In The News


First Merchants Charitable Foundation Supports Baxter YMCA

Johnson County Daily Journal, 7/10/2015

The Baxter YMCA recently received $2,000 from First Merchants Charitable Foundation to help support their youth programs.

Bike-in Breakfast

The Indy Star, 7/10/2015

The Indy Bike Hub YMCA has been hosting its Bike-in Breakfast all summer. This program is held on the third Friday of each month and has been a great incentive to encourage individuals to bike to work. Those who participate in the program receive free breakfast, bicycle parking and a nice shower before work.

Father’s Day – A Tradition Started at the YMCA

Press Release, 6/17/2015

More than a century ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd aspired to create a holiday to honor fathers. Dodd, the daughter of a single father and Civil War veteran, was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon and wondered why there was no holiday for fathers. After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Wash., her idea came to fruition with the first Father’s Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.

On Sunday, June 21, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis joins the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the impact fathers and adult male role models make in children’s lives. Nationally, one out of three children lives in a home without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Additionally, societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect fathers’ ability to seek support in strengthening their parenting skills and more fully engaging in the lives of their children. A leading nonprofit in fostering positive youth development, the Y remains dedicated to providing resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.  

“Father’s Day is about celebrating dad, but also recognizing the importance of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers and adult male role models,” said Eric Ellsworth, President/CEO, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. “Father’s Day reminds us why it’s important to provide fathers with the support they need to be the best parents and caregivers they can be.”

Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use. 

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis offers a variety of programs that foster understanding and companionship between children and their caregivers such as:

  • Family Nights – held once a month at all YMCAs to encourage families to spend time together. Activities may include family group exercise sessions, game nights, swimming, movies, crafts and more.
  • Parent/Child Swim Lessons – Parents are given guidance on how to develop their children’s abilities and how to protect their children from harm in, on, and around the water; children are given the chance to explore a new environment and to build skills that add to their self-confidence. Both benefit from taking part in an experience that lets them learn and have fun together in the water.
  • Healthy Kids Day – held annually and provides fun and educational resources to help families maintain a healthier lifestyle.
  • Youth Sports – provides children with the basic skills and education for a variety of sports. Coaches are usually parents who volunteer their time for the entire season.
  • Family Camps – These camps are held annually at Flat Rock River YMCA in St. Paul, Indiana. They are a perfect opportunity for your entire family to get away and have fun together! Your family will stay together in a cabin, share great meals, join in activities or relax on your own. Our Family Camps are extremely popular, have been featured in “Budget Traveller Magazine” and are routinely wait-listed!

In communities across Greater Indianapolis, the Y is committed to ensuring that children and teens in YMCA programs reach their full potential by helping them grow—physically, mentally and socially—from young children into active, engaged members of their communities. To learn more about programs and activities available at the Y, visit or contact your local YMCA center.

Sneak Peek of New CityWay YMCA

Indy Star, 6/11/2015

WRTV Ch. 6 News, 6/11/2015

WISH TV Ch. 8 News, 6/11/2015

WTHR Ch. 13 News, 6/11/2015

Fox 59 News, 6/11/2015

WTTV Ch. 4 News, 6/11/2015

The Y invited local media to a hard hat tour of its new CityWay YMCA on June 10. The project is 65% completed and will open in mid-December 2015.

YMCA Names CityWay Executive Director

Press Release, 6/3/2015

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has named Chris Butler executive director of the CityWay YMCA. The $24 million, 87,000-square-foot Y is set to open in mid-December as part of CityWay, a 14-acre neighborhood at Delaware, South, Alabama and Louisiana streets in Downtown Indianapolis.

A YMCA employee since 2002, Butler moved to the area to serve as executive director of the Jordan YMCA. Most recently, he led the Fishers YMCA as executive director while also serving as VP of operations for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.

“CityWay is in good hands under Chris’ leadership,” said Eric J. Ellsworth, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. “He has demonstrated that he knows what makes a YMCA successful: understanding and meeting the needs of the community you serve.”

Read more…

YMCA Launches Safety Around Water Program

Press Release, 5/29/2015

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has launched its Safety Around Water, a program to engage and educate parents about the importance of water safety skills and provide more of America’s youth access to water safety lessons.

According to data from the USA Swimming Foundation, 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children. While fatal drowning is a concern for all children – it’s the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages one to 14 years old – African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts.

Through Safety Around Water, parents and caregivers will be encouraged to help their children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills. During the four-day course, children will learn how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations — from how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water.  Read more…

YMCA Outdoor Pools Open May 23rd

Press Release, 5/20/2015

Fox 59 News, 5/19/2015

As swim season approaches, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis encourages children and parents to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind. In the Y’s swim programs, participants can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives. 

“Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity for children and adults alike, and it’s an easy way to stay physically active and improve strength, flexibility and stamina,” said Kim Newnam, Associate Executive Director, Benjamin Harrison YMCA. “The Y is committed to providing as many opportunities as possible for everyone to swim and learn water safety practices.” 

As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the Y recommends children and adults practice the following safety tips when in and around the water:  Read more…

Top 10 Coalition Highlights Success

Press Release, 5/19/2015

Indy Star, 5/19/2015

Central Indiana Hoosiers are growing weary of ranking low in health and fitness indicators.  Improved personal well-being, combined with the desire to advocate for public transit, more parks and greenways, and pedestrian plans round out the agenda of the Top 10 Coalition.  The American Fitness Index Report (AFI) annual report was released today and ranked Indianapolis as the 50th healthiest city in the country.  The 2015 AFI data report uses revised methods from the first seven full-edition reports released from 2008 to 2014. Five new variables, including each community’s Walk Score ranking, have been added or modified in the last two years.  Additionally, for the first time, the MSA was modified to include the additional population of Madison County.  Consequently, the ACSM advises that comparisons of scores, sub-scores and rankings for 2015 should not be made with earlier AFI reports.

“The coalition is grateful to the AFI for providing important community level health information. It is our hope that the indicators presented in this report will provide the guidance our community needs to collectively improve health outcomes here in Central Indiana” says, Eric Ellsworth, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.  “Top 10 is actively engaging partners who are striving to improve the health status and environmental support for health behaviors.   As evidenced by the report, it is clear that Central Indiana should pay special attention to the built environment and the impact it has on residents’ access to care, better nutrition and engagement in physical activity.

Read more…

Avondale Meadows YMCA & Child Care Answers Hosts Early Childhood Conference

Press Release 5/12/2015

WHAT: Indianapolis area child care providers are invited to attend the Early Childhood Community Providers Conference to learn the best practices in child care and lessons on how to partner with families.

WHEN: May 16, 2015

8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center, 2820 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis


The Avondale Meadows YMCA Early Learning Center and Child Care Answers is hosting its Early Childhood Community Providers Conference for area childcare providers. The one-day conference is targeting providers who work in unlicensed and licensed home daycare centers, child care ministries, half day preschools and child care aides.

Research shows that providing a high quality education for children before they turn five yields significant long-term benefits. One well-known study, the HighScope Perry Preschool Study, found that individuals who were enrolled in a quality preschool program ultimately earned up to $2,000 more per month than those who were not. Young people who were in preschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school, to own homes, and have longer marriages.

This conference will consist of a variety of topics such as nutrition, summer activities for kids, physical fitness, child abuse prevention and more.

“We are thankful to the Lilly Endowment for helping us to provide this conference for the community,” said Ikeia Prince, Early Childhood Director, Avondale Meadows YMCA. “We plan to share valuable information with the attendees that they will be able to implement immediately with their children and families.”

For additional information about the Y’s Early Childhood Community Providers Conference, please contact Ikeia Prince at 317.549.9622.

Cyclist to Participate in Bike to Work Day Celebration at Indy Bike Hub Y

Press Release, 5/11/2015

WHAT: The Y is joining with other cycle initiatives to invite the community to participate in Bike To Work Day Festivities including: bike trains leaving from around the city, complimentary breakfast, bike blessings, all day bike parking and shower access, a presentation by Mayor Ballard, commuter lunch & learn, happy hour & more.

 WHEN: May 15, 2015

 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (group bike rides to depart at 6:30 a.m.)

WHERE: Indy Bike Hub YMCA, 242 E. Market St., Indianapolis


More than 1,600 cyclist are expected to participate in this year’s Bike to Work Day. Bike trains will depart from each location, including two other YMCA locations, the Jordan YMCA in Nora and the Benjamin Harrison YMCA in Lawrence, at 6:30 a.m. and end downtown at the Indy Bike Hub YMCA for free breakfast, coffee and complimentary bike parking. Additional events for the day include:

7:55 a.m.  Mayor Ballard and other local leaders will make a special presentation about Bike to Work Day at the Indy Bike Hub YMCA

8:20 a.m. Blessing of the Bikes (Rabbi Aaron Spiegel & Rev. Steve Carlsen)

12 p.m. CIBA (Central Indiana Bicycle Association) will offer a free bike commuter lunch-and-learn session at the Indy Bike Hub YMCA

 4 p.m. IndyCog will offer a Happy Hour Fundraiser at the City Market

 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Group riders depart for home

 7 p.m.  Complimentary bike parking expires at the Indy Bike Hub

About the Indy Bike Hub YMCA

The Indy Bike Hub YMCA seeks to encourage the city of Indianapolis to engage in healthier habits. With indoor bike lockers, showers and a full workout facility, the Bike Hub provides a convenient location to those who choose to commute to work by bicycle. The Bike Hub YMCA also partners with local cycling initiatives to create awareness and knowledge surrounding cycling and commuting to work by bike. The Bike Hub features a Bike and Shower Membership for bicycle commuters at a rate of $27/mo. For more information about the Bike Hub YMCA please visit, and select Indy Bike Hub YMCA under the Center tab.

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YMCA MISSION: to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.
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    The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis works closely with local television, radio and newspapers to address issues that concern all in our community.

    If you are a reporter working on a story, please contact:

    Tangela Floyd

    Director of Public Relations and Communications
    Phone: 317.713.8541
    Fax: 317.266.2845

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    Take a few moments each day to think about a time when your faith helped you obtain success, got you through a difficult time or is helping you deal with a current situation.