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Published: Wednesday, 11/16/2011

New leader says community supports YMCA

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Cathy Leonard is the new executive director of the Francis Family YMCA in Temperance, Mich. Cathy Leonard is the new executive director of the Francis Family YMCA in Temperance, Mich.
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TEMPERANCE -- On her first day in her new job, Cathy Leonard couldn't cap her enthusiasm for people who splash, bounce, twirl, stretch, kick, tone, or climb.

Y?

Yes, because of the Y … the Francis Family YMCA, 2000 W. Dean Rd., Temperance.

As the new center executive, Mrs. Leonard is looking forward to working with staff, the local schools, Y members, and others in the community.

"We have a wonderful community. They love their Y. There is a lot of community involvement," she said as she showed off the center that was built in 2005. The Francis Family YMCA sits on 10 acres. Its building is 64,000 square feet, and it seems nearly every inch is alive with activities, such as health, fitness, and aquatic classes.

The center is home to the boys and girls' swim teams at Bedford High School, and the Y has its own in-house swim team, she said.

On an afternoon last week, Bedford students were taking part in gym classes in the lap pool, next door to the family leisure pool with a zero-entry area and some popular water features, such as a water slide and a towering "mushroom," where water spills over, creating a fun place for kids to play.

That pool is really aimed toward the family, but all ages can use it, said Megan Sloan, 18, a lifeguard and swim instructor. The Bedford Township resident said the center is particularly busy on weekends and evenings, but is widely used at other times as well. "The Y is part of the community. People who live around here know about it and they come here," Ms. Sloan said.

Mrs. Leonard notes that the center, which has about 2,000 members, attracts not only youngsters and their parents, but teens and older area residents, such as seniors who participate in Silver Sneaker exercise classes. There also is a senior Latin dance class designed especially for active seniors.

Before and after classes, seniors gather around tables in the lobby area, an indicator that they like to linger at the Y, she said.

The number of participants in the Silver Sneakers program "is really growing," in part because older adults are trying to stay active and involved in programs that promote healthy lifestyles, she said.

"We work together on what we need to provide to our members and we work together on what the community and families need," said Mrs. Leonard, who has taught fitness classes at the Y and has been a friend of the Y for years.

For the last eight years, she worked in fiscal management with the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

As she looks forward to plans for the Y, she talks about expanding programs for teens and families. As a Y, "We're still young. The sky's the limit for the Y in this community."

The previous executive director was Heather Tross, who was with the Francis Family YMCA for about a year. She resigned to spend more time with her family; she continues to work part-time in the Y's aquatics department, according to Rob Thomas, communication specialist for the Y.



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