Last week, at our fifth annual Spotlight Gala, we announced the launch of our Barrie YMCA capital campaign – “100 Reasons Y” led by co-chairs, Brian Tamblyn and Anna Cheaney. The campaign will allow us to build a new YMCA community hub to better serve the people of Barrie and surrounding communities.
In addition to the recently announced $2.5 million in funding from the County of Simcoe, our goal is to raise another $10 million in community support through the 100 Reasons Y capital campaign. We are thrilled to announce that we have already received $4.4 million in support towards this goal.
For more than 100 years, the YMCA has been a community resource in Barrie that offers a number of crucial health, wellness and education programs. Data shows that Simcoe County has higher than provincial average rates of cardio-pulmonary disease and cancer, our youth have higher than average levels of mental health illness, and our youth homeless rates are disproportionately high based on demographics. A focus on prevention is needed to reverse the curve on these alarming trends.
The new Barrie Y will provide access to vital and innovative community programs and services that address these issues and many of the social determinants of health.
The new Barrie Y will be designed as a community hub
This new facility will be designed as a community hub that will house traditional YMCA health and fitness programs, an aquatic centre, licensed child care, youth outreach programs, community meeting spaces, an indoor playground and a public café. In partnership with Youth Haven, this facility will be home to Simcoe County’s first standalone transitional housing unit for youth. Our HUB will also work in partnership with RVH’s cardiovascular unit and the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre to provide much needed rehabilitation programs in a non-hospital setting.
To better support our youth who are suffering with mental health issues, we’ll also partner with local agencies to offer counselling services onsite, in a non-clinical setting. This new community hub will serve approximately 16,000 different people per year and through our financial assistance program, we’ll make it accessible to everyone. It will be a place for people from all walks of life to come together to gather and improve their quality of life.
This important work cannot happen without the infrastructure and partnerships that bring people together. With Barrie’s population set to increase by over 70 percent in the next 20 years, this investment in the downtown core is critical to meet the needs of our growing city. And, we need the support of our community to make this happen!
Support the YMCA’s 100 Reasons Y capital campaign
When you give to the YMCA, you are making an investment in the health and vitality of your community.
For more information about the 100 Reasons Y capital campaign and how you can get involved, please visit www.100ReasonsY.ca.
We want to hear from you! Tell us why you support the new Barrie YMCA using #100ReasonsY. Together, we can continue to build healthier communities today and for many generations to come!
Rob Armstrong is President and CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka; focused on investing in communities, ensuring all people have access to the Y and implementing programs that are helping thousands of youth and families to learn and thrive. Prior to joining the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka in 2011, Rob held senior leadership positions at the YMCA of Edmonton, YMCA of Owen Sound, YMCA of Cambridge and most recently YMCA Ontario. Rob holds an Honours degree in Physical and Health Education from Queen’s University and has since augmented his education with advanced courses from the Harvard Business School of Entrepreneurship, Ivy School of Business and Queen’s University Executive Education Program.
Since coming to Simcoe/Muskoka, Rob has taken an active leadership role in the Child, Youth and Family Services Coalition of Simcoe County and Barrie’s Pathways to end homelessness. He served on a number of boards including local Community Foundations, Affordable Housing, Parks and Recreation Ontario and the Minister of Health Promotions Health Advisory Committee.