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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

North Suburban YMCA Community Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The North Suburban YMCA hosted a fun-filled, festival style community party on August 25 in honor of its 50th year in its Northbrook facility.

Over a 1000 people enjoyed live music from a giant main stage, kids' activities, and delicious food at "50Fest" with special attention given to founding members who helped establish the Y in the 1960s.

Children found plenty of options to keep busy during the party as they played in bounce houses, selected the perfect balloon animal and airbrush tattoo, and took a break from the sun in air conditioned video game trailers.

Families came together in the Bingo tent, winning fun prizes with the help of celebrity callers WBBM-FM news anchor Lisa Fielding, Congressman Brad Schneider, WKQX 101.1 radio personalities Lauren O'Neil and Tim Virgin, and others.

WKQX 101.1 radio personalities Lauren O'Neil and Tim Virgin

Guests also enjoyed a wide variety of food options from eight local restaurants and browsed special promotions from businesses who sponsored the event.

The North Suburban YMCA reflects on the consistent values that have been the foundation of the Y for decades, honoring the past while looking toward a vital future.

Founded by Ken and Alta Thiel in 1961, the NSYMCA launched a variety of youth and family programs held at various sites around Northbrook.

A multiyear fundraising effort culminated in the construction of the Y's home building at 2705 Techny Road, which opened in 1969.

Community leaders participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the North Suburban YMCA in Northbrook in June 1968.

From its earliest days through the start of the 21st century, generations of local residents have relied on the NSYMCA, learning to swim in the pool, shooting hoops in the gym, and practicing ballet in the dance studios. Various additions over the years transformed the original building into an 80,000 square foot facility to keep up with changing needs.

Children who grew up at the Y in the 1970s and '80s now bring their own kids to enjoy the benefits of nurturing, enriching Y programs. Across the board, these programs emphasize personal growth and values: teamwork, confidence, respect, and the importance of healthy lifestyles.

The Y is now thriving with a growing membership and a rich network of partnerships with other local organizations for specialized programming and events.

Through its Strong Kids Fund, the NSYMCA provides financial assistance that enables individuals in financial need to participate fully in the Y's benefits. More than one out of five individuals at the Y -- over 2,600 people -- receive financial assistance through the Strong Kids Fund for after-school programs, summer camp, life-saving swim lessons, and other activities for all ages.

The 50th Anniversary events featured the history of the Y and its community since 1968 and include launching several new major initiatives: Two Seconds Too Long, teaching every second grader to be safe around water, five Integrated Health Awareness programs, a Community Engagement Expansion Enterprise, and a major capital improvement project and campaign.
Howard Schultz, North Suburban YMCA President/CEO since 2006

"The Y is not just another place to work out or swim; it seeks to improve the lives of people of all ages throughout the community," commented Howard Schultz, North Suburban YMCA President/CEO.

"Our core values of healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility resonate in all our programs and events.

We are eager to celebrate this outstanding resource with events that honor the rich history of the Y and our community over the last 50 years, and are equally excited to launch new transformative programs that will guide our Y for the next 50 years."