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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

Everettt, 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 |

Monroe YMCA Executive Director

MONROE, WA. December 5, 2023 – The Monroe/Sky Valley Family YMCA is excited to announce its new Executive Director, Anthony Schmidt. Schmidt brings nearly 15 years of YMCA experience to Monroe, with extensive work in membership and programs. He has spent all of his Y career at the Marysville Family YMCA, with a brief stint as interim executive director in Monroe in 2021, most recently serving as Senior Program Director.

“I grew up in Maltby and I’m a product of the Monroe School District, so I’m thrilled to work at a YMCA in the community where I was born and raised, said Schmidt. “I am ready for the next stage in my career and it’s really something special to be able to come back to a place I grew up.”

Schmidt plans to continue building on the post-pandemic growth and success of the Monroe Y. One of his goals is to use his program expertise to expand youth programming, specifically teen programs and youth sports.

“Monroe has a very solid staff team and I’m looking forward to collaborating with them to take our branch to the next level,” said Schmidt. “Any place of business is only as good as its staff and we have a top-notch staff in all areas, from child care to aquatics, membership to youth sports and everything in between. We can’t do the work without them.”

Schmidt’s first Y experience was as a middle school student at the Northshore YMCA in Bothell, WA. His dad came home with a membership and he didn’t think it would be a good fit, but he found himself spending most weekends there playing basketball and participating in teen activities.

“The Y was a cool place to hang out and I experienced a lot of positive growth there as a teenager,” said Schmidt. “It’s that first experience at the Y that drives my passion for developing strong, impactful youth programs.”

As a young adult, he continued his Y journey at the Marysville YMCA. After getting married and moving to the area, he started as a member, but it wasn’t long after before he joined the staff. He was working in a retail managerial role and rarely got to see his wife and young children because of his schedule.

“I reached a point in my retail career when I knew I needed better work-life balance,” said Schmidt. “The Y was a perfect fit because it allowed me to be active in my kids’ lives, as well as within my community.”

Schmidt’s children are now 21 and 18. His daughter graduates from college in a few weeks and his son is in the fire academy. He may not be actively coaching their teams, but he brings the same energy and commitment to his new role and looks forward to sharing the Y with the Monroe community.

“The Y has something for everyone – from newborns to seniors, he said. “Come on in and check it out. As a teen, I thought it wasn’t a place for me, but I was wrong. I bet I can convince you that it’s an amazing place for you too!”

Lake Stevens Partners with YMCA to Build New Community Recreation Center

We are happy to announce a new partnership between the YMCA of Snohomish County and the City of Lake Stevens. Over the next few years, we will be working with the City to transform the existing Cedarwood Clubhouse property into the Lake Stevens YMCA, providing programs and services for youth, adults and seniors.  

This estimated $4.2 million, multi-year project will result in a brand-new community center serving the Lake Stevens community. Approximately half of the project is already funded through city-secured government grants and allocated city funds. Next steps are establishing a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the agreement with the City, securing more funding, and completing the design and engineering process. If all goes as planned, we anticipate breaking ground on the Lake Stevens YMCA in 2025.  

I’m excited to extend our reach and impact to another vibrant community in Snohomish County, bringing friendship, achievement and belonging to more of our neighbors. It’s because of your commitment, dedication, and passion for our mission that we can grow and share the Y with a new community.  

For more detailed information on the history of the Cedarwood Clubhouse and specifics about the project, please read this press release from the City of Lake Stevens.

YMCA of Snohomish County Combats Social Isolation Epidemic

The United States is facing a social isolation epidemic. At a national YMCA leadership conference in July 2023, U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy, MD, shared how detrimental loneliness and isolation can be and how organizations like the YMCA can provide a sense of belonging and opportunities for social interaction.

“The mortality impact of social disconnection is on par with smoking daily and an even greater mortality risk than obesity.” said Murthy. “As the steward of an office that has spent decades addressing smoking and obesity, we must acknowledge that loneliness is just as important of a public health threat and one that we have to treat with the same urgency.”

The consequences of loneliness are profound. People experiencing loneliness or isolation have an increased risk for depression, anxiety and suicide. It also increases the risk of physical illness including cardiovascular disease, dementia and premature death.

How do we combat the problem? Develop and invest in programs, policies and structures like the YMCA that bring people together to build healthy relationships.

“The Y has always been an extraordinary source of value to communities for years and years,” said Murthy. “This is a moment in time when we need Ys more than ever to build those connections between people.”

At the Y, connections and friendships are built every day. It’s at the heart of everything the Y does in the community. Stanwood-Camano YMCA member, Nancy Lewis, shares how the friends she made in her water fitness class have expanded her social circle and given her a new sense of purpose.

“My friend and I would go to the Y together and attend water fitness classes and we always noticed a group in the center who was laughing and having a great time. I told my friend that they looked like fun people that we should get to know,” said Lewis. “One day, I overheard them talk about the dice game, BUNCO, and I let them know I play. They were totally welcoming and asked me and my friend to join their group and from that day on we’ve been friends.”

Nancy’s friend group, the self-proclaimed Mermaids and Mermen, has stretched beyond the walls of the Y. They have gone whale watching, participated in Y community activities, played games, and go to lunch every Friday after their water fitness class. They also serve as a support system for one another.

“Because all of us are a bit older, when someone isn’t feeling well we check in to see if they need groceries or medicine or a ride to the doctor,” said Lewis. “If someone is missing, we check in to see if they are okay. We’re just a group of really close friends that watch out for one another.”

Lewis encourages anyone who needs a friend to visit the Y because you’ll never know what might happen if you reach out and are open to meeting people.

“There are so many classes and activities to come to,” said Lewis. “If you just take that first step and are open to people, you’ll find your group. I accidentally overheard a conversation and because of that found a whole new group of people that have become lifelong friends.”

Boeing Gifts $50,000 to YMCA of Snohomish County to Expand STEM Programs

EVERETT, WA. September 26, 2023 – The Boeing Company, a leading global aerospace company, awarded the YMCA of Snohomish County a $50,000 grant aimed at expanding its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Discovery Program. Grant funds will enable the program to reach new heights, benefiting over 1,100 children at all YMCA School-Age Care (SAC) sites for the 2023-24 school year.

The STEM Discovery Program will now have the resources to expand its reach, inspiring a larger number of children to explore the fascinating world of STEM. The program’s mission is to make STEM subjects accessible to all youth, regardless of background, and to ignite their passion for learning.

“We are honored and thrilled to collaborate with Boeing,” said Peyton Tune, President and CEO, YMCA of Snohomish County. “This grant will have a profound impact on our community by providing young minds with the tools and knowledge to succeed in an ever-evolving world. Together with Boeing, we aim to ensure that every child has the opportunity to discover their potential and pursue a future in STEM.”

This generous grant highlights Boeing’s steadfast commitment to fostering innovation, education, and equitable opportunities for local youth. By investing in the Y’s STEM Discovery Program, Boeing reaffirms its dedication to empowering the youth of Snohomish County and advancing STEM education, building a brighter future for all.

“We support the YMCA of Snohomish County in their efforts to provide more opportunities for local youth to explore the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Gina Breukelman with Boeing Global Engagement. “At Boeing, we believe in investing in the future of our communities, and this grant is a testament to our commitment to fostering innovation, education, and equitable opportunities for all.”

The Y is honored to partner with Boeing to inspire and educate the next generation of leaders in the region, delivering fun, equitable learning opportunities for all youth.

To learn more about the YMCA of Snohomish County and the STEM Discovery Program, please visit