VIDEO: With church’s help, Fauntleroy YMCA is ‘not going anywhere,’ executive promises

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Tell anyone that will hear you … we’re not going anywhere.”

At last night’s West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA annual-fund-drive kickoff dinner, that’s the “exciting news” that branch executive Cleveland King exhorted attendees to share. He was referring specifically to the Fauntleroy YMCA and the questions about its future that have been circulating since the Y considered closing it amid financial struggles.

King had one major announcement: Fauntleroy Church is giving the Y a rent break for the next three years, signing a lease through 2026, with what he later told WSB is a 33 percent discount. But that’s not all he said about Fauntleroy’s future – first, here’s video of his remarks:

King declared himself “the biggest advocate for keeping Fauntleroy YMCA open,” and acknowledged the Y had received both positive and not-so-positive suggestions in the two months since closure rumors sent a shock wave through the community.

Among the criticism has been the schedule for the location – just nine hours a week, weekday mornings at that. In an info sheet provided at last night’s event, the Y said it’s been unable to expand hours because the West Seattle/Fauntleroy membership and revenue still hasn’t recovered from the pandemic shutdown and restrictions: “During the pandemic, we lost 54% of our members and 60% of our membership revenue. Unfortunately, right now, we are still down. Currently, we have 30% fewer members, compared to the period before the Covid-19 pandemic.” The info sheet also notes staffing and operational costs have risen “substantially.” And it says the Y has tried to reduce expenses with limiting facility and building hours at both locations, as well as closing its Studio B space.

Nonetheless, King promised, they’re going to “work on” offering more at Fauntleroy, citing survey results showing community priorities including group fitness and teen activities. He again stressed that community participation is vital toward making that happen – three committees will meet on March 26 (as explained here).

But it’s not going to be all work and no play – he promised that the church and Y also will plan a centennial celebration, too, commemorating how long the two have been partners. “It’s a great day for the Y, the church, relationships … we’re sitting on 100 years and looking at another 100 years … tell anyone that will hear you, that we’re not going anywhere.”

Last night’s event overall was not meant just to drum up support for the Fauntleroy Y, but also to assist the branch’s main location in The Triangle.

Board chair Lisette Terry served as emcee and introduced several guest speakers who highlighted specific Y programs. Dr. Sonya Walker explained their “whole person health” offerings, including mental-health coaching as well as various ways of addressing physical health:

Aquatic director Sam Haisten said the pool program will be relaunching the “Safety Around Water” program:

Early-learning director Jill Mudge talked about their preschool programs, especially the relatively new center at Westwood Village, which she said is now serving more than 100 children, while explaining how scholarship money can help with the costs for some families. Perhaps the most enthusiastic speaker was youth basketball coach Mike Kreiger, who exclaimed, “What the YMCA does is magic!” as he spoke about kids getting their sports start in its programs.

One unscheduled speaker delivered the bottom-line call to action, standing up from a table just before the event ended. She asked attendees to “work at what we have to do to raise the money to support our beloved Fauntleroy,” adding, “You cannot be passive at this moment.” She recalled past drives that she said had brought in a quarter-million dollars (five times this year’s fund-drive goal). “We can do this again!” (Donations can be made online here.)

6 Replies to "VIDEO: With church's help, Fauntleroy YMCA is 'not going anywhere,' executive promises"

  • Too Expensive March 1, 2024 (3:34 pm)

    The Y just charged my elderly parents $104/mo (that’s with a discount!) for their new membership. This is also why enrollment is down. 

    • Alki resident March 2, 2024 (9:48 am)

      Enrollment is down because of the lack of open hours. That was addressed from the get go.

      • Too Expensive March 2, 2024 (1:33 pm)

        The Y as an entity charges too much. The hours are another issue. 

  • Alki resident March 1, 2024 (3:57 pm)

    This is great! Thanks to some of my friends who showed up to this original broadcasted meeting to share their hopes and dreams. Way to go neighbors!!

  • But what are the new hours March 1, 2024 (11:38 pm)

    I would love to support the location. Someone just tell me when there are more hours available. 

  • Too Expensive March 2, 2024 (7:40 am)

    Also don’t know their hours or what’s offered. They need to separate it from the West Seattle location on the website. Very annoying. Most people work so they need to stay open a lot longer every day. Will unpause my membership and sign up for yoga as soon as they offer a class I can attend. 

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