A sense of community is important to Gig Harbor citizens, something clearly apparent in their decade-long embrace of the Tom Taylor Family YMCA in Gig Harbor North.
The YMCA has played an important role in maintaining and building community in Gig Harbor, especially with the area’s growth, said Tom Taylor, who along with his wife led the capital campaign to build the facility.
“I honestly think the Y has played an important part with the rapid growth in the Gig Harbor North area,” Taylor said. “I think as people look to where they want to look to plant their family, (and) when they see a facility such as the Y, that factors into their decision.”
Taylor’s involvement in planning and advocating for Gig Harbor’s YMCA dates back to 1987, and he remained actively involved when plans for the facility began moving forward in the early 2000s. The Tom Taylor Family YMCA, 10550 Harbor Hill Dr., opened its doors August 21, 2007 and added an expansion to the facility in 2013, which included a youth gym and family adventure zone.
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I honestly think the Y has played an important part with the rapid growth in the Gig Harbor North area. I think as people look to where they want to look to plant their family, (and) when they see a facility such as the Y, that factors into their decision.
Tom Taylor, member of the YMCA’s philanthropic advisory council
The role of the YMCA in the Gig Harbor community has evolved over the past decade, but serving as part of the local community is a historic legacy for the nonprofit, said executive director Steve Triller.
“I’ve had members tell me (the Y’s) a good hub for the community,” Triller said. “It’s a good place to connect. We’re more than a gym — the Y is a life enhancer.”
He explained that the YMCA provides a variety of supportive services for the community, from childcare to active senior programs.
“The Y’s focus is on the whole person: mind, spirit and body,” Triller said. “We have a lot of different support programs.”
Included in these programs are specialized services offered for unique demographics such as those with Parkinson’s, cancer survivors and support groups for domestic abuse survivors.
I’ve had members tell me (the Y’s) a good hub for the community. It’s a good place to connect...We’re more than a gym. The Y is a life enhancer.
Steve Triller, executive director of the Tom Taylor Family YMCA
Along with the range of active-based classes, such as spin or yoga, are community-centered classes such as guitar or painting, offering another opportunity for members to experience growth and community.
The Gig Harbor location spent the past weekend celebrating its 10-year anniversary in the city with the Gig Harbor community, and welcomed donors to an evening event on Monday to recognize its official opening date anniversary.
Nearly 100 donors, local business owners and YMCA officials gathered at the site to celebrate this milestone, said Julie Richards, marketing and development director for the Y, enjoying demonstrations from some of the classes including ballet, tae kwon do and guitar.
“We wanted to bring some people in here that most people don’t get to see,” Richards said of the demonstrations. “Tonight’s a thank-you and an appreciation event. We invited our current donors and the donors who helped get the Y here in Gig Harbor, our capital donors. It’s a great opportunity to bring everybody back in the doors and show them what we’ve done in the past ten years.”
The Gig Harbor YMCA is always a bustling place, Triller and Richards said, with more than 19,000 registered members taking advantage of the facilities. The Y’s busiest month for attendance recorded between 75,000 and 80,000 scans, showing that members often visit the facility several times a day for different programs.
“With over 19,000 members that come here, I think (we) reach across all ages and spectrums in our programs and classes,” he said. “The Y does change depending on what the community needs. There’s so many thing that the Y has an effect on (outside the facility).”
Over the past decade, Taylor has been pleased to follow the popularity and growth of Gig Harbor’s YMCA in the community. He is currently a member of the philanthropic advisory council.
“The Y is a result of the entire community responding very positively to the original building campaign that put the building together,” he said. “The other part of our success has been the tremendous staff that runs the facility and their love and passion for the Gig Harbor community.”