Hidden gem result of aquatic construction project

With so many inquiries swirling about the details of the Aquatic Center construction, the one aspect of the project that is virtually unknown and so incredibly exciting is our new Drop-In Child Care Center.

The Drop-In Child Care Center is a licensed center that serves children 6 weeks old to 7 years old.

This is the first Y program for our youngest members. While a parent uses the Y facility, children can stay in the Drop-In Center for up to 2 hours a day, five days a week.

Our staff have CPR/First Aid, extensive back grounds checks and over 16 hours of infant and early childhood development training annually.

The new center will almost double the size and capacity of the current center. One of the most exciting amenities to the center is the child-size bathrooms located within the room.

While this may not seem like the most exciting feature — if you have ever potty trained a child this is a true blessing!

Another exciting feature is added security with a buzz-in only entrance to ensure our most precious members are safe and sound.

New, clean and bright with lots of natural light; it is so exciting to offer such a wonderful place for parents to leave their children, often for the first time. 

Construction update:

  • Windows installed including around the slide
  • Tile complete in the public bathrooms and women’s gold locker room
  • Both pools fully tiled
  • Cabinetry installed throughout
  • Lights installed including the awesome lobby spherical lights
  • Doors installed from the new construction in Gym 2 and 3 completed
  • Lockers installed in all five locker rooms
  • Statue installed outside
  • Climbing wall and all three slides installed
  • Pools are scheduled to be filled the first week of December and the boilers started


Legacy, growth of Sheridan County YMCA a community effort

The Sheridan County YMCA will have reached another milestone in its 55-year history with the completion of the Sheridan Community Aquatic Center. The Y has a long and interesting history in the county. 

Early history

In March of 1959, Homer A. Scott convinced the Sheridan Rotary Club to appoint a committee to study the feasibility of a Y in Sheridan. A special committee conducted a survey, which indicated the need for a YMCA in Sheridan. There was some concern as to whether a community the size of Sheridan could support a YMCA. Two men from the YMCA office in Chicago spent about a week observing and evaluating our community. They concluded that there was a need for an organization in Sheridan that could provide “a community center for youth, adults and families where wholesome activities and relationship could be had.”

The Sheridan County YMCA was organized and incorporated in June 1959. There were 198 active members as of June 19, 1959. Many of these families continue to this day to support the Y through membership and annual giving.

The Y was fortunate to have outstanding men on its board in the early formative years: Homer A. Scott and Donald H. Roberts. These men saw a need in the community they believed could be met through the Y. Their legacy continues with both families still very connected to the work of the Y.

Bill McCartney was hired as the first executive director.  Initially, office space for the newly formed YMCA was provided in the old Sheridan Press building on Main Street.  Physical programs took place at the public school gymnasiums. There were also some social programs for youth.

The Y soon needed more space. Pud Hutton, a Y board member, owned the old telephone building located at Brooks and Brundage Streets where the First Federal Saving Bank drive-in facility is now located. The YMCA made a deal with Hutton to use the building at very little cost. It housed the executive director and program staff. Social programs were held in this building while physical programs continued to run at the college and public school gyms.


The building

In the fall of 1962, it was apparent the Y needed a building of its own if it was going to be able to expand its service to the community. A capital campaign was conducted with over 1,300 individuals contributing to the $450,000 campaign.  In December of 1962, the Y and Whitney Benefits, Inc. came to an agreement for consideration of a joint building project.  They moved into the Jefferson Street building Oct. 16, 1964. 


Recognizing growth opportunities and needs 

From the start, the Y had the enthusiastic support from the community as well as a strong board of directors made up of fine people from many segments of the community. Excellent staff and volunteers were able to provide excellent programs.   There have been a number of additions to the original building and programs. These additions include:

  • Capital fund campaign in summer of 1979 raised over $1 million. Construction of a second gym, racquetball courts, upstairs studio, women’s locker area and weight facility were added, increasing the overall facility size by 50%. Construction was completed in April of 1981.
  • A second pool, the Scott Pool, was completed in July of 1985.
  • Soccer field expansion was completed in 1992.


Project 2000 included:

  • Expanding the Youth and Activity Center by 3,000 square feet
  • Expanding the Strength and Cardio Center by 7,000 square feet
  • Adding an Aerobic Gym space
  • Adding 7,000 square feet with Gym 3
  • February 2008, the Y purchased the former Pines above Buffalo and established the first and only Y resident camp in Wyoming. Camp Roberts continues to grow in both facility and programs.


The work of many

Many people contribute to the development of the Sheridan County YMCA. This past year, the Y enjoyed the rewards of over 7,000 hours of volunteer time. This includes over 120 faithful individuals that are active in our Give Your Heart to a Child annual campaign.

In addition to our Y Board and Committees, volunteers are also active in such programs as swimming, day care,   summer camp, soccer, basketball, volleyball, arts and numerous other activities. The Y is strengthened through the work of these dedicated people.


Staff revisits long-term strategic plan

At least every five years, the Sheridan County YMCA Board of Directors carve out focused time to think about “the big picture.” Board members review the organization’s achievements and create a new set of goals to guide efforts for the next five years.

One of most important parts of these strategic sessions is revisiting and re-affirming who the YMCA is as an organization and why it serves the community.

In the spring of 2018, during one of these sessions, the YMCA created a goal to create a process that ensures every child in the county receives swim lessons. The “how” is still undetermined, but the “why” is very clear. Water safety is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and youth in the community deserve to be comfortable, confident and capable in all water fronts. With a new aquatic center on the horizon, there is no better time to pursue this goal. Stay tuned for our progress and let the YMCA know if you are interested in helping us make this a reality.


Clearing up myths of membership

There are a few frequent, unfortunate and long standing myths about the Y that echo in our community. Some of these myths or assumptions are long held and have prevented individuals from learning more about how the Y could benefit them and their families.

Please help us debunk these myths so that everyone in our community can enjoy the benefits of the Y facility and programs. Below are three of the most common misstatements and some information you could pass along.

Myth 1: I cannot afford to be a Y member.

We want everyone in our community to know that a Y membership is available no matter your income. It is incredibly easy to get financial aid based on your unique situation. With only one form to fill out we can process financial aid for your individual, family or youth membership.

If you check one box on that same form we can also provide scholarships for your programs and your children’s programs including swimming, sports and camp. No additional asking, paper work or strings attached. Not only do we take into consideration an individual’s monthly income but also factors like medical and other situational conditions that cause financial barriers.

Myth 2: The Y facility and programs are only for members.

If someone is not ready to commit to a monthly membership, the Sheridan County YMCA offers daily fees and five-visit passes. Not every Y in the nation has a daily fee option but it is important in our community to provide multiple avenues of usage of our facility. These daily rates are carefully crafted to stay reasonably priced and are the same price or more affordable than community recreation centers in the region.

In addition to our daily passes: we also offer all of our programs to everyone in the community with no membership requirement. Many youth participate in our swim lessons, camps and youth sports without ever having a membership.

Myth 3: My membership dues are about to sky rocket to pay for the new pool and facility addition.

The short answer is membership rates will not be raised in association with the opening of the Aquatic Center. Here is how that is possible: Our capital projects and our operating budget (which includes membership income) are in two separate financial “plates,” if you will.

Our construction project is generously funded by over 700 hundred community members and community partners. With this incredible support, membership dues will not be used to pay for the construction or opening costs.

Our membership rates are thoughtfully reviewed and adjusted on a biannual schedule. We have followed this process for decades to gradually increase our rates and to never have a noticeable “hike” in our dues. We are very sensitive.


Note: This post was sponsored and prepared by the Sheridan County YMCA. If you would like to sponsor content, email marketing@thesheridanpress.com.