Greater Scranton YMCA Sets Kids Up for a Healthy Start to the Summer at Healthy Kids Day

The Greater Scranton YMCA is hosting the Y’s annual Healthy Kids Day® on May 11 from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. located at 706 North Blakely Street in Dunmore. This free, annual event features a variety of family-friendly activities to encourage healthy kids, healthy families and a healthy start to the summer season.

Sponsored nationally by Peanuts, Healthy Kids Day’s mission is to turn fun and play into lifelong memories. Some featured activities include a Kids Fun Run, vendor fair, bounce houses, face painting, entertainment, refreshments and more. The event is open to the community and registration is not required.

“It is so important for kids to stay active over the summer, both physically and mentally,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “At the Y, we believe in providing resources for families to create healthy habits, no matter the time of year. Healthy Kids Day is a fun, free communitywide event that encourages families to take advantage of all the great summer activities the Y has to offer.”

Locally, Healthy Kids Day is sponsored by Community Bank, Rainey & Rainey, NET Credit Union, Topp Business Solutions, Matrix, Cal Mal Vending Services and Brucelli Advertising.

Kids Fun Run schedule (free and registration is not required!):
10:30-10:40 a.m. – Ages 3-5
10:45-10:55 a.m. – Ages 6-9
11:00-11:10 a.m. – Ages 10-14
*Located outside in the back of the facility.

For more information about Healthy Kids Day, including reserving a table at the vendor fair or for sponsorship opportunities, contact Brandon Whipple, Senior Program Director, at (570) 828-3116 or bwhipple@gsymca.org.

Harry McGrath Memorial Golf Tournament Benefits the Greater Scranton YMCA

On Monday, March 18th the McGrath family presented the Greater Scranton YMCA with an $18,000 donation, which represents proceeds from the 4th Annual Harry P. McGrath Memorial Golf Tournament. The tournament was held on September 15, 2023, at Glen Oak Country Club.

Tournament proceeds will support the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program, Summer Scholars. Summer Scholars is a free research-based and research-proven six-week summer learning program. The goal of the program is to get elementary students on track to read at or above grade level by the start of their next school year. In summer 2024, the program will serve rising first, second and third grade students attending the Dunmore and Mid Valley School Districts.

Participants’ days consist of 2.5 hours of literacy in the morning followed by lunch and enrichment in the afternoon. Enrichment activities include field trips, as well as trips to the Greater Scranton YMCA for use of the pools. The program is instructed by certified teachers and YMCA staff.

“We are happy to provide support to the Y’s Summer Scholars program,” said Betsy McGrath Ardizoni, Board Member, Greater Scranton YMCA, and daughter of the late Harry P. McGrath, Esq. “Our dad believed in the importance of children receiving the necessary tools to succeed in school, and this program does just that.”

The Scranton Area Community Foundation administers the Harry P. McGrath, Esq. Memorial Fund, established in May 2022 by Harry’s family to support the charitable causes and organizations important to him including the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Summer Loss Prevention Program.

“The Greater Scranton YMCA is so grateful to the McGrath family for their continued support of our YMCA and our Summer Scholars Program,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “The generosity of tournament participants and sponsors continues to amaze us. This funding makes such an impact on the lives of the children benefitting from Summer Scholars and supports our mission of keeping the program free for families.”

For more information about Summer Scholars, contact Helen Cruser, Education Director, at hcruser@gsymca.org. For more information about the Harry P. McGrath Memorial Golf Tournament, contact Betsy McGrath Ardizoni at ecm0588@gmail.com.

Greater Scranton YMCA Receives Grant from Local Foundation

Funding will support the inclusion of STEM equipment and supplies in to the YMCA’s Early Childhood Education Department.

In 2023, the Greater Scranton YMCA was awarded a $16,244 grant from AllOne Charities. Grant funding will support the inclusion of STEM equipment and educational materials in the YMCA’s Early Childhood Education Department.

The addition of STEM equipment and activities into the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Early Childhood Education curriculum will allow staff to make a greater educational impact on the growing number of children we serve. Through exposing young children to STEM activities and initiatives early in life, the groundwork will begin being laid, helping children enter kindergarten with a broader knowledge base and the tools and resources needed for success.

“We are so grateful to AllOne Charities for this generous grant award,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “Enrollment in early learning programs continues to grow. We are so proud to provide the children in our care with access to daily opportunities to engage in STEM activities, as exposure to STEM initiatives is a critical component to academic success.”

For more information about the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Early Childhood Education Department, contact Tressa Parker, Education Director, at tparker@gsymca.org or visit the YMCA online at www.greaterscrantonymca.org.

Greater Scranton YMCA to Open Second Early Learning Center

In April 2024, the Greater Scranton YMCA will open its second Early Learning Center. The 6,300 square foot center is located at 1015 Underwood Road in Olyphant and is licensed to serve up to 125 children ages zero through five.

The need for child care services in our community is great. Enrollment in the Greater Scranton YMCA’s early childhood education programs has grown from 209 in January, 2023 to 244 children in January, 2024. These children are enrolled in full and partial day early childhood education programs, as well as before and after school care. Of the 244 children enrolled, 92 are receiving financial assistance. The department is at maximum capacity, with a waitlist full at 150 kids.

While the YMCA has begun its early childhood education expansion project to renovate the second floor of its facility in Dunmore to create three new classrooms, a need for services still exists. This year, YMCA leaders signed a lease for an additional facility located in Olyphant. The YMCA is renovating the facility, updating eight classrooms and adding outdoor play equipment.

“As always, the Greater Scranton YMCA will adapt its programs and services to meet the needs of our community,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “The opening of our second Early Learning Center will allow our YMCA to make a substantial impact on the great need for childcare services in our community.”

The Early Learning Center in Olyphant is estimated to open on April 2 9, 2024. For families
interested in enrolling their child(ren) and for more information, contact Tressa Parker, Education Director at the Greater Scranton YMCA, at tparker@gsymca.org.

Greater Scranton YMCA Education Director Named 30 Under 30

The Greater Scranton YMCA would like to congratulate Tressa Parker, Education Director, for recently being named as a 30 Under 30 YMCA award winner.

The 30 Under 30 award was debuted in 2018 and recognizes staff who embody the YMCA mission, and formally acknowledges 30 full-time YMCA leaders under the age of 30 for their accomplishments and potential to lead YMCA Associations in the coming years.

“We are very happy to see Tressa recognized for her hard work and dedication to our children,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO of Greater Scranton YMCA. “Her leadership and passion in her role have helped distinguish our early childhood education programs as some of the best in our region.”

Tressa began her YMCA career in November 2021. She oversees a staff team of more than 30 full-time employees. Under her leadership, enrollment in early childhood education programs has grown significantly, going from approximately 50 children to more than 210 in under 18 months. The Greater Scranton YMCA is so grateful for Tressa’s leadership and commitment.

“I am humbled and tremendously grateful to be selected as one of the 2023 Emerging Leaders Resource Networks’ 30 Under 30 Award recipients,” said Tressa. “I look forward to continuing to impact the lives of young children in our community and grow within the Greater Scranton YMCA organization.”

Greater Scranton YMCA Receives Grant Award

In June, 2023, the Greater Scranton YMCA was awarded a $15,000 Community Needs grant from the Scranton Area Community Foundation. Grant funding will support the expansion of the Y’s Early Learning Center.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the need for child care services in our community has grown substantially. Enrollment in the Greater Scranton YMCA’s early childhood education programs has grown significantly, with more than 60 children currently on a waitlist.

The Greater Scranton YMCA is limited in space and at maximum capacity. In order to open an additional 30 child care spots each year, the Greater Scranton YMCA will renovate its second floor, which is currently being used for storage and the location of H-VAC. Through renovating the space, the Greater Scranton YMCA will create three new classrooms, each licensed to serve up to 10 children. The classrooms will specifically serve children ages zero to two, as the need for infant care is great.

“Thanks to incredible community partners like the Scranton Area Community Foundation, the Greater Scranton YMCA will grow its Early Learning Center to serve more children and families from our community who are in need of care,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “Through expanding the center to open an additional 30 spots annually, we will provide parents and caregivers with a safe, nurturing environment for their children to thrive in while they are able to work. We are so grateful for this support.

The Greater Scranton YMCA Encourages Healthy Weight in Youth

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as children and families start their new school-year routines, it’s a perfect time to reflect and refresh your family’s healthy habits. Many families, though, need support changing their habits together to help children who are overweight or obese reach and maintain a healthy weight. That’s why the Greater Scranton YMCA — a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health—wants to help families through improved eating habits and increased physical activity.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity affects about 14.7 million, or one in five U.S. children and adolescents. Obesity can increase risk for health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. According to the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey and 2018-2019 Pennsylvania Growth Screening Index, 33 percent of Pennsylvania adults and 18 percent of Pennsylvania children in grades K-12 are affected by obesity, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.


“Experts now have a heightened understanding of the necessity to provide families with assistance in altering their eating and physical activity patterns,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “At the Y, we’re delighted to collaborate with families, extending support as they strive to incorporate changes to help children grow up at a healthy weight.”


The Y also promotes open communication between families and their healthcare providers regarding their children’s health. “A child’s healthy weight cannot be determined based off of appearance,” said Fisher. “Working with healthcare professionals guarantees that families receive accurate guidance and support.”


The Greater Scranton YMCA is helping families improve their health and help youth grow up at a healthy weight through incorporating opportunities for daily physical activity in our early childhood education and school age programming, as well as through offering numerous youth sports programs throughout the year.


While outside support is key, developing healthy habits begins at home. The following tips are some great ways to incorporate healthier eating habits and more physical activity and into your daily family routine:


· Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. Keep full water bottles available in the car and back packs.


· Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and body moving.


· Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

· Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e., turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).


· Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.

Reasons to Get Your Child Involved in Y Afterschool Programming

As another summer winds down and a new school year is on the horizon, the Greater Scranton YMCA wants to remind parents and caregivers that the Y’s afterschool program is a place where children can remain active and engaged during their time out of school – a critical time for all school-age children. Below, we’ve listed five reasons your child should get involved with Y afterschool programming once school starts!

Physical Activity The Y’s afterschool program combines learning with play. Each day, we provide physical activity which is vital to the overall health and wellbeing of every child in our program. Some physical activities include pool time, outdoor play, gym time and more.

Healthy Eating Habits Teaching children the importance of nutrition and healthy eating is key to their success – both in and out of school. The Y’s afterschool program ensures that kids in our community are provided with healthy afterschool snacks when they are in our care and are taught healthy eating habits

Academics, Arts & STEM
The Y’s afterschool program helps fill gaps in schools and communities where some academic and recreational activities may be limited. Kids can improve their study habits and reading skills; gain exposure to the arts; find a love for STEM activities and much more.

Character Building Kids in our afterschool program at the Y demonstrate improvement in the values, skills, attitudes and behaviors needed for success in school and in life. Kids and teens can achieve, feel a sense of belonging and explore new interests. Check out some of our social and teen programs here.

Safety Standards It is vital that children have a safe, enriching environment for learning, both in and out of school. The Greater Scranton YMCA’s afterschool program upholds the highest level of safety standards.

For more information about the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Afterschool Program, contact Kevin Mellow, Afterschool and Summer Day Camp Director, at kmellow@gsymca.org.

YMCA to Host Annual McGrath Golf Tournament

Registration is open for the Greater Scranton YMCA‘s 4th Annual Harry P. McGrath Memorial Golf Tournament & Dinner Celebration. This year’s tournament will take place on Friday, September 15th at Glen Oak Country Club. Event proceeds will benefit Summer Scholars, one of the Greater Scranton YMCA’s two Summer Learning Loss Prevention Programs.

The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m., golf at 1:00 p.m., cocktails at 6:00 p.m. and the dinner/program at 7:30 p.m.

Summer Scholars is a free research-based and research-proven six-week summer learning program with a goal to get elementary students on track to read at or above grade level by the start of their next school year. This summer, the program is serving rising first, second and third grade students attending the Mid Valley School District. Since the program began in 2016, more than 200 children have participated. Participants’ days consist of 2.5 hours of literacy in the morning followed by lunch and enrichment in the afternoon. The program is instructed by certified teachers and YMCA staff.

Harry McGrath was a proud member of the Greater Scranton YMCA. He specialized in education law, advocating for the rights of all students, particularly those with special needs. It became his passion to improve the quality of education for children living in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Proceeds from the tournament will support the Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program, a six-week program serving rising first and second grade students who are struggling with reading and are attending the Dunmore and Mid Valley School Districts.

“Our dad worked tirelessly so that children in this area had the necessary tools to succeed in school,” said Betsy McGrath Ardizoni, Event Coordinator and Greater Scranton YMCA Board Member. “The Summer Learning Loss Prevention program is consistent with his goal of using his legal career to positively impact the lives of the children he was privileged to represent, and our family is humbled and grateful to honor his legacy through a program he would undoubtedly support.”

For more information about the tournament, including sponsorship opportunities and registration, visit the Greater Scranton YMCA online or contact Betsy at (570) 768-6118 or Meghan Carnevale, Mission Advancement & Marketing Director, Greater Scranton YMCA, at mcarnevale@gsymca.org.

Winner Announced in YMCA Lap Swim Challenge Fundraiser

On Saturday, June 17th, the Greater Scranton YMCA held its Inaugural Lap Swim Challenge. The event was a great success, raising $3,602 for the Greater Scranton YMCA’s Stingrays Swim Team. We had 38 community members participate in the challenge.

The grand prize winner, Rachel Frissell, swam 134 lengths of the pool in the allotted 45-minute challenge time frame. She will receive an annual membership to the Greater Scranton YMCA. Attached are the results of the challenge.