After school options: Santiam YMCA focuses on enrichment programs

November, 2017 Posted in Community, School

22539727_1430289867008498_526820483061477410_nBy Mary Owen

The Santiam Family YMCA has moved from the Stayton Family Memorial Pool to the North Santiam School District office.

“North Santiam and the Y have a very special relationship,” said Natasha Cronin, vice-president of youth development for the Family YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties. “The school district subsidizes the after-school program, which really reduces costs for families.”

By letting go of the operations of the pool, the YMCA has more time to concentrate on after-school enrichment sports programs for children in kindergarten to middle school.

The Y’s after-school program at Stayton and Sublimity elementary schools provides homework support, hands-on educational based learning opportunities, physical activity and sports, and healthy snacks.

“We know that active kids do better in school, and believe after being in school all day, having time to move around is the best outlet for children,” Cronin said of the need for 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

Hands-on activities STEM (science, technology, veneering and math) activities take place at least one day a week, she added.

“Science tells us that kids who are not proficient readers by the third grade are 70 percent more likely to drop out of high school than their peers,” Cronin said. “We spend 30 minutes a day reading – kids reading to each other, reading to themselves, or Y staff reading to the students. On occasion, we also give each child a book to keep and take home.”

“I believe this program has been very successful,” Cronin said. “Our enrollment continues to increase. It would be fantastic if we could work in the communities to offer a summer program, especially one that focuses on STEM, Reading, and physical activity. There is significant learning loss over the summer months, and we would love to help kids stay on track!”

Cronin believes it is the YMCA’s role to strengthen community.

“We want everyone to feel welcome at the Y, and in every program we offer,” she said. “We strive to make sure our programs are affordable, and if a family still has challenges, then we are happy to help. Joining the Y is more than a gym. It’s joining a family that cares for each other. A family that roots for your success!”

Currently, a $45 registration fee is required in addition to a sliding-fee monthly rate schedule of $55 to $95, with a year-round option of $230 to $270. The rates are subject to children qualifying for free/reduced meals through their school.

“The fee is also based on whether they are members, and we accept subsidies and offer scholarships,” said Nancy Umeda, human resource director. “We also have a thriving youth sports program. Most of the youth sports are free to members that have a family membership.”

Brandon Lemon, vice president of sports and aquatics, said budding young athletes love the variety of activities the Y offers, including track, baseball, football and more.

“We get some amazing volunteer coaches,” Lemon said. “A lot of them keep doing it year after year because they care about the success for the teams.”

Competitions are part of the program, and Lemon said some leagues stay very local, including Stayton.

“I love seeing kids develop, seeing what they start as and how they enhance their skills by the end of the year,” he said. “Even better is when they learn how to play the game right while having a blast doing it.”

“One parent loved that during the season they saw their kid really come out of their little bubble and develop in their self-confidence,” he said.

Registrations can be dropped off between 11 a.m. –
1 p.m. and 2 – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the new office, 1155 N. Third Ave., Stayton. Questions can be directed to Kyle Purdy via e-mail, or by telephone at 503-769-4971. Information can be accessed at

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