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The Magic of Overnight Camp

The Magic of Overnight Camp

There is nothing like the magic of overnight camp. Leaving home (and technology!) for a few days to escape into nature is a transformational experience for a child. Dedicated camp counselors play an integral role in a child’s experience.

Hear about camp magic from one of our incredible camp counselors, Lee Hendricks:

“The best part of camp is building connections and watching the kids grow into their best selves,” said Lee. “Overnight camp is unique because you’re with the kids all week and really get to know each other on a deeper level. We become a tight-knit community within our cabin.”

YMCA Camp emphasizes relationships, achievement, and belonging, ensuring that these principles are lived out in every activity and experience.

“YMCA camp is unique because it’s truly a space where you can be yourself,” said Lee. “It’s always cool to watch the progression of a child finding their place. Oftentimes we’ll see a shy kid, unsure where they fit in and by the end of the week they are right in the middle of everything.”

Lee is an advocate for every child to have the opportunity to attend summer camp. They can’t wait to return this summer and reconnect with campers from previous years.

“As a kid, you get very few opportunities to get away from your parents and the world and get to hang out with a whole new group of people,” they said. “Summer camp offers an entire week for kids to have a clean slate to just have fun and be themselves.”

To learn more and register for overnight camp, please visit:

Miracle League: A Place for Everyone to Play

Miracle League: A Place for Everyone to Play

There’s something special that happens at Monroe Rotary Field on Saturdays every spring. Athletes from all over the county gather to play Miracle League Baseball. Miracle League programs are designed for individuals with diverse abilities requiring additional assistance to play the game. This program is adapted to be an inclusive, stress-free, non-competitive game where everyone plays and everyone finds success. This year, the baseball season kicks off on Saturday, April 20 with its 25th Anniversary celebration.

Lake Stevens brothers, Edge and Ezra Burkett, can’t wait to get back out on the field. You can tell how much they love Miracle League Baseball by the way their faces shine when they talk about it.

“It is the best sports program ever!” said Edge.

Edge and Ezra have medical conditions that impact their mobility. Traditional sports settings aren’t the best fit for the brothers.

“Miracle League Baseball allows my boys the opportunity to play and compete in a sport they love,” said Jannet Burkett, Edge and Ezra’s mom. “Edge has some mobility outside of his wheelchair, but the chair makes it easier for him to participate with his peers. Everyone can play.”

Miracle League Baseball joins other YMCA of Snohomish County Miracle League programs, including basketball and bowling, providing opportunities for athletes to experience the fun of playing recreational sports all year long.

Gina Casagrande, current Mill Creek Family YMCA Executive Director, worked closely with Miracle League Baseball when she was the Executive Director at the Monroe/Sky Valley Family YMCA and has been instrumental in bringing Miracle League Basketball to the Y.

“Miracle League is a place for everyone,” said Casagrande. “We want to get the word out and share with families who might feel like they need a spot for their child to play a sport. This is a judgment-free, positive place where we support all athletes, meeting them right where they’re at.”

All Miracle League athletes are partnered with a volunteer buddy to help them compete. In baseball, they help them hit the ball, run the bases, and play defense in the field. Parents and guardians are encouraged to sit in the stands to watch and cheer for their player.

“One of the special things about Miracle League sports is the parent network and support parents receive from each other,” said Casagrande. “Our parents rarely get a break, especially when their child may face additional daily challenges. Miracle League is a place where parents can sit back, relax, and let us help the athletes on the court. Parents can just be a spectator and cheer for their child.”

Miracle League programs are free and open to the community, made available through generous contributions to the YMCA’s Community Campaign.

To learn more about Miracle League Baseball, please visit: Miracle League Baseball – YMCA of Snohomish County. The Y invites the community to come out to Miracle League Opening Day on April 20 for food, fun, and lots of baseball and smiles.

Marysville Y Mock Trial Team Tops Local Rivals at State Competition

Marysville Y Mock Trial Team Tops Local Rivals at State Competition
High School Students Learn Real-World Skills in Courtroom

Marysville, WA. March 25, 2024 – The Marysville Family YMCA Mock Trial Team soared to success as Snohomish County’s top finisher at the State Competition held over the weekend in Pierce County. Despite being in just its second year, the team secured an impressive 7th place finish out of 24 teams, showcasing the hard work, dedication, and talent of the students.

“We are incredibly proud of our students’ remarkable achievement,” said Taryn Dinuis, Associate Executive Director, Marysville Family YMCA. “Their team work, problem-solving skills, and ingenuity have been truly inspiring. The sky is the limit for these amazing students.”

The YMCA Mock Trial Competition offers high school students real-life courtroom experiences. Participants take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses, presenting their cases before actual judges and juries. The Marysville Y team spent months preparing for the event, competing at districts and earning a place in the State Competition. The program not only fosters critical thinking and analytical skills, it also introduces students to careers in the legal system.

Sabrina Neal, Team Captain and senior at Marysville Getchell High School enjoys the challenge of preparing for Mock Trial, especially being on a newer team. “I love reaching the end of a trial and hearing the jurors give feedback so we know how to improve the next time,” she said. “It’s really encouraging to hear from professionals and I like the challenge of leveling up.”

Neal’s efforts paid off. She was awarded Best Attorney at the State Competition. She plans to attend Western Washington University after graduating and is interested in a career in law.

Marysville YMCA’s 11-member team is comprised of students from local high schools. Mock Trial is part of the Y’s Youth and Government program and anyone can join. No previous experience is needed; just a desire to learn, regularly show up, and be an active team member. The confidence, teamwork, and decision-making skills that participants acquire benefit them in all aspects of life.

Rudy Vazquez, sophomore at Marysville Getchell High School, discovered Mock Trial last year and decided to join because he’s interested in a career as an attorney and knew this would be a good opportunity. Vazquez served as a preliminary attorney in this case and can’t wait for next year and a new case to research, prepare, and present. “I love learning,” he said. “You can never stop learning. There is always something new.”

To learn more about Mock Trial and other youth leadership programs at the Y, please visit

Mill Creek Family YMCA Offers Bollywood Dance Workshop

Monthly Class Combines Fun and Fitness for All Skill Levels

Mill Creek, WA. March 5, 2024 – Mill Creek Family YMCA offers a monthly Bollywood Dance Workshop for people of all dance skill levels. Bollywood dance is a vibrant dance style that originated in the Indian film industry, incorporating elements from various dance forms. The class, taught by YMCA member and volunteer, Surbhi Kabra, combines fun and fitness, offering Y members the chance to learn something new while getting a great workout. The class has been on hold while Surbhi traveled, but it’s back on the schedule for Sunday, March 10 from noon – 1:30 pm.

“I love dancing and music, seeing other people dance, and creating choreography,” said Surbhi. “I love to share something that I’m passionate about with others. It makes me happy to see people dance.”

Surbhi, originally from Mumbai, India, moved with her husband to the Silver Firs community in 2021. At the time, she didn’t know the Y existed and had never been to a facility. After checking out the Y and learning about all of the amenities, they joined the Mill Creek Y. Surbhi’s husband learned how to swim and she started exploring group exercise classes, including Zumba.

“After attending Zumba, I knew there were a lot of dance enthusiasts at the Y. I knew Bollywood was popular with Americans, but there are no formal classes,” said Surbhi. “Once I realized people might be interested, I approached the Health and Wellness Director and proposed a class. It’s quickly grown in popularity.”

Surbhi is an engineer by trade, but wants to shift her career and pursue dance. She hasn’t trained professionally, but grew up dancing and competing in school competitions. Since moving to the Seattle area, she has gotten more serious about dance and enjoys the creative outlet and introducing new choreography to her class.

“Dancing is a fun way of moving your body, said Surbhi. “It raises your heart rate, works on the mind-body connection, and exercises your memory. The time flies when you’re dancing with a group – it doesn’t feel like working out.”

Surbhi’s vision for the class is to share her knowledge of dance, while empowering her class members to embrace their health and wellness goals. Due to the class’s popularity, she hopes to offer it more frequently in the future.

“I feel inspired when I see people taking time out of their busy schedules for themselves, doing something fun, and working to improve their health,” said Surbhi. “I feel so happy to help them have fun and exercise. Anyone can come. You don’t need a background in dance – you just need to enjoy loud music and want to have a good time!”

All group exercise classes, including the Bollywood Dance Workshop, are free with a Y membership. To learn more about membership at the Y, please visit

Senator Murray Visits the Everett Y to Discuss Child Care in Snohomish County

We are proud to share that U.S. Senator Patty Murray, lifelong advocate for child welfare and Early Childhood Education, visited the Everett Family YMCA. During her visit, Senator Murray learned about the role the Y, and our community partners, play in supporting working families through quality, accessible early learning.

“You’re looking at a former preschool teacher who is fighting to make every bit of progress possible to address the child care crisis in Snohomish County and all across our state,” said Senator Murray. “The bottom line is that we have a crisis on our hands. I hear nonstop from families—and from small business owners and so many others—about how child care isn’t just unaffordable, it’s also really hard to find.”

Murray discussed her continued efforts fighting to secure investments into child care at the federal level, as well as her work to secure $943,000 in Congressionally Directed Spending for the YMCA of Snohomish County to expand their child care programs as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 government spending bills. An estimated 80 percent of Snohomish county residents live in an extreme child care desert, and there are only 62 slots of child care for every 100 infants, toddlers, or preschoolers whose parents work, far below the state average of 79 slots per 100 children.

YMCA of Snohomish County serves thousands of children in school-age child care, early childhood education, and camp. Establishing additional early learning opportunities in Snohomish County is a cornerstone of our YMCA’s 2024-2026 Strategic Plan.

“We are proud of our legacy of service in Snohomish County and consider it a privilege to provide families with high-quality, affordable child care,” said Peyton Tune, President and CEO, YMCA of Snohomish County. “We are grateful for the attention and collaboration of Senator Murray and her focus on alleviating the challenges of working parents. We are committed to expanding access, so all children who need care can thrive in a safe, nurturing environment.”

2024 MLK Day of Service

Everett, WA. January 16, 2024 — On Monday, January 15, YMCAs throughout Snohomish County hosted “Make It A Day ON, Not A Day OFF” community service projects honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s servant leadership spirit. Despite the cold temperatures, the Y mobilized hundreds of volunteers who gave back to their local community through various service projects.

“Serving the community is at the core of everything we do at the Y,” said Peyton Tune, President and CEO, YMCA of Snohomish County. “It was incredible to see so many people come together and offer a helping hand. I love the collective ownership and community pride projects like this create.”

Four YMCA branch locations sponsored projects. From food bank projects to spreading bark at a local park, assembling care packages for seniors to trash pick-up, volunteers gave back to their communities in a variety of ways.

Marysville Family YMCA: Volunteers assembled gift packages to brighten the spirits of seniors and elders in the community. Over half of the packages were delivered to Grandview Village where residents were excited to receive a gift and also enjoyed the opportunity to fellowship with YMCA volunteers. The remainder of the gift packages were delivered to the Tulalip Tribes Senior/Elder Center.

Mill Creek Family YMCA: At the Mill Creek Community Food Bank, volunteers sorted and organized hundreds of pounds of produce, restocked and organized non-perishable food, organized storage containers, prepared food deliveries for households who can’t physically get to the food bank, and much more.

Monroe/Sky Valley Family YMCA: After coffee and doughnuts at the Y and a brief program commemorating the day, volunteers headed out to spread 40 cubic yards of playground chips at Rainier View Park. Upon completion of the projects, volunteers returned to the Y for lunch.

Stanwood-Camano YMCA: The Y’s Teen Leaders Club headed up the project at the Stanwood-Camano Y. Volunteers worked at the food bank taking inventory, rearranging the local thrift store, and assisting with the food bank’s backpack program that provides bags of food for teens in need. The volunteer team also conducted a trash pick-up in the community and neighborhoods surrounding the Y.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at the Y, please visit

The Y Launches the Green Whistle Initiative for Referees Under Age 18

Everett, WA. January 8, 2024 — YMCA of Snohomish County is proud to implement the Green Whistle Initiative, inspired by a successful program from Basketball Victoria. This program uses a green whistle as a simple identifier for referees under age 18, reminding everyone involved in our sports community to prioritize respect and appreciation for sports officials, regardless of their age.

The Y has over 1,100 youth basketball games scheduled during the next two months and referees play a vital role in making the season possible. Referees ensure fair play and foster a positive environment for players, coaches and fans.

“Unfortunately, instances of disrespect and even verbal abuse towards referees are becoming increasingly common, especially for young officials,” said Chris Bellecourt, Association Director of Youth Sports, YMCA of Snohomish County. “Over 80 percent of our referees are under age 18 and for many, it’s their first job. We want to support them as they are learning the ropes by providing a safe and encouraging environment.”

The program is designed to help young referees develop leadership and professional skills, so they are equipped with essential skills when they do face pressure during game situations or interactions with fans, coaches and players. The hope is that when someone sees a green whistle, they will pause and reflect on their own role in creating a positive game experience, instead of fixating on calls or criticizing officials.

“We rely heavily on young officials at the community level and it’s our responsibility to provide the best experience possible,” said Bellecourt. “When refs encounter disrespectful behavior, they may feel discouraged and leave their job, jeopardizing the future of officiating in youth recreational sports.”

Implementation of the Green Whistle Initiative draws attention to other ways everyone involved in sports can contribute to positive change in youth sports and teaches young athletes good sportsmanship, teamwork, and fair play.

“We are hopeful that through this program, we can create a supportive environment where young referees feel valued and encouraged,” said Bellecourt. “When we treat others with respect and kindess, everyone benefits, creating a better sporting experience for all.”

For more information about jobs at the Y or youth sports, please visit

The Y Hosts Its 3rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspirational Weekend

Everett, WA. December 11, 2023 — YMCA of Snohomish County will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by hosting its 3rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspirational Weekend on January 12-15, 2024.

The weekend kicks off with an inspirational breakfast on January 12 from 7 – 9 am at the Angel of the Winds Arena (1028 13th St., Everett, WA 98201) and culminates with a Day of Service on Monday, January 15 from 9 am – 1 pm.

“The Y is compelled to honor Dr. King’s legacy because his teachings inspire our commitment to foster equality and provide opportunities for all in our community,” said Peyton Tune, President and CEO, YMCA of Snohomish County. “Our mission and work are made better every time we reflect on the enduring impact of King’s teachings and legacy.”

The Y has a meaningful connection to Dr. King. Before he was a civil rights champion and humanitarian, before he delivered his universally-acclaimed “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington, and before he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, King was a young child who found a second home at the Y. As a boy, he learned to swim at the historic Butler Street YMCA in his hometown of Atlanta, GA.

“This unique connection to Dr. King inspires us to live out his values in our daily work,” said Tune. “We look forward to honoring his legacy and then getting out in the community to serve our neighbors.”

Community members are invited to attend the Inspirational Breakfast on Friday morning. Bestselling author and communication expert, Eric M. Bailey, will give a keynote address about how to combat the divisiveness in our society by welcoming all into a conversation, followed by a dialogue about how to move forward and positively impact our local community.

On Monday, January 15, YMCAs throughout Snohomish County will host “Make It A Day ON, Not A Day OFF” community service projects honoring Dr. King’s servant leadership spirit. The Y will mobilize hundreds of volunteers who will give back to their local community through various service projects, including tree planting in Monroe, food bank support in Mill Creek and Mukilteo, and assembling care packages for seniors in Marysville.

“The highlight of the weekend is our Day of Service when we get the opportunity to live out Dr. King’s legacy,” said Tune. “By gathering together to serve, we are truly answering his question, ‘what are you doing for others?’ in a real, tangible way. This is about serving our neighbors.”

For more information about breakfast registration or Day of Service volunteering, please visit

Washington State Grant Funds

The Y Receives Over $170,000 in State-Funded Grants to Support Inclusivity

Stingrays Adaptive Swim Team and Y School-Age Care to Benefit

EVERETT, WA. December 6, 2023 – The YMCA of Snohomish is the proud recipient of two substantial grants from the State of Washington, a testament to the Y’s commitment to fostering community growth and enhancing the lives of its diverse members.

Empowering Athletes with Diverse Abilities: Stingrays Swim Team Grant

Due to their dedication to uplifting and helping others, the Mukilteo Family YMCA was honored with a $79,111 grant from Washington’s Department of Social & Human Services. This grant is directed towards supporting the Stingrays Adaptive Swim Team, a program that provides athletes with diverse abilities the opportunity to engage in swimming as a sport. Through practices and competitions with Special Olympics Washington, the Stingrays staff and volunteers teach athletes physical training and stroke technique, as well as promote Y core values. Funds will be used to cover equipment costs, meet support, and participant entry fees.

“This funding is a gamechanger for the Stingrays Swim Team,” said Cynthia Kelly, Executive Director at the Mukilteo Family YMCA. “It enables us to continue fostering inclusivity, promoting physical wellbeing, and instilling values that extend far beyond the pool.”

Nurturing Inclusive Learning Environments: Child Care Equity Grant

The Y secured a $94,450 grant from Washington’s Department of Children, Youth & Families that will help ensure culturally-responsive programming through training and a new position that will support YMCA of Snohomish County’s Heatherwood Early Childhood Education Center. This grant is dedicated to the hiring of a Family Support Specialist who will play a pivotal role in creating an environment within child care programs free of bias, where children can learn to appreciate and respect uniqueness and differences.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to enhance our child care programs and promote an environment where every child in our care feels valued and respected,” said Megan Proost, Director of Child Care Advancement at the YMCA of Snohomish County. “This funding will help us lay the foundation for a future generation that embraces diversity and leads with empathy.”

These grants will allow the Y to further develop instrumental programs that reflect the organization’s ongoing commitment to building a stronger, more inclusive community. To learn more about the Stingrays Adaptive Swim Team or YMCA Child Care, please visit

YMCA fitness instructor challenges, empowers Everett residents #GaelForce

What a privilege it is to have Gael Gebow, Association Director of Healthy Living & Membership Advancement, at the helm of our association-wide Health and Wellness team! Gael leads, inspires, and challenges our staff and members to be their very best selves and has an incredible heart for serving the community. Check out this incredible profile of our invaluable Gael Force!

YMCA fitness instructor challenges, empowers Everett residents |