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Marysville YMCA opens Youth Development Center

MARYSVILLE — Minutes after its official ribbon-cutting ceremony, area youths were already making themselves at home in the Marysville YMCA’s new Youth Development Center.

The 3,400-square-foot building that once served as the home for the Marysville Community Food Bank now houses program space for the “ACT!” — “Actively Changing Together” — youth obesity program and the “Exercise and Thrive” cancer survivorship program, but on Aug. 31, it was the Youth Development Center’s computer lab and teen recreation features that attracted the most attention from its young patrons.

While 12-year-old middle school students Lauren Edgar and Lily Fleshman played foosball hockey and table tennis in turns, 16-year-old Marysville Getchell High School students Mark Guba and Stan Kolomeyetz faced off across the pool table. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Navdeep Manhas and 13-year-old Kona Blanchard were among the first to take advantage of the Internet-ready computers.

“I’ve been coming to the Marysville Y for the past 10 years,” Manhas said. “I like hanging out with my friends here. The new computers and ping-pong table seem pretty nice.”

Blanchard, who was invited to speak to the crowd that had assembled for the ribbon-cutting, recalled how his own family first started using the Marysville Y more than six years ago.

“All those classes have been fun,” Blanchard said. “I’ve enjoyed the summer camp and after-school care every year. This new teen center will give me even more opportunities to meet new people. The Y is even more awesome than before.”

The adults who showed up to speak that day seemed equally impressed by the facility. Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring noted the number of young people in attendance, in addition to the adults, and touted their presence as a positive sign for the mission of the Youth Development Center.

“I go to a lot of ribbon-cuttings where I see mostly adults, and that’s okay, but this is about the kids,” Nehring said. “It’s good to see so many of you here.”

Nehring expressed the hope that the Youth Development Center’s computer lab would help unlock area youths’ achievements as adults, with its project-based learning programs to increase computer literacy and soft job skills in areas ranging from publishing Web pages to recording and producing music and videos.

“When we stand united to invest in our youth, we create a well-trained work force for local jobs,” Nehring said. “We’re empowering these young people to become the community leaders of the next generation.”

Scott Washburn, president and CEO of the YMCA of Snohomish County, pointed out that the Y is “more than just swims and gyms,” and held up the Marysville Y in particular as an example of the diverse services and activities that the YMCA can provide its young patrons.

“This YMCA has the largest Minority Achievers Program in the state, and hosts one of the largest youth breakdancing contests on the West Coast,” Washburn said. “It’s a resource for our youth that nurtures their potential and allows them to pursue their passions.”

Marysville YMCA Board member Steve Muller later echoed Washburn’s praise for the Tulalip Tribes’ contributions, while Marysville YMCA Board Chair Tony Roon likewise seconded Washburn’s commendations of Harv and Larry Jubie, who received plaques in recognition of their longstanding support of the Marysville Y.

“Everywhere I go, I always run into the same people,” Roon laughed. “I can’t escape the Jubies.” Turning serious, Roon asked the Jubie brothers to stand so that the young people in attendance could see them. “When you grow up, I hope you can follow their example and be as generous with your time and treasures as they’ve been with theirs.”

“I remember sitting around a ping-pong table in 1991 with a vision of building a YMCA facility,” Muller said. “We were told we’d have to raise a million bucks to do it, which was even more money back then. They said Marysville couldn’t do that. I’m really proud of the community that I live in and the way that it’s stepped up.”

 

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