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Facing COVID-induced budget shortfall, YMCA cutting its hours

The Y is experiencing a $3 million deficit as a consequence of COVID-related changes to programming and declining member participation, losing $850,000 a month to budget, according to CEO.
The Ed & Ruth Lehman YMCA in Longmont. (Photo by Macie May)

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The YMCA of Northern Colorado will be making temporary changes at all its locations at the end of the week. 

“Because of lower member usage and vastly decreased visitation in the evening, we will be temporarily modifying hours,” Chris Coker, YMCA of Northern Colorado CEO, said in an email that went out to members on Monday.

Starting Friday, facility and pool hours will change at all Northern Colorado Ys, including the Ed & Ruth Lehman campus

The Longmont facility will be open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The pool will be open 5 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Saturday and  8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Sunday.

“We feel that all of our procedures and things we are doing have been very effective, but until you are comfortable you shouldn’t come in. Don’t stress yourself out. However, it does mean that we have to change those hours to reflect your usage,” Coker said in a video posted to the YMCA of Northern Colorado’s Facebook page on Tuesday. 

Facility hours will normalize when members start showing up, Coker told the Leader on Wednesday. 

“Once our numbers are really full or relatively full, with too many people in here for what makes sense during the (coronavirus pandemic), then we’ll add another hour,” he said.

According to Coker, the Y is experiencing a $3 million deficit as a consequence of COVID-related changes to programming and declining member participation, losing $850,000 a month to budget. 

“We will be an $8 million business that should have been about a $14 to $15 million business this year,” Coker said, adding that while the YMCA received federal Paycheck Protection Program money and had a good cash reserve, those funds have not been enough to close the gap. 

“(The Northern Colorado) Y has survived the Spanish flu, the great wars, the Great Depression, and everything in between, but this is different, this is knocking us to our knees... we could really use the help right now,” Coker said. 

Since the beginning of the school year, Y locations across the region have been offering remote learning and child care programs for kindergarten through fifth grade students, and offered critical child care earlier in the year when the pandemic first hit. 

“We started providing emergency child care from the moment (everything) shut down and are doing virtual care all day. We still have a preschool on property. We have a farm where we are growing food and are giving it all away … we are doing whatever we need to to remain open,” said Jessica Collins, executive director of the Longmont YMCA. “(We are) hoping that people will come back and understand all the measures to ensure people's safety and continue doing what we do.”

According to Andra Coberly, communications director at the YMCA of Northern Colorado, no fitness classes, fitness programs or sports are impacted by the change in hours. Remote learning and preschool programs also will be unaffected, she said via email. 

Tuesday and Thursday swim lesson times will change to 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled, starting with the October session, in order to give more time between the end of classes and closing of the building, Coberly said in her email. 

If and when St. Vrain Valley School District starts its hybrid model of remote and in-person classes, the YMCA will provide after-school care as well as remote learning care.

Additional changes aimed at enhancing members’ experiences will be announced soon, Coker said in the video.

Collins said, “We are launching a new Back on Track program to engage people, we are doing a Flick & Float, (we are doing) different programming to engage people where they are. If they need a call at home that’s what we will be (doing) … We are a resilient organization that just has to make a couple of changes to keep serving.”

Details on planned additions will be announced in the coming weeks. 

“The Y has always been here for you and now we need you to be here for the Y. We need people to show up, people who are members through Silver Sneakers or through an insurance company, come in and swipe the card, get in the pool …  if there was ever a need, it is now. This is it,” Collins said.

A virtual gala and fundraiser supporting the YMCA of Northern Colorado will take place on Oct. 3. To donate or register, click here

For more information on upcoming hours and changes to programming visit the Facebook page or click here.

Correction: The YMCA's virtual gala is on Oct. 3. The date was incorrect in the original posting of this story.