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News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, December 20, 2012
Blue Hill YMCA expands to offer more fitness and childcare opportunities

YMCA fitness center

The newly renovated 1,760 foot fitness center.

Photo courtesy of Blue Hill YMCA

by Faith DeAmbrose

With almost a year under its belt the Blue Hill branch of the Down East Family YMCA is expanding to not only offer more fitness options, but will now include a fully licensed early learning center.

Led by director Crystal Follette, program coordinator Brittany Hale and teacher Destiny Cromneese, the early learning center will provide care for children ages 2 and a half through kindergarten. According to a press release, the center will offer a “secure and stimulating environment that allows children to develop imagination and share positive experiences with peers and adults.” The program will also integrate physical activity into its curriculum.

With a series of open house events held this past week, YMCA program directors Joy Bragdon and Annie Grindal welcomed members of the community to tour the newly enhanced fitness center. During the first half of December, the 1,760-square-foot fitness center got a facelift, as walls were knocked out, an air conditioning unit installed and a new 600-square-foot studio was added to house ZUMBA and other fitness classes.

Down East Family YMCA CEO Peter Farragher explained in a recent phone interview that both the fitness center and childhood center fit the mission of the organization and that it is “committed to helping the community with issues and needs.”

“The fitness center is holding its own,” said Farragher of the organization’s decision to expand the facility. “The board [of directors] is very excited to see the impact it has had on the community,” he said, adding that none of it could have been possible without the support of TradeWinds Market Place owners Chuck and Belinda Lawrence who have donated the space for both the fitness and childcare centers and have helped with renovations.

Also new to the facility, explained Grindal, is a “Child Watch” program that allows parents to drop off their children at the early learning center for half hour or hour increments while they work out at the fitness facility. Fees apply.

Beginning January 2, the fitness center will be open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. The program schedule for January can be seen under the “Blue Hill” section at or on Facebook under The Blue Hill YMCA, A Branch of the Down East Family YMCA.

For more information or to schedule a tour of either the fitness or childcare facility, call 374-2248.

Early childhood education center

A view inside the early childhood education center.

Photo courtesy of the Blue Hill YMCA
The staff of the YMCA

The staff of the YMCA and early childcare center: From left, Brittany Hale, Crystal Follette, Joy Bragdon, Jules Tufts, Debbie Carter, Annie Grindal. Not pictured Destiny Cromneese, Anneliese Riggall and Laura Clapp.

Photo courtesy of the Blue Hill YMCA
YMCA fitness center

The newly renovated 1,760 foot fitness center.

Photo courtesy of Blue Hill YMCA