. One of the most common, and biggest mistakes people make when exercising is not knowing how to use the equipment correctly. People can be intimidated by the fancy equipment that gyms have. The staff at the Y are always ready to help and demonstrate how to properly use the equipment rather than the person using it incorrectly and injuring themselves. The YMCA offers a free consultation with a personal trainer and they also have fitness attendants that are there to help and make sure each member is safe and enjoys their experience. Harold also speaks of the biggest mistakes that he sees other gyms make which is the relationship with members. He compares it to the show Cheers saying, “We all can sing along to their theme song…

 

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,

And they’re always glad you came.

You wanna be where you can see,

Our troubles are all the same

You wanna be where everybody knows

Your name.

 

Who doesn’t like to go to a place where everyone knows your name? It’s taking the time to smile, chat, and let your customers know they’re appreciated.”

Harold encourages everyone near by to come by for a visit. Whether you try it out for a day or a week you will see that everything he mentioned is true. There is a good reason their membership retention is so high and staff and volunteers have been with them for years. That’s all because they care about the YMCA core values (honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility) which are all demonstrated on a daily basis. He has been in the non-profit field for over 25 years and had role models throughout his school, church, and the local community center that made a positive impact in his life and he wants to pay that kindness forward. The YMCA allows him and the dedicated staff that opportunity.

If you would like more information about the Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA, visit their website at https://valleyymca.org/, call them at 602-212-6102 or email them at hshea@vosymca.org. You can also “Like” them on Facebook, connect with them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram , watch them on YouTube, and make donations to https://valleyymca.org/get-involved/donate/.

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