Building a healthy spirit, mind and body for all By Jillian Chandler
Photo by Kiersten Patterson Photography
“At the Y, we give everyone a safe place to learn, grow and thrive.” - Mary Berry
Serving the Inland Northwest and North Idaho since 1884, the YMCA’s Coeur d’Alene branch closed many years ago, but the Y, as it is referred to by many, returned to North Idaho in December of 2018 with the opening of the Litehouse YMCA right here in Sandpoint!
Going back almost a decade, Y staff and Sandpoint community volunteers talked about and planned for a YMCA in the community, according to Mary, who is the director of communications and marketing for YMCA of the Inland Northwest. One of the realities facing the group was the possibility of an enormous capital campaign to build a Y from scratch. So when the Y had the opportunity to purchase the former SWAC from the Helanders, it offered a less expensive option while still being able to offer facilities and programs to the community.
“It was the perfect culmination of years of discussion about bringing a Y to the Sandpoint community when the Helanders were ready to transition into new endeavors,” says Mary. “This opportunity reflected the amazing work of the community volunteers who were able to bring their dreams to fruition and brought out generous donors such as Litehouse Inc., who provided a significant gift to the ongoing capital campaign. While there are still capital dollars to raise for the Y in Sandpoint, it is an example of committed community volunteers and generosity.”
A charitable, community-based not-for-profit organization, the YMCA and its staff are committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
Tammy Campbell is the executive director for the Litehouse YMCA. “I love how everyone in our community works together to create the best for everyone who lives here,” she says. “Being able to collaborate with local businesses and agencies to provide outstanding events, activities and healthy activities is part of what makes this community wonderful.”
The Litehouse YMCA offers a variety of programs for all ages—from infancy to senior adult, and every age in between. With a focus on youth development, they offer Summer Day Camp, Crazy 8s (math camp), youth fitness training, karate, dance, football, and swim instruction. The Healthy Living programs include group exercise classes (studio and water), dance, personal fitness training and nutrition coaching. Family swim times are offered throughout the day along with whirlpool and saunas, and all third-grade students in Sandpoint attend free Safety Around Water lessons.
“Social responsibility extends beyond exercise and fitness classes—both in and out of the water. It provides opportunities for active older adults, social connections and friendship,” shares Mary. “The Litehouse Y loves being able to partner with local organizations to bring the spirit of the community alive, whether through collecting laptops for kids who are doing remote learning this year, helping out with fun runs and so much more.”
No one is turned away for an inability to pay. The Membership For All program designates monthly membership rates based on household income, and through community support, they can provide individuals and families with financial assistance that ensures everyone in the community can enjoy the Y’s facilities, programs and services.
“One hundred and thirty-six years later, the YMCA of the Inland Northwest is both proud of, and committed to, our lasting legacy,” shares Mary. “It is this legacy that drives both our leadership and staff teams to be a cause-driven organization—and which led to the amazing story of the Litehouse Y in Sandpoint.”
Litehouse YMCA 1905 Pine Street Sandpoint, Idaho 83864 208.263.6633 YMCA@ymcainw.org
YMCA of the Inland Northwest 1126 North Monroe Street Spokane, Washington 99201 509.777.YMCA (9622) YMCAINW.org