By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
The morning pre-school program at the Bend YMCA is full of children playing and learning together.
The Y’s afternoon pre-school program, after school, no school and summer camps for elementary school age children are full as well.
The Bend YMCA has been operating in the Solid Rock Church building on Brosterhous Road in southeast Bend since March of 2017.
As of now the Bend YMCA is serving the children of 200 families and is launching a capital campaign to find, lease or develop more space in which to offer more programs “that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.”
“The 0 to 5 childcare is a major crisis. We definitely want to aid in that support that the Chamber of Commerce is working so hard at. So with that we are looking at new lease options, potential development and or building or purchasing a site,” said Crystal Henderson, Bend YMCA family programs director.
Word that the YMCA wants to grow doesn’t phase managers of the Boys & Girls Club of Bend. Julianna Williams sees it as an opportunity.
“We have an ever-growing population here and the needs are expanding, not only the need for childcare which we hear a lot about but the need for youth development,” said Julianna Williams, executive director for the Boys and Girls Club of Bend. “The need for positive role models in safe places for kids”
The Bend YMCA’s three phase expansion plan seeks fencing, a play structure, indoor basketball and gym equipment.
Down the road goals include more classrooms, a rec hall and kitchen in a fully self-contained facility similar to YMCA’s in other cities.