YMCA registers nearly 400 teens for free summer memberships
With the help of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, a Twin Cities nonprofit, the Hastings YMCA provided 375 teens with free YMCA summer memberships.
The memberships were open for students attending high school in the upcoming school year.
"To see these kids come in and do all the different activities, it's really cool," Hastings YMCA Executive Director Derrick Jaeger said. "We like having all of these kids here."
The memberships were part of a larger effort by the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, along with the Schulze Family Foundation, to provide up to 400 free memberships for each of its YMCA locations, totalling over 10,000 teens.
This is the third year that the Hastings YMCA has been able to provide the summer memberships, and the program has seen growth, according to Jaeger.
Throughout the summer, the YMCA provides different opportunities for teens with these memberships.
If food is scarce at home, teens have the option to get free meals through the SPARK program at Our Savior's Lutheran Church.
For activities, Jaeger said that teens are encouraged to join classes held at the YMCA. In addition, this year the Y has added special family events that are held once a month. These events allow teens to bring their family for activities.
The Hastings YMCA also organizes job fairs for teen members.
"We employ a ton of kids here at the Y. This is a great opportunity for them to see what is available for jobs," Jaeger said.
Aside from employment, the Hastings YMCA encourages teens to get involved in the community over the summer. Often, staff works to get teens signed up for volunteering opportunities, Jaeger said.