Ask members what they like about the new YMCA in Centreville and the one thing you’re certain to hear is their enthusiasm.
From the modern amenities to the engaging staff and instructors to the Stay and Play space for children and Active Aging Center for seniors, people have their favorite aspects, but overall, almost everybody seems to love almost everything about the Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA.
Among the reasons parents are happy about the opening of the local YMCA is its proximity to schools. Located at 210 Vincit Street, just across Railroad Avenue/Ruthsburg Road from Queen Anne’s County High School and not far from Centreville Elementary, the YMCA offers a secure, kid-friendly place for students to go during the hours they’re not in school.
A father of three, member Bradley Michael, says the location is “perfect. There’s always a need for a positive destination for young people to go, to hang out with friends, to stay active. This YMCA provides that. It’s safe and friendly and is within walking distance from school. Our two oldest kids love basketball and the little guy loves the pool. It’s comforting to have everybody in the same place. I’ve been a member of other gyms that are far less welcoming and that can be intimidating for families, or people who are new, or haven’t been in a long time. They did a great job building this facility and the staff is amazing. What an opportunity this place is for everyone to get and stay fit. We love it.”
After more than a decade of planning, fundraising, and construction, the community celebrated the grand opening of Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA and Active Aging Center with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on October 18, 2023. A collaborative effort between the YMCA of the Chesapeake and local government among other entities, from the beginning the project’s mandate has been to embrace a multi-generational approach to improving the public’s well-being and health.
Intended to be “the front porch of our community,” at 70,000 square feet in size, the Queen Anne’s Y offers an array of activities for every interest. There’s the pool, a huge, fully equipped gym, a cycling studio, indoor sports courts, as well as multi-purpose spaces for programs and group-exercise classes. Classes include a variety of options from boxing to yoga and line dancing to homeschool physical education sessions. The courts provide opportunities for both open and tournament play.
Pickleball, the competitive exercise that has become so popular, is a big part of the Family Y social scene. There’s casual play available for beginners and tournaments for the more experienced participants. Brandon Davis started playing pickleball here and says he thinks the games popularity is due to it’s inexpensive, fast-paced fun that can be more competitive if the player is so inclined. He says they’ll “kick your butt” if you come up against the wrong team but they’ll also help your game improve. He also says “The Y is a good place to start because of the different levels of play. There are also instructors and coaches here who will help get you better.”
The raised indoor walking track around the court perimeter is another element that gets high marks from members.
In the six lane Olympic sized indoor pool, there’s space for lap swimming, swim classes for kids, high school swim team practice, and exercise groups for adults. Adjacent to the pool there’s a sauna that is also very popular.
Another asset for families is the Stay and Play center where trained, attentive staff care for children while their moms and dads get in a workout. Open mornings and afternoons most days of the week, the Stay and Play gets thumbs up reviews from those who have the most say in this particular matter. A Facebook poster wrote that her daughter visits the kid’s area while her dad hits the gym and she “raves about it! She loves the staff, they’re very hands on and play with the kids, and she says there’s plenty to do. Dad specifically likes the security of the check in and out process.”
The Active Aging Center serves county residents 55+ and no YMCA membership is required. Designed to complement the existing Senior Centers across Queen Anne’s, participants enjoy access to programming and classes with transportation available through County Ride services. At the grand opening, the Director of Community Services Cathy Willis said that partnering with the YMCA “to create this blended community space has been amazing. Being able to offer programs and activities that support aging citizens in an effort to remain healthy, active, independent, and to age in place alongside children, families, and students is a dream come true.”
Member Kathleen Rambo says that the welcoming and friendly faces she sees at the Y are a public treasure and that the Active Aging Center is “such a wonderful addition! The Aqua Zumba class and the Soul Line Dancing are the best!” she exclaims. “The fact that so much is available to the senior population at no charge is mind boggling! Kudos to Queen Anne’s County for their focus on this age group.”
The YMCA of the Chesapeake network of which the Centreville location belongs, is part of a worldwide non-profit, Christian based organization “committed to helping people reach their full potential in spirit, mind and body.” Focusing on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, their stated mission is to “serve people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and incomes” and to make services available to everyone. Their Open Doors Program provides a sliding fee scale designed to fit each individual’s financial situation. The organization turns no one away due to the inability to pay and as a partner of the YMCA of the Chesapeake, Queen Anne’s members get access to all eleven Eastern Shore area branches, from Elkton to Chincoteague, as well as every location in Maryland and most affiliate branches nationwide.
Katie Metzger and her husband moved to Centreville in 2021, just down the street from the new Y. It was a factor in their decision making when considering the real estate market. She was pregnant when they bought their home, their son is now two, and over the past couple years they took “hundreds of walks,” to watch the building’s progress. Now that construction’s complete, she likes how the place is always busy but never crowded and how neighbors can easily get together for a friendly workout. She’s looking forward to watching our new YMCA continue to grow.
“Programming and classes are outstanding,” Metzger says. “The pool, the yoga, the Stay and Play. It’s all great!”
Then, speaking for many of us, she adds: “And I’m so thankful it’s here!”
To contact the Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA, call 443-262-9994, visit https://ymcachesapeake.org/locations/queen-annes-county-family-ymca or follow on social media. Through youth programs, coaching, and operational positions, volunteer opportunities exist for every member of the family. To expand programs available for the senior community, the Active Aging Center is seeking volunteers willing to lead new classes, activities, and social groups or to assist with programs already scheduled.
Brent Lewis is a native Chesapeake Bay Eastern Shoreman. He has published two nonfiction books about the region, “Remembering Kent Island: Stories from the Chesapeake” and a “History of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department.” His most recent book, “Stardust By The Bushel: Hollywood On The Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore”won a 2023 Independent Publishers award. His first novel, Bloody Point 1976, won an Honorable Mention Award at the 2015 Hollywood Book Festival. He and his wife Peggy live in Centreville, Maryland.