Monroe YMCA hosting fun run, free weekends

The Monroe YMCA hosted the Monroe Chamber of Commerce last week, inviting chamber members to see the facility and learn more about the Y's mission. Membership director Jamie Williams gave a presentation highlighting the Y's history, its role in the Monroe community and two special October events.
Registration is ongoing for the Y's seventh annual Sky Valley Classic family fun run, which takes place 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, in the 100 block of Main Street. Costumes are encouraged at the event, which features a 1-mile run/walk, and a 5-K and 10-K fun run. The 10-K course is meant to highlight Monroe's vibrant parks system, and winds through Sky River, Lewis and Al Borlin parks.
The 1-mile course is dog- and stroller-friendly, and awards will be given to the top racers. The event includes a costume contest.
Community members can try the Y for free during the last two weekends in October, which highlights a promotional offer that allows families to join without signing a contract or paying sign-up fees.
Williams said the Monroe YMCA celebrated seven years of being an integral part of the Monroe community this year. In addition to being an athletic center and licensed childcare provider, the Monroe YMCA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of the community it serves.
The YMCA first came to the United States in 1851. In addition to providing a safe community for young people, YMCA instructors were innovators. It was a YMCA instructor named James Naismith who, in 1891, invented the game of basketball. Naismith, who worked at the YMCA Training School in Massachusetts, was tasked with creating a sport that students could enjoy during the winter months. The first game was played using peach baskets and a soccer ball.
"At the time, it was two peach containers that were nailed to a board,GÇ¥ Williams said. "They played basketball and every single time someone made a basket, they literally had to stop the game, get the ladder out, get the basketball out and do it again.GÇ¥
The Y also invented volleyball, said Williams.
"People really loved basketball, but they were looking for something that was maybe a little less strenuous, and that's when the Y came up with volleyball,GÇ¥ Williams said. "The Y was responsible for both of those sports.GÇ¥
Although the YMCA has changed over the years, Williams said the founding principles have remained the same. The YMCA works on a holistic level by promoting a healthy lifestyle, while also encouraging positive traits like honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. She shared the YMCA of Snohomish County's mission statement, which is "to inspire, nurture and strengthen culturally vibrant communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.GÇ¥
The Monroe YMCA provides group exercise classes, including yoga, Zumba, group cycle, kick boxing and Pilates. It also offers a wide variety of youth sports programs, including karate, dance, T-ball, soccer, baseball, basketball, flag football and gymnastics.
"The YMCA sports programs are unique because we teach kids to be their best selves. Get on the field, do your best, that's all we ask, that's all we teach,GÇ¥ Williams said. "Every single child at every single age is great.GÇ¥
The Y features a Youth Development Center (YDC), which is a haven for teens. The YDC features a pool table, foosball, video games, computers and arts and crafts. The Y provides parenting classes, summer camp, early childhood education and a youth and government program.
"We have helped families redefine family fun time,GÇ¥ Williams said.
The YMCA specializes in swimming, and has a broad selection of aquatic programming.
"The YMCA has taught hundreds, if not thousands upon thousands, of children to swim, and I'm not talking nationwide; I'm talking right here in Monroe,GÇ¥ Williams said. "The YMCA brings families together.GÇ¥
The YMCA has one of Snohomish County's largest adaptive programs, said Williams, which provides athletic opportunities for kids with special needs. In addition to adaptive baseball with the Y's Miracle League, it has a program called Special Kids in Play (SKIP), which enables youth with special needs to play sports, learn to cook and do arts and crafts.
"We have SKIP basketball program for kids to come and play basketball, right here in our facility,GÇ¥ Williams said. "It's magical.GÇ¥
The Y also offer the Special Needs Aquatics Program (SNAP), which provides special needs kids with swimming lessons at a discounted rate. Every Sunday, the Y offers free swimming to anybody with special needs, Williams said, regardless of membership.
"The YMCA really strives to create an environment of trust, of support and of encouragement,GÇ¥ Williams said. "We work very hard on focusing on meeting our members exactly where they're at.GÇ¥
Being a nonprofit, the YMCA has a robust volunteer program and relies on donations to continue its programs. Last year, Williams said the Monroe YMCA raised more than $160,000, all of which stayed in the community. She pointed out the YMCA is not backed by large corporations that donate hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"I'm talking about people like you and like me who give back, and they give back through the Y, because they believe that we make a difference in our community every single day,GÇ¥ Williams said.
The Monroe YMCA participates in Monroe, Williams said. YMCA staff attended Monroe's Easter egg hunt, Movies under the Moon, the Health Fair at EvergreenHealth Monroe, Swift Night Out, National Night Out, the Monroe Fair Days Parade and the Polar Plunge. YMCA staff are a part of the Monroe Rotary Club and the Monroe Community Coalition.
"The YMCA is a part of our community. We are everywhere you are,GÇ¥ Williams said. "The bottom line is that you need a Y to spell community.GÇ¥
For more information on the Monroe YMCA, to make a donation or inquire about membership, visit: and the Facebook page at-á by Jim Scolman Last yearGÇÖs Sky Valley Classic participants braved rainy weather as they ran, walked and rolled down Main Street dressed in their best Halloween garb.


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