Guided by the YMCA of the USA, a group of Northfield citizens joined together in the spring of 2005 to form the Northfield Area Family YMCA. Initially known as the “Y Northfield Committee,” this enthusiastic group led a community-wide effort to launch the YMCA you see today including an office in the Northfield Armory, a Health and Wellness Center in the Northfield Retirement Community, and programs running in over thirty different locations around town.
In a few short years, the YMCA has grown from being a mere idea to complete reality. The YMCA currently has between 50 and 80 staff (depending on the season) who operate various programs and services to over one thousand people annually. Programs have grown from $80,000 in revenue in 2007 to $220,000 in revenue in 2012. Below are the steps that have been taken to develop the Northfield Area Family YMCA.
- Presented Northfield as a potential site for a new YMCA to national YMCA representatives.
- Conducted a small scale feasibility test to measure the will of the community to develop and sustain a YMCA.
- Obtained 501(c)3 and provisional charter status as an independent YMCA (as opposed to a branch of an other established YMCA).
- Organized and successfully completed a Founders Campaign to raise over $400,000 of seed money to cover the organizational set-up including hiring an experienced YMCA Executive Director, establishing a board of directors, and starting programs.
- Opened a storefront office in the Nutting Block building on Division Street.
- Launched several programs, ranging from Preschoolers in the Park to Tennis and Golf camps, flag football, basketball, Youth in Government, etc.
- Organized events including the Healthy Kids Day, the Corporate Challenge and the Fall Classic 5K Run. Recipient of proceeds from the Jingle Bell 5K Run.
- Market Research – Sustainability - The YMCA hired a national market-research firm to conduct an independent, objective survey of 300 households in our area in 2007. The goal was to understand if a YMCA facility would be sustainable by attracting enough members to support its operation costs. Results were highly favorable, indicating:
- 76% would like to see a YMCA in Northfield.
- 60% expressed interest in joining a Y, 75% of which were family members.
- 69% were interested in affordable swilling lessons, 62% expressed interest in year-round lap swimming.
- 82% were interested in youth sport activities (for all kids regardless of skill or physically or financial ability).
- 81% would participate in family gym nights.
- 89% said YMCAs are a place for families.
- Hired Virginia Kaczmarek as Executive Director in December.
- Moved administrative offices to the top level of the Northfield Armory.
- Implemented a volunteer-led Annual Campaign, which gathered $19,000 of community support to provide aid for scholarships and critical programs.
- Launched summer camp programs including Y Navigators and Wee Camp.
- Significantly expanded its program offerings, adding more programs for families and elementary and secondary age youth.
- Opened a Health and Wellness Center, which provides group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment and a child watch area for YMCA members and non-members alike.
- Established collaborations with other local non-profits such as Just Foods Coop, the Northfield Hospital, Northfield Public Schools and Northfield Retirement Community to provide healthy initiatives in the Northfield Community.
- Organized events including the Daddy Daughter Dance, Healthy Kids Day and Fall Classic 5K Run.
- Delayed final feasibility study due to economic downturn, which created the need to launch a Bridge Campaign to support operational costs for 2009 and 2010. Y volunteers raised over $200,000.
- In addition to dollars raised for the Bridge Campaign, Y volunteers raised $22,000 for the Annual Campaign.
- Continued to build community partnerships.
- Carleton Colleges’ Prairie and Wood program became a YMCA day camp.
- Moved administrative offices temporarily to Hwy 3
- Market Research – Financial Support – The YMCA hired a national market-research firm to conduct an independent, objective survey of 67 key leaders in our community in early 2010. The goal was to understand the level of financial support we can expect to receive toward a proposed $8 million dollar YMCA facility. Results were encouraging and other key information was gathered such as the names of potential lead donors and volunteers to include to ensure a successful Capital Campaign.
- Site Selection Committee proposed the top three locations to be considered for a YMCA facility. These locations were included in the survey and the high school property was identified as the preferred location. An official proposal to build on this site was shared with the Northfield School Board in June. After much analysis and gathering of community input, the School Board voted down this proposal in October.
- YMCA board voted to move forward with plans for the Capital Campaign. Hired Triangle 2 (T2) as it’s consultant and began planning throughout the summer.
- YMCA of the USA unveils a new logo and focus “for youth development, for healthy living, for social responsibility.” The Northfield YMCA will phase this into their marketing over the next two years.
- Volunteers organized and ran the first “Y Kids Tri” in August. Hundreds of kids participated.
- Hosted first “Scoop” event, a presentation to community leaders about the progress and future plans for the YMCA. Approximately 75 people attended.
- Began inner family phase of the Capital Campaign, collecting over $2.6 million dollars of pledges by year-end.
- In addition to dollars raised for the Capital Campaign, Y volunteers raised $23,000 for the Annual Campaign.
- Moved administrative offices again – just upstairs from the office we occupied in 2011 on Hwy 3
- Site Selection Committee proposed round two of top three locations to be considered for a YMCA facility. Top choice was the Jasnoch property located behind Target and adjacent to Char Carlson Park. The Y signed a purchase agreement with Jasnochs in May and spent the majority of the summer working with engineers and the city to obtain our conditional use permit (CUP). The CUP was approved in September, allowing us to officially close on the property on Sept 22.
- A group of high school students in the DECA club created and installed the “Future Home of the Northfield Area Family YMCA” sign on the new property. A land marking ceremony was held on November 20th and community leaders Brett Reese, Mary Rossing (Mayor), Joel Leer and Will Healy addressed the crowd, sharing their support for the new Y.
- Organized the lead gift phase of the Capital Campaign, appointed a core group to obtain the top 15-20 gifts of six figures and above. Spent most of the year sharing the story of the Y with lead gift prospects, and held off on solicitations until after the location for the facility was established in September. A small amount of new pledges were received by year end, raising our overall pledge total to just under $2.7 million.
- In addition to dollars raised for the Capital Campaign, Y volunteers raised $24,000 for the Annual Campaign.
- Volunteers organized and ran the second “Y Kids Tri” in July. Hundreds of kids participated.
- Continued the lead gift phase of the Capital Campaign, raising our overall pledge total to $4.3 million.
- In addition to dollars raised for the Capital Campaign, Y volunteers raised over $24,000 for the Annual Campaign.
- Volunteers organized and ran the third “Y Kids Tri” in July. Hundreds of kids participated.
- Partnered with 5th Bridge on the Jingle Bell Run. All proceeds went to the Y.
2013 and beyond:
The NAFY board and community volunteers are continuing to promote its mission by setting in place the foundational work necessary for the construction of a new facility. We are working with the guidance and support of the YMCA of the USA, which has built more than 2,700 YMCAs nationally. The national organization’s track record of success and its established planning process, plus our dedicated group of local volunteer leaders, have set us off on a well-traveled path.
In addition to planning for the new facility, the Y board and staff will work to provide top quality programming to meet the needs of the Northfield community.
Northfield Area Family YMCA Leadership
|2013 Board of DirectorsChristopher Sawyer, ChairLinda Thornton, Treasurer
Past and Present Advisors
|Past Board MembersNancy AntoineJennifer Sawyer
“Y Northfield” Committee Members (Initial team who worked to incorporate the Northfield Area Family YMCA):
Amy Acheson, Jean Callister-Benson, Dave & Missy Donkers, Amy Etzell, Gretchen and Rich Falck, Natalie Chell, Jenn Hanlon, Karna Hasse, Annie Hauskins, Bryan Hoff, Tim & Tanya Jackson, Allison & Jonathan Jaranson, Randolph Jennings, Dave McBeain, Art & Emily Monaghan, Pat Murtha, Candy Nordine, Mike Puppe, Jane Runzheimer, Lee & Kitty Runzheimer, Jennifer Sawyer, Chris & Kristin Shimek, Linda Thornton, Anne Wolf
|Committee VolunteersTim and Carol CowlesJim and Linda Sawyer
Gary and Mary Carlson
John and Jean Noack
|Julie Nikolai-SullivanAmy AchesonScott Sannes
Curt and Katie Coudron
Dale and Krin Finger
PLUS HUNDREDS OF OTHER VOLUNTEERS!!