News Updates Archives - YMCA of Southwestern Indiana


At the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, the safety and well-being of our members, staff, and program participants have always been and will always be a top priority.

When we reopened our facilities, we instituted numerous health and safety measures to best protect everyone who enters our doors including:

  • Daily temperature checks for members, program participants, and staff
  • Installation of safeguarding equipment such as sneezeguards, hand-sanitizing stations, and required PPE for staff
  • Extensive and ongoing cleaning protocols of equipment and program areas before and after use
  • Limiting area capacities, maintaining small groups and enforcing social distancing

We have recently learned that an individual at our Ascension St Vincent branch has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) after contact exposure offsite. That individual is now quarantining and receiving treatment for his/her condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with him/her.

Upon learning this, we immediately contacted the Vanderburgh County Health Department, and we are following their guidance to conduct contact tracing and deep clean the exposed areas. We are temporarily closing those areas of the building and disinfecting them with electrostatic foggers. Anyone determined to be at risk has been PERSONALLY contacted with recommended actions. If you have not been personally contacted in this manner, you have not been determined to be at risk of exposure.

We are treating this matter with the utmost concern and continuing to do all that we can to keep our staff, members, and program participants as safe as possible.

July 2020 Scripture of the Month

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

– John 17:21

Celebrating Juneteenth

The Juneteenth celebration has a deep historical context. It is the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, and recognizes June 19, 1865 when Union Major General Gordon Granger read federal orders stating that all enslaved people in Texas were free. The federal order (the Emancipation Proclamation) had been signed by President Lincoln almost two and half years earlier.

The observance of Juneteenth continues to evolve as a celebration of African American freedom and achievement. This year’s Juneteenth comes at an incredibly significant moment in the United States as we witness one of the largest social justice movements to promote racial equity since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

This Juneteenth we encourage you to use your voice to talk about diversity,  inclusion, and equity with your family, friends, and community. We at the Y are learning with you, alongside our families and communities, and look to organizations deeply entrenched in this work to support and shape our conversations.

As we embark on this journey, we invite you to join us in our continued pledge to dismantle racial inequity and unjust systems that disproportionately cause harm to people of color and Black Americans, at the advantage of a few.  Review and reflect on the below resources that can help guide these on-going conversations within your sphere of influence.


Learn more about Juneteenth with this interactive tour put together by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. 

Check out this in-person event Saturday in the Evansville area here.

Check our this LIVE virtual celebration with the Evansville African American Museum here.

Visit Teaching Tolerance’s article around acknowledging hard history while also empowering students to be advocates for change.

Explore these Action Guides created by EmbraceRace which help children become thoughtful, informed, and BRAVE about race.

Refer to and share this list of resources to help Black people and other people of color care for their mental health through the trauma of racism.

Our YMCA Condemns Racism

To our community,

Over the past week, the national conversation has moved from the pandemic crisis to racial inequalities that equally plague our community.

The YMCA of Southwestern Indiana is an organization for all and condemns racism and divisions in our community. Our mission is to respond to community needs; but that can only be achieved when we listen to and understand one another.

As we attempt to get back to “normal” from the pandemic, we must all acknowledge that the unfortunate truth is that what may be “normal” for vulnerable populations is racism, inequity, and fear. Already traumatized by a pandemic virus, we are also facing another long-standing silent plague. And the trauma is real. Children are asking their parents to make sense of this world and many can only look back and say, “I don’t know.”

We need to ensure that the next generation of children no longer have to live in a state of fear and inequity. At the Y, one of our areas of focus is Social Responsibility. We are on the front lines of the issue of equality. Every day our staff not only have the opportunity, but the duty, to help shape the hearts and minds of young children and youth in our care.

In EVERY program we run at the YMCA, we have the chance to create a learning opportunity for love of neighbor, equality, and conflict-with-civility. It’s not just basketball, swim team, camp, or youth & government; it’s an opportunity to teach and mentor. There isn’t a greater reminder of the need to speak truth into the hearts and minds of impressionable youth than now. But this isn’t new. What’s happening around us now is a reminder that vigilance is a never ending duty that we owe our neighbors and our children.

The Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith are elements that guide us during these challenging times and all the days ahead. We must remain optimistic. We must also be honest about this crisis and be willing to take positive steps forward.

We, the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana and its Board of Directors, commit ourselves to:

  1. Have zero tolerance for racism and prejudice among our staff, members, program participants, and volunteers;
  2. Encourage staff and members to speak up when they see something unjust happening;
  3. Connect our communities in order to create greater harmony, understanding and interconnectedness;
  4. Remain steadfast in our commitment to a culture that values diversity and inclusion;
  5. Collaborate with our public officials, community leaders and partners to combat inequities locally for greater collective impact;
  6. Increase our investment in social responsibility programming that supports youth and young leaders as they organize to change our community and the world for the better; and
  7. Educate ourselves, across our Association, on what it truly means to be for all.

In the coming days, we will undoubtedly continue to experience the pain and sorrow of injustice and inequity. We must remain connected and dialogue about what we witness and experience. Remember that we are in this together, and we must extend grace to one another as we do so. We know that when we work as one, we move people and communities forward.


With respect and gratitude,


Johnathan Pope

President & CEO

YMCA of Southwestern Indiana



Brian Hancock

Board President

YMCA of Southwestern Indiana

Meeting the Needs of our Community During COVID – Food Distribution

Thank you to our friends at Penske for helping load and deliver 13 pallets of food to our Caldwell Community Center as part of our food distribution efforts. Our Y has delivered over 2,400 meals and food bags to local youth and families while we have been closed and will be able to provide even more with support from the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region and Indiana United Ways with funding provided by Lilly Endowment Inc.

#StayWithUs #BetterTogether #PauseForPositivity #YConnectionCounts

See our other initiatives during COVID-19 >>

12 Smart Ways to Keep Kids Busy When School’s Out

Since schools are out for the rest of the academic year and many of us are trying to figure out how to work from home, keeping kids occupied when school is out can be a challenge. Indulging them with a little bit of screen time here or there shouldn’t worry you. When you are out of options though, here are a few ideas:

1. Get them outside. It doesn’t matter whether it’s shooting hoops, taking a bike ride, a run, skateboarding, digging in the garden, drawing with chalk or a photo scavenger hunt. The act of simply getting some fresh air (and burning off excess energy) is what’s important.

2. Motivate them to help out around the house. Appeal to younger kids’ pride that they’re “allowed” to sweep (and wash) the floor, dust, or fold laundry. Let them know chores are a way that they can help out so we all get through this together.

3. Crafty is always cool. Sure coloring is commonplace, but sometimes messy is what’s needed to hold a child’s attention. Paint, make a collage, cut out paper garlands, or create colorful masks. For older kids, encourage them to make embroidery floss friendship bracelets, draw comics, cover their bedroom walls with their favorite photos, or make necklaces or earrings. Check out some of our craft projects on Virtual Y!

4. Drag out those collections. We’re talking theirs and yours. They have their seashells, action figures, Pokemon cards, etc. But do you still have YOUR 80’s collection, stamp collection, crystal/mineral samples, or coin collection? You might be surprised how fascinated kids might be with what you were fascinated with.

5. Build a fort. Yeah, you might not be able to walk through the living room, but it will keep kids occupied with the engineering of building it plus the creative imagination of what happens inside it.

6. Build anything. Now’s the time to drag out the Legos, Magna-tiles, model airplanes, construction sets, etc. It’s great STEM fun to build things.  Check out other STEM activities and videos on Virtual Y!

7. Play puzzles or board games. Jigsaw puzzles are great for all ages when piece sizes and counts are appropriate. Think beyond the traditional games but try to moderate any competitiveness among siblings.

8. Look at photo albums. Nostalgia reigns, even among the young. Break out the baby books and your childhood family photos. Make Throwback Thursday any day of the week.

9. Get cooking. Younger kids love to assist in the kitchen and older kids can scour cookbooks selecting a recipe or two that strikes their fancy. Cooking is a wonderful demonstration of measurement and math as well as the science of baking.

10. Read and write. Use downtime away from the classroom as an opportunity to have them order a title or two from an online bookstore that they can really get lost in. Or ask them to write a letter to a favorite aunt or grandparent or a friend they’re missing. Or get them hooked on journaling.

11. Listen to a podcast. They’re not screen time, but equally as entertaining. There are so many amazing podcasts for kids that can either enthrall them in stories or educate them.

12. Play with what they already have. Remember all those toys they played with a couple of times before they moved on the next thing? There’s a high probability that there are toys and projects in the house that they just haven’t used for a while or that just need finished. Dust them off, and get to it.

Source:; Ann Milanowski, March 16, 2020.

10 Tips to Eating Healthy When You’re Working from Home


You’re on a conference call and somehow wandered into the kitchen. Next thing you now you’re eating crackers and dry cereal out of the box. Or maybe you got so caught up in a project that you suddenly realize you haven’t eaten a thing all day. Or perhaps the “I’ll just have a handful of chips as I work” mentality turned into accidentally eating the entire bag.

Keeping your nutrition in check can be tough when your home is your office. You feel comfortable and there’s plenty of food available. Unlike in the office, you’re free to graze all day and the fridge is all yours; but this habit can wreak havoc on your waistline and halt your productivity.

Here are ten tips to eating healthy while you WFH:

1. Don’t work in or near the kitchen. Try to set up a desk in an area that’s not near the kitchen. You might be tempted to wander over and check the fridge if it’s constantly in your line of vision. Only go into your kitchen during the workday for planned snacks and/or meals.

2. Plan your snack and meal times. Just as you schedule and plan your day (get up, work out, shower, etc), establish when throughout the day you’re going to eat. If you know you like to eat lunch around noon, plan for that. And if you’d like to have a snack in the late afternoon, plan for that too.


3. Make sure you actually eat. Once you actually start working, it can be hard to take a break to actually eat, but it’s important to know your hunger signs and realize that not eating can affect your alertness and productivity. If needed, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and eat something.

4. Meal prep your lunches. There’s something freeing about being able to whip up whatever you’d like for lunch, but for some, it can be an additional source of anxiety. If you can, try to meal prep your lunch just like you would if you were physically going into work.


5. Focus on real food. Balanced, nutritious food makes us more productive. It keeps us fuller longer and helps us focus. Understand that what you eat will impact your mood and energy level. Focus on protein, fiber, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.

6. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue, which are both not good for your productivity. Just as you’d fill up a water bottle at work, keep water next to your work station at home too.

7. Be careful of too much caffeine. Having access to endless cups of coffee might seem like a great idea, but tread carefully when it comes to caffeine. Too much is known to cause headaches, anxiety, digestive issues and even fatigue.


8. Don’t buy junk food. Don’t stock your fridge or pantry like a vending machine. This can lead to eating just because you can! Try your best to keep junk food out of your house, especially food that you know can trigger a binge for you. Out of sight, out of mind.

9. When you eat, just eat. You might be tempted to continue working through your lunch break now that your co-workers aren’t physically there, but don’t do it! Being distracted during a meal can lead to over-eating and decreased satiety (satisfaction) from the meal.

10. Portion out snacks and meals before eating. Never eatout of the bag or original container because it’s much harder to control portions that way. Check the serving size on the container if you need extra guidance.

Source:; Staff Cleveland Clinic; April 7, 2020.


Virtual Y Is Now Available Online

Digital content is now available for you on our Virtual Y so you and your family can keep pace with your fitness goals and stay active and engaged during this short period. Content will be updated regularly to include things like cooking instruction, activities for kids while they are on break, and exercise for the soul with our Christian Emphasis content. As a member, these resources are made available to you, especially during this time.

Click below to see all the possibilities under MEMBER RESOURCES.



We want to keep you engaged. Many of you have reached out and offered to volunteer your time, that you understand the steps we’ve taken, and are happy to be a part of a front-line organization that is still serving community needs during this time.

Thanks for your support! This is a time when we need you as a member the most.

Even with limited access, your presence as a part of our organization is powerful. It allows us to serve in times like these:

  • Ensuring that children in underserved communities receive nourishing meals
  • Checking on our seniors that are now isolated
  • Providing child care services for our medical responders

While waiting for this to pass, our team is out serving on your behalf. Membership has its highest value in times like these and we thank you for that.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

– Romans 8:28

COVID-19 Update: Spring Break Camps Cancelled

At the YMCA, the health and well-being of our staff, members, program participants, and community is our utmost priority. As we navigate the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation together, we wanted to share an important update with you.

Like many other organizations in our community right now, we find ourselves continually evaluating our available resources. For the Y, our most valuable resource is our staff. With a varying workforce trained in educational protocols, child safety, and lifesaving skills, we are in a unique position to help during this time when school is out of session, but we recognize that demand for childcare services and activities far exceeds what we can provide to everyone. As an organization that responds to community needs, we feel our resources should be directed where our community needs it the most during this time, which are to essential community personnel like healthcare workers and emergency responders.

We have partnered with Ascension St Vincent and Deaconess Health System to be able to provide childcare services during this time to their essential personnel, and with the cooperation of the EVSC, we will be using a few specific school sites to do so.

Given the need to re-allocate some of our human resources for the greater good of our community, we will be cancelling the following Spring Break programming.

Over March 23rd-27th, we will be cancelling Spring Break Camps including Full Day camps through our Childcare Services branch, 2-Day Spring Break Sports Camps for basketball, volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics and our $10 Open House Clinics for basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

Further disruption and changes to our programming and member services may occur without much notice. To stay informed, we encourage you to regularly check this website for potential changes to program and activity schedules along with the CDC ( and Indiana Department of Health ( websites for important updates and safety information. The YMCA will also send notifications through email, mobile app, and our Facebook page.

We ask for your grace and patience as we all navigate through these unprecedented circumstances. Let’s all work together to keep everyone healthy and safe.