For A Better Us

November 2, 2020

Sports and Arts Winter Camp

We’re mixing up the fun this December with an all-new Sports and Arts Winter Camp.

December 21-23 and December 28-30
6:30am-6:00pm

Register Online

duPont YMCA Youth Development Campus
YMCA at Flagler Health+ Village
Ponte Vedra YMCA

SPORTS CAMP

Winter sports camp will provide campers with the opportunity to learn sport-specific skills, which will help them enjoy each sport through fun and exciting drills and games with a strong focus on character development.

ARTS CAMP

Kids will build fundamental skills and character values through fun, hands-on arts enrichment. Each day will include a focus on art and creative expression while building confidence, character values and teamwork.

DAILY AREAS OF FOCUS

Week 1 Mon 12/21 Tue 12/22 Wed 12/23
ARTS Visual Art Drama Culinary Art
SPORTS Basketball Soccer Street hockey

 

Week 2 Mon 12/28 Tue 12/29 Wed 12/30
ARTS Visual Art Textile Art Culinary Art
SPORTS Basketball Flag Football All Sports

 

Cost

Varies by location
*Financial Assistance is available to those who qualify.

Safety First

The following health protocols will be in place:

  • Daily temperature checks and health screens
  • Staff and students are required to wear face coverings
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of all areas and supplies used

What time does my child need to arrive and be picked up?
Campers must arrive by 8:30am and program ends at 3:00pm. Complimentary before and after camp care will be available until 6:00pm where kids will explore STEM Discovery Center, participate in Character Development Activities and enjoy friendly competition in recreational games.

What does my child need to bring every day?
Children must pack a lunch and snack daily. Wear closed-toe shoes, face covering and comfortable attire. Please bring a reusable labelled water bottle.

What are the safety protocols?
All of our camps and child care programs follow extensive safety protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

We’re mixing up the fun this December with an all-new Sports and Arts Winter Camp. December 21-23 and December 28-30 6:30am-6:00pm Register Online duPont YMCA Youth Development Campus YMCA at Flagler Health+ Village Ponte Vedra YMCA SPORTS CAMP Winter sports camp will provide campers with the opportunity to learn sport-specific skills,…


October 28, 2020

We Love Our Teachers and School Employees!

These difficult times have reminded us all what really matters most: helping our family, our friends and our neighbors. Like the Y, schools are places that connect and engage and inspire a brighter tomorrow, despite the obstacles.

We applaud all of our educators and school employees on the First Coast. We know this school year has been among your most challenging. Yet, you continue to provide our community’s children with the tools they need for success in a fun and safe environment.

Thank you.

To show our gratitude, we are gifting every local elementary, middle and high school on the First Coast with a one-year YMCA membership for the principal to award to the teacher or employee of his/her choice.

Plus – all teachers and school employees are eligible for these specials when they join any First Coast YMCA:

  • NO JOINING FEE – Save up to $100!
  • 500 Y Rewards Points
  • Monthly Discount on Membership Dues*

This is just a small way that we’re able to give back to those who give so much.

Taking care of our health is more important now than ever before. The Y offers programming and activities for all ages, interests and abilities including group exercise classes, virtual fitness, chronic disease prevention, nutrition, swimming, basketball, pickleball, camp, before and afterschool child care, volunteer opportunities and so much more.

We’re here to help our neighbors focus on what matters most: their health, their family and friends, and their community.

Join online today or, for more information, please contact your local Y.

*Must join the First Coast Y by Nov. 30, 2020. Monthly discount good for as long as the membership remains active and in good standing. Discount may vary by county. Contact your local Y for more information.

These difficult times have reminded us all what really matters most: helping our family, our friends and our neighbors. Like the Y, schools are places that connect and engage and inspire a brighter tomorrow, despite the obstacles. We applaud all of our educators and school employees on the First Coast….


September 17, 2020

Changes Ahead But Commitment to Strengthening Community Remains

Closing our doors and creating distance between the people we serve was previously unimaginable for an organization like ours, one that is committed to bringing people and communities closer together. Yet, six months ago due to COVID-19, this became our reality.

We are grateful our facilities are back open and we have been able to safely reactivate some of our key programs. However, the financial impact of the public health crisis continues with lower facility usage and program enrollment at our Ys across the First Coast.

With the approval of our Metropolitan Board of Directors, we are implementing a plan to ensure we can best serve our community now and into the future. This plan includes the following difficult, but necessary decisions:

  • Close the YMCA at Flagler Center
  • Reduce Branch Hours
  • Reduce Workforce and Implement Pay Cuts

Our leadership team and board conducted an extensive review of the Y’s operations and finances in the hope of finding an alternative. We are truly heartbroken about these decisions and remain committed to connecting everyone affected with the opportunities and services needed.

Flagler Center Closing

The last day for classes and KidZone at the Flagler Center Y will be September 30, 2020. Members can select a new branch and keep their same rate for a year. There are five Ys within a 20-minute drive.

Reduced Branch Hours

The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is reducing hours at locations across the First Coast due to lower facility usage from COVID-19.

Branch

Effective

Mon-Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

Baptist North 10/1 5:00am-7:30pm 5:00am-6:00pm 7:00am-noon Closed
Barco-Newton Now 5:00am-8:00pm 5:00am-7:00pm 7:00am-3:00pm Closed
BOA Tower 9/28 6:00am-2:00pm, 4:00pm-6:00pm 6:00am-2:00pm, 4:00pm-5:00pm Closed Closed
Brooks 10/1 5:00am-8:00pm 5:00am-8:00pm 7:00am-1:00pm 7:00am-1:00pm
Dye Clay 10/1 5:00am-8:00pm 5:00am-7:00pm 8:00am-1:00pm Closed
Flagler Health+ Village 10/1 5:30am-7:30pm 5:30am-7:00pm 7:00am-1:00pm Closed
Johnson 10/1 5:30am-1:00pm 5:30am-1:00pm Closed Closed
Johnson Teen Center 10/1 2:00pm-6:30pm 2:00pm-6:30pm Closed Closed
McArthur Now 5:00am-8:00pm 5:00am-7:00pm 7:00am-3:00pm Noon-5:00pm
Nocatee Opening 5:00am-8:00pm 5:00am-7:00pm 7:00am-1:00pm Closed
Ponte Vedra Now 5:00am-8:00pm 5:00am-7:00pm 7:00am-1:00pm Closed
St. Augustine Now 5:30am-8:00pm 5:30am-7:00pm 7:00am-1:00pm Closed
Wildlight Opening 5:30am-8:00pm 5:30am-7:00pm 7:00am-3:00pm Closed
Williams 10/1 5:00am-8:00pm 5:00am-8:00pm 7:00am-1:00pm 8:00am-1:00pm
Winston 9/28 5:00am-8:00pm 5:00am-8:00pm 7:00am-1:00pm Noon-5:00pm

Workforce Reduction and Pay Cuts

This plan also includes a workforce reduction across all First Coast YMCA locations and a pay cut for all full-time employees. We are grateful to the dedicated service of our employees and the passion they have for our cause of strengthening community and positively impacting the health and well-being of all people on the First Coast.

Thank You

While COVID-19 has challenged us in many ways, it has not stopped us from serving our community at a time where we are needed most. We are thankful for all of our sustaining members and generous donors. They are helping the Y continue to support the critical needs of others in our community, including:

  • Supporting our health care workers and essential employees who needed emergency child care during the Spring and Summer
  • Preventing senior isolation by keeping our older adult members virtually engaged and connected despite this period of social distancing
  • Providing new ways to keep children and families safely connected through KidZone, Learning Labs, Sports, Camps and more

We remain committed to strengthening community and serving all. By supporting the Y, you help guarantee that everyone, regardless of their circumstances or ability to pay, can benefit from our values-centered programs. Our work will never stop and is only possible with support from our community.

Give Now

Closing our doors and creating distance between the people we serve was previously unimaginable for an organization like ours, one that is committed to bringing people and communities closer together. Yet, six months ago due to COVID-19, this became our reality. We are grateful our facilities are back open and…


September 14, 2020

Virtual SAT Boot Camp FREE for YMCA Teens

The First Coast YMCA is partnering with High School 9:12 to offer access to virtual Academic Bootcamps to First Coast YMCA high school members and participants. The online six-week boot camp will prepare students for the SAT. The evening classes will take place once a week beginning Sept. 24 ahead of the Nov. 7 SAT test date. Classes are available for students at Duval County Public Schools as well as First Coast YMCA members and participants in high school.

Starting its third year, the High School 9:12 Academic Boot Camps are designed to help academically successful students improve their college entrance exam scores. In the first two years, the average score increase on the SAT has been 250-300 points through the six-week program.

“Thanks to everyone’s best efforts, we are able to continue to provide the Academic Boot Camp program to the students not only in Duval County public schools, but also now to all First Coast YMCA members in high school,” said Alan Verlander, Executive Director Jacksonville High School 9:12. “High School 9:12 is built to make a lasting impact and we’ve seen so many students improve their test scores through these boot camps.  Having a partnership with the YMCA and now working to give their members a great benefit shows how the YMCA is truly dedicated to the entire person…just like High School 9:12.”

Members of the YMCA will have free access to the online, six-week boot camp for their high schoolers as an added benefit to their membership. First Coast YMCA high school members who do not have wifi access at home can contact their neighborhood YMCA about reserving a quiet space at the branch to complete the program.

“The First Coast YMCA is pleased to partner with High School 9:12 to bring a SAT/ACT Boot Camp to high school students, including our YMCA members, in Northeast Florida,” said Eric K. Mann, president and CEO of the First Coast YMCA. “As a leading community organization, we strive to nurture the potential of every youth by providing opportunities for them to learn, grow and thrive. Offering SAT and ACT preparation programs adds value for our current YMCA members and helps build greater educational equity for teens of all backgrounds across our community.”

The program schedule is as follows:

  • September 24 (SAT vs. ACT)
  • October 1 (Reading Content and Strategies)
  • October 8 (English Content and Strategies)
  • October 15 (Math Content and Strategies)
  • October 22 (Math/Calculator Strategies)
  • October 29 (Review final test taking strategies)

To find out more about the High School 9:12 program and the Academic Boot Camps, visit JaxHighSchool912.com.

If you are interested in participating in the program or would like to reserve space to the complete the program at the Y, please fill out this form:

The First Coast YMCA is partnering with High School 9:12 to offer access to virtual Academic Bootcamps to First Coast YMCA high school members and participants. The online six-week boot camp will prepare students for the SAT. The evening classes will take place once a week beginning Sept. 24 ahead…


August 24, 2020

Safe Space for Students

At the Y, you’ll find a safe space for students so they can remain active, learning and engaged.

With student safety top of mind as the new school year begins, the Y is working to take some of the worry away from busy parents. We’re offering a variety of options to help enhance your child’s academic achievement, whether they’ll be learning in the classroom or online.

Programs include:

Y Learning Labs is an alternative to distance learning from home. Children will complete their virtual assignments in their own quiet and safe work space at the Y. They will have access to WiFi and certified staff to help them navigate online curriculum.

“As an organization dedicated to youth development, the Y knows how important it is that our children have a safe and enriching environment for learning, both in and out of school,” said Maria Aristizabal, Vice President of Youth Development. “We are pleased to be able to provide multiple options to kids and families in our community, allowing their invaluable social, emotional, physical and academic growth to continue, while also giving a helping hand to parents dealing with new challenges because of this public health crisis.”

In addition to Y Learning Labs, students will have the opportunity to join Y Clubs, where they can get healthy social time with other kids while participating in enrichment centers. Centers include STEM, arts, physical activities and leadership development.

In order to help keep kids and staff healthy and safe throughout the school year, the Y is following CDC, state and local requirements and guidelines through extensive safety protocols, including:

  • Daily health screenings for children and staff
  • Mask requirements for children and staff
  • Reduced capacity in group activities
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of all areas and supplies used


Financial assistance is available to ensure every child and teen has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

Register for Y Learning Labs

Find a Before & Afterschool Site Near You

At the Y, you’ll find a safe space for students so they can remain active, learning and engaged. With student safety top of mind as the new school year begins, the Y is working to take some of the worry away from busy parents. We’re offering a variety of options…


June 24, 2020

Building Greater Health Equity on the First Coast

By Eric K. Mann
President and CEO, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast

In less than three months, our nation experienced two critical events that will forever change the trajectory of modern history.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the horrific, high-profile killings of black men and women in the last several weeks, have underscored the systemic racism and seismic health disparities that persist within our communities. The pandemic, which according to the CDC, has killed a disproportionate number of black men and women and put many more out of work, highlights the pronounced gaps in access to quality health care, education and economic opportunities.

Since the 1960s, urban planning mechanisms and policies have helped perpetuate a cycle of oppression by ensuring Jacksonville’s poorest communities lacked access to well-paying jobs, affordable housing, quality schools and accessible health and wellness resources. This cycle continues today. In communities across the United States, including here on the First Coast, it is easy to distinguish between areas that have benefitted from high levels of public and private investment over the years and those that have not. According to the Florida Department of Health and a 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment from UF Health Jacksonville, residents living in Health Zone 1 (the urban core and surrounding areas) experience high – if not the highest – levels of crime, infant-mortality, chronic disease, obesity and poverty. Over 76% of residents in Health Zone 1 are black.

While there are many historical and contextual factors that contribute to systemic oppression, the First Coast YMCA is keenly focused on ensuring health equity across every neighborhood. We want every resident to live their healthiest life regardless of what they look like, where they’re from and how much money they make.

But, the Y cannot do it alone. Community collaboration is critical to bridging the gap in health disparities that exist between zip codes. This is why the First Coast YMCA has partnered with our medical community to integrate medical and community health into a total wellness resource. For example, the Y has partnered with Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation, Flagler Health+, Florida Blue and UF Health to make a wide spectrum of services accessible to the surrounding community. A YMCA membership is not required and many of the services provided by on-site clinical professionals, including health screenings, are available at no cost.

We have six Healthy Living Centers locations across the First Coast with two more opening before the end of the year. Two of these centers, in partnership with Baptist Health, are located at the James Weldon Johnson Family YMCA and YMCA at Baptist North and reside in zip codes with majority black populations. Both centers work to address obesity, high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes.

Breaking down systemic racism and oppression is no easy feat. Tackling just one social issue won’t break the cycle. It will take all of us – First Coast residents, community leaders, businesses and elected officials – to have real conversations on how to create lasting change and ensure equal opportunities for every community.

We can start by looking beyond our own backyards and investing in the communities that need it most. The First Coast YMCA is ready to continue to be a willing partner in this journey to end health disparities.

For more than 110 years, the Y has been inspiring a brighter and healthier future for all in Northeast Florida. Our cause is strengthening community. No matter the challenges, we believe that together, we can and will create a better tomorrow for everyone who calls the First Coast home.

To make this time of racial reckoning more than a moment, Jacksonville must seek to understand how racism affects every aspect of daily life and is embedded in every system in our society. To that end, community leaders are speaking out on racial disparities across sectors, how they’re working to close them and what it will take to build a more just city. This article, published June 18, 2020 in the Florida Times-Union, is part of a series of columns.

Join the Conversation

June 27: World YMCA is hosting a global online event on June 27 at 10:00am to amplify the voices of young changemakers working to achieve a more just and inclusive world. The event is open to everyone, no matter age or status. The event will also be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube.

July 1: Register to join a virtual YMCA town hall meeting hosted by the African American YMCA CEOs that will explore the topic of unlearning systemic racism on Wednesday, July 1, from 11:00am – 3:00pm.

Start Your Individual Anti-Racism Journey

Learn: Take Harvard’s Implicit Association Test to assess where you are at in your anti-racist journey and begin taking courses around diversity, inclusion, and equity. This can include personal learning (books, movies, podcasts, etc.) or formal training.

By Eric K. Mann President and CEO, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast In less than three months, our nation experienced two critical events that will forever change the trajectory of modern history. The COVID-19 pandemic and the horrific, high-profile killings of black men and women in the last several weeks,…


May 2, 2020

Join the Water Watcher Challenge

The Water Watcher Pledge

I agree to:

  • actively watch children when they are in or near any body of water.
  • in an emergency, pull all children out of the water and call 911.
  • keep my eyes on the water.
  • avoid distractions.
  • help us spread the word.

JOIN THE WATER WATCHER CHALLENGE

Thursday, May 21, through Memorial Day, Monday, May 25

5 WINNERS will be chosen at random to receive a YMCA Water Safety Swag Bag. Winners announced May 31.

  • Download and print the YMCA Water Watcher Badge.
  • Take the Pledge to be a Water Watcher.
  • Take a photo holding your Water Watcher Badge and post on social media.
  • Tag and Challenge a Friend to pledge to be a Water Watcher, too.
  • Tag @FirstCoastYMCA and #WaterWatcher.

The Water Watcher Pledge I agree to: actively watch children when they are in or near any body of water. in an emergency, pull all children out of the water and call 911. keep my eyes on the water. avoid distractions. help us spread the word. JOIN THE WATER WATCHER…


April 17, 2020

Tiger Academy Teacher Honored with One-of-a-Kind Award

Congratulations to Tiger Academy English language arts teacher Edward Moore, one of four recipients of this year’s Gladys Prior Awards from the University of North Florida.

Moore teaches fifth-grade at Tiger Academy. He has spent 15 years developing rapport with students beyond graduation, attending events he is invited to by his students and serving as a mentor for teacher candidates. He is also a founding member of Brothers Accountable Driven and Determined (BADD).

Every year, the University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services has the privilege of recognizing deserving, local school teachers through this one-of-a-kind award. It’s among the largest monetary awards for teachers in the nation, with each teacher receiving $15,000.

Gilchrist Berg, a Jacksonville-area businessman and longtime YMCA supporter, established the awards in 1998 to honor his 4th grade teacher, Gladys Prior.  So far Berg has given over $2 million to honor Jacksonville teachers.

Teachers are nominated based on criteria including evidence of sustained inspiration to students, evidence of sustained teaching excellence and 10 or more years in the classroom.

This is the second time a Tiger Academy teacher has been selected to receive the award. In 2016, kindergarten teacher Susan Harper accepted the honor.

Through a unique partnership with the First Coast YMCA, Tiger Academy focuses on providing a nurturing learning environment while emphasizing rigorous learning academic standards, personal responsibility, character development, and strong family involvement.

Congratulations to Tiger Academy English language arts teacher Edward Moore, one of four recipients of this year’s Gladys Prior Awards from the University of North Florida. Moore teaches fifth-grade at Tiger Academy. He has spent 15 years developing rapport with students beyond graduation, attending events he is invited to by…


March 26, 2020

Here for the First Coast

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Y is providing critical services to frontline workers, families and our neighbors in need.

Whether it’s providing child care to health care providers or essential workers, staying connected with our wellness community through virtual fitness classes, providing virtual academic programming for kids and teens, or reaching out to our senior population to let them know they are not alone, we want to make sure our services are still available to all in this time of need.

Our Impact


Take a look at some of the stories about our community impact featured recently in the news:

May 13

May 9

May 1

April 27

April 2

March 26

March 24

March 23

March 20

Thank you for your continued support and loyalty to the Y. We can’t do this important work without your help. We will get through this together.

#staywithus

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Y is providing critical services to frontline workers, families and our neighbors in need. Whether it’s providing child care to health care providers or essential workers, staying connected with our wellness community through virtual fitness classes, providing virtual academic programming for kids and…


March 14, 2020

Coronavirus Updates

The safety and well-being of our staff, members, volunteers and guests is always the Y’s top priority. It is our social responsibility to do our part in the face of this unprecedented health emergency.

We are thrilled with Governor DeSantis’ announcement that gyms in Florida can reopen starting Monday. As we navigate through reopening our facilities across the First Coast, our team continues to put the needs, health and safety of our members and staff at the forefront of our decision-making process.

We serve many different populations, including our community’s most vulnerable, and are choosing to open in a phased approach. In order to properly prepare our branches for our nearly 48,000 members and train more than 850 employees on new safety guidelines, we will reopen Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day) from 7:00am-3:00pm. These are our regular holiday hours. Hours by branch will be announced soon.

While the Y will look very different with modified programs and new protocols, our commitment to strengthening this community will not. We can’t wait to welcome back our members and staff.

The Y will implement a three-phased approach to offer programs and services to members with appropriate guidance from health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Phases are not time-based and will be modified and revised as guidance changes.

At this time, the Y will expect members and staff to follow these guidelines:

  • Updated hours of operation will vary by branch, with time allotted for active older adults and vulnerable populations. Limited facility capacity and class size to meet social distancing guidelines. Reservations will be required for some programs and classes.
  • Upon return to work, Y staff (apart from lifeguards on active duty and Group Exercise instructors teaching class), must wear face masks during their shift.
  • All members and staff will have temperatures monitored upon entry into Y facilities and are required to practice social distancing.
  • Hand sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes for equipment will be provided throughout the facility.

New stringent cleaning and disinfecting protocols are also being implemented throughout all areas of Y facilities and program sites. The Y will only use cleaners on CDC List N: Disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

At this time, activities such as open gym, swim lessons and adult and/or youth sports will not be available, but will be considered in subsequent phases based on guidance from health officials. We will continue to provide LIVE virtual services to members through our Facebook page and On Demand workouts on YouTube.

We will continue you to update you with new information as we get closer to reopening day.

We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to our Ys!

Summer Camp

At this time, we are planning to hold Summer Day Camp at locations across the First Coast and overnight camp at Camp Immokalee beginning in June. We will be taking extra precautions to help decrease the spread of coronavirus which include limited capacity, temperature checks and daily health surveys. Registration is available online. If you have questions about Summer Day Camp, please call 904.265.1775. If you have questions about Camp Immokalee, please call 352.473.4213.

Child Care

We will continue to offer emergency child care services through May 29 to our health care community, first responders, members and participants in a very limited capacity at locations across the First Coast. We are taking extra precautions to help decrease the spread of the Coronavirus.

Youth Sports and Swim Team

At this time, we do not know when we will be able to resume Youth Sports or Swim Team safely. If you have questions, please contact us your branch.

Virtual Services

Our staff are continuing to work hard for you throughout this time to provide new virtual services and other offerings.

Your membership is so important to the good work that we have been doing for our First Coast community since 1908.

We ask that you continue to pay your membership fee so that we continue to provide necessary services for children, families and adults across the First Coast.

Click here for more details on our impact.

FAQs

Why did you decide to close?
The safety and well-being of our staff, members, volunteers and guests is always the Y’s top priority. As a community organization, it is our social responsibility to do our part in the face of this unprecedented health emergency. With new guidelines and mandates from health officials and government leaders, as well as guidance from key leadership on our Metro Board, we had to temporarily close all branches. This was a precautionary measure and we remain committed to helping keep the First Coast healthy and strong.

Can I place my membership on hold?
While we understand you may feel the need to place your membership on hold, we are encouraging all members to stay engaged with the First Coast YMCA during these uncertain times. The YMCA is committed to keeping this community strong and our First Coast Y staff will continue working to provide new virtual services and other offerings for our members.

Your membership fees during our closure may be converted to a charitable gift to support the Y. This gift is eligible for a tax receipt and you will be making a substantial difference in the lives of our neighbors all over the First Coast.

We will of course honor and respect all requests to hold memberships. If interested, please call 904.265.1775 and leave a voicemail with your contact information. Our staff is working remotely from 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday, and we will do our best to return your call within 48 hours during those times.

How can I get updates about the reopening of branches and programs?
Check our website often for updates, allow notifications from our mobile app and follow us on Facebook. We’ll also continue to send updates through email.

The safety and well-being of our staff, members, volunteers and guests is always the Y’s top priority. It is our social responsibility to do our part in the face of this unprecedented health emergency. We are thrilled with Governor DeSantis’ announcement that gyms in Florida can reopen starting Monday. As…