One in four Elk River residents is a YMCA member

by Joni Astrup
Associate editor
One in four Elk River residents is a member of the Elk River YMCA, and about 1,000 people a day use the facility.

Molly Hanson

Those are just a couple of the statistics cited by Molly Hanson in a presentation to the Elk River Economic Development Authority on Monday, Dec. 12. Hanson, of Elk River, has worked for the Y for 12 years — the last year as executive director of the Elk River YMCA.
The Elk River YMCA opened in October 2008. It is located at 13337 Business Center Dr.
The YMCA’s three pillars are youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, Hanson said.
In the area of youth development, the Elk River YMCA has matched 82 youth with a positive adult role model through the Mentors Inspiring Success Program, which is a collaboration with Sherburne County and is funded through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The Y also helped 149 youth gain skills by participating in the Youth in Government Program, she said.
In addition, last summer 229 youth participated in summer programs and each month more than 4,000 children between the ages of six weeks and 10 years come to the Y so their parents can become healthier.
In the area of healthy living, one of the examples Hanson cited is this year the Elk River Y has offered more than 4,400 opportunities for people with the Y’s group exercise classes.
Regarding social responsibility, over the last three years the Elk River YMCA has provided more than $1 million in financial assistance to its participants in the areas of memberships, child care, teen programs and other programs.

Children participated in an activity at the YMCA.

The Y also collaborates with a variety of entities in the community, from churches to local governments to organizations.
“There are a ton of kids that are at risk in our community that are served by the YMCA,” said EDA President Ron Touchette, who serves on the YMCA community and governing boards. “… The impact that you make is just tremendous.”

Elk River YMCA fun facts
•The Elk River YMCA employs nearly 200 people – 23 full-time, 149 part-time and an additional 35 seasonal staff.
•The Elk River YMCA purchases many goods and services from local vendors and partners with “almost everyone who asks” the Y to sponsor or be a part of their event, according to Executive Director Molly Hanson. The list ranges from school carnivals to the Business Expo.
•All Elk River residents get four free passes a year to the YMCA.
•All Elk River residents save the $150 joiner fee when joining the YMCA.
•Through the YMCA’s Employee Wellness Program, businesses and organizations are eligible for a free trial week at the YMCA, free towel service, up to $75 in YBUCKS and more.
Source: Elk River YMCA