Areas of Focus

Washington County, Iowa faces new challenges that create a greater need than ever for the work we do every day. Fortunately, where some see obstacles, we see opportunities for our members, volunteers and staff to make a difference. Our core values are Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.


Youth Development

To ensure youth and teens realize their potential to become active, engaged, and thriving members of the community, we will nurture their social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development through youth programming, which provides fitness and educational support, positive experiences and a network of support. Our desired outcomes and benchmarks:

We will champion youth development through high impact programs that change lives.

  • A full-size gym will provide an opportunity to develop programs like the Hardwood Academy that will be offered in the summer of 2017 at the Wellman branch. This program brings together experienced local basketball coaches and some of their experienced players to develop the skills of younger players, providing a leadership opportunity for teens and development opportunities for preteens. Additional sports programming could include indoor soccer and archery, and innovative programs that target youth creativity and confidence (i.e. dance, social events) will be an option for this space. The current facility is not able to accommodate this type of programming.

We will champion youth programs that demonstrate improvement in skills needed for success in academic proficiency.

  • A designated youth room in conjunction with use of a multipurpose room, classrooms and green space will provide opportunities for youth to participate in programs for recreation and cognitive enrichment. The Y Read Program, a partnership program with the Washington Community School District, is a great example of this activation. The district selects grade school aged students that will benefit from additional reading instruction during the summer months and the Y provides physical activities that develop teamwork. The current facility has limited space for coordination of all components of this program, utilizing racquetball courts for classrooms, hallways for individualized instruction and multiple sites for physical activity, some of which are off-site.

We will develop youth indoor sports leagues that create a welcoming atmosphere for children of all skill levels to participate regardless of the ability to pay.

  • A full-size gym with an area for spectators and areas for teams to camp out when they are not playing will provide the opportunity for youth sports tournaments and skills camps to be held where youth develop their skills and learn about teamwork. The tournaments bring in other teams from around the area to apply these skills at a practical level. Many youth cannot afford the cost of traveling teams. These tournaments give them the opportunity to have the same experience regardless of their economic background. The current facility is not able to accommodate this type of programming.

Healthy Living

To improve the overall health of the community, we will seek a collaborative community approach that emphasizes prevention of chronic disease, obesity and isolation that often leads to a breakdown of emotional well-being. Our desired outcomes and benchmarks:

We will seek collaborations to launch programs that address common risk factors associated with chronic disease for people of all ages.

  •  A multi-purpose room, classrooms and indoor walking track will ensure that programs combating chronic disease can continue to be developed and expanded to support people of all ages and a variety of health needs. The Healthy Living Link program partners Y staff and facilities with a nutrition expert and professional physical therapist to develop individualized programs for persons with specific health concerns. Programs like this will have the capacity to expand into group offerings, educational seminars focusing on disease prevention and nutrition, and fitness challenges for all ages.

We will further develop wellness programs for all age levels to enable our members to achieve their goals, and because our classes are included in the price of membership, cost will not be a barrier to health.

  • Classroom spaces that are designed for division will expand the capacity of class size and options, allowing multiple classes to run at the same time or expanding for one larger class. Since the beginning of 2017, the Y has been offering group exercise classes at no additional cost to our members. Currently the majority of our classes are at maximum capacity due to space or equipment limitations. There has also been an increase in participation by younger adults and active older adults.
  • The green space surrounding the facility will allow for multiple new programming options, including outdoor boot camps, running programs, walking clubs, flag football, horseshoes, etc. to be offered in close proximity to the facility where locker rooms are available. Current boot camps are provided at an off-site location when Iowa weather allows.
  • A dedicated area for child watch will enable more parents of young children to participate in wellness programs while utilizing supervised childcare.
  • A full-size gymnasium that can be divided will allow for additional classes for youth or adults to be offered while still allowing members access to a portion of the courts for pick-up basketball or volleyball.

We will develop additional programs focused on active older adults that combine physical wellness with socialization.

  • An expanded lobby area and dedicated open senior area on the main level, close to the lobby, will give seniors an opportunity to connect with other members and will be more accessible for those with mobility concerns. This area will allow seniors to gather for pool, cards or just coffee and conversation in the central hub of the facility. Current senior wellness classes are offered on the third floor of the facility, isolated from the majority of the activity in the rest of the building.
  • The walking track will allow for the development of a senior walking program that will give the participants a chance to set their own goals and work towards them year round.
  • The Phase II aquatics amenities (6-lane pool, sauna & hot tub) will expand the aquatics programs through additional space and efficiency. Potential program expansion could include additional classes, more opportunities for individual swim lessons, recreational swimming schedules, family swim opportunities and hosting competitive swim team meets. In addition, the expanded aquatics department will allow greater opportunity to teach life-saving skills to prevent drowning for those who are most at risk.

Social Responsibility

To foster social connections and encourage investment in our community, we will establish partnerships to engage people from our diverse population and adapt programs and services to the changing demographics of our community. Our desired outcomes and benchmarks:

We will seek collaborations to launch programs that cultivate increased community involvement to address the needs of the community.

  • The new facility has many options for expanding engagement within our community while providing a safe and nurturing environment for youth and teens during out of school time. The current facility does not allow us to further develop these critical programs.
  • The multipurpose room can serve as a tutoring center for volunteers to connect with youth that need extra encouragement to achieve their goals.
  • The dividable classrooms and gymnasium allow for additional exercise class options, designed for youth, to be developed to reduce the amount of “screen time” while not at school.

We will develop volunteer based initiatives to connect persons of all ages, reducing social isolation and disconnectedness.

  • The multipurpose room will serve as the meeting space for local service clubs that provide funds and services that meet critical community needs such as blood drives, to gifts at the holidays for needy families and school supplies for needy youth in the community.
  • Updated locker rooms will improve safety, increase capacity and add functional efficiencies, i.e. private shower and changing areas and designated adult and family areas.